Construction 44: Stone walls (part 1)

12/02/14 | ۩ |

A new stage is starting. The basement closed, now it's time to make the Domus grow on to reach the ground-line.
As I told, from now on I'll give up the concrete structures to proceed the construction in a more appropriate way for a medieval house, although I'll keep reinforcing the walls with wire.

Not long ago, while I was still working on the cellar vaults, I started placing some blocks to build the stone walls. It was just a test, because I didn't decide how I'd go on. It was at the base of the tower, where on the ground floor will be placed the door that gives access to the staircase and the basement.
The tower will be different from the rest of the building, even for the material used.
As I still was uncertain about what kind of stone I'd employ for its construction, I took into account the using of concrete bricks like those visible in the guardhouse, which apparently belong to the same structure.
Unfortunately the bricks prove to be too friable, and their look is quite far from the real stones used to build genoese medieval towers.

But this test was not valid due to another reason: the position of the blocks was incorrect because it coincided with the concrete structure but not with the inner perimeter.
I'll try to be clearer: To make the walls grow on in all their thickness, stones had to be aligned with the underlying walls, partially overlapping the vaults (as you can see in the right picture, taken from a Viollet-le-Duc book). That was impossible while I was still working on the cellar, so I postponed the operation to when the vaults were permanently fixed.
That is now.

In the meantime I finally found the material to build my tower (see here), so nothing can prevent me now from starting the construction.

The first stones to be placed are those at the base of the tower, flanked by the slate blocks which will form the rest of the walls (at least in the lower parts of the house).
The employment of such carefully squared blocks for an underground (and hidden) wall would be meaningless in a real building, also because of its costs. Probably it would be made using irregularily shaped ashlars with a lot of mortar.
I've got no lack of material or problems with costs, so I'll use those "noble" blocks for the whole structure.
Actually, I'm using slate as a substitute for the "promontorio" stone, a local kind of grey limestone used in genoese construction. It's harder to work than slate and it doesn't come in bars, so I opted for slate instead.

Simoultaneously to the walls, there are other tasks I have to deal with: The completion of the brick staircase (it finally reaches the ground floor with a last stone step), and the closing of the second part of the vaults (except for the one closer to the stairs, temporarily removed).

Next step will be the completion of the stone frame along the bearing walls. There will lay the pillars, columns and walls of the upper levels of the Domus.
But that is topic for future posts and we'll see it while the construction will slowly go on...


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