[ENG] Construction 100: First string course

10/01/18 | ۩ |

It would be easy to succumb to the tentation of celebrating this hundredth post, but I'll do my best to resist. Anyway, the topic I'm going to talk about represents the reaching of an important goal in the making of my project.

With the growth of the walls inside the loggia and the completion of the pillars I layed the foundation for the first stone string course.
This frame that breaks the vertical continuity of the facade, also brings to an end (at least on this side of the building) the construction of the ground floor, reaching the level of the mezzanine. This is why in italian it is called cornice marcapiano (literally "floor-marking frame").

This string course will be composed of slim ashlars aligned horizontally and slightly protruding from the wall, being marked by a continuous and regular moulding.
It's very easy to find these string courses in Genoa all around the old town, although many of them have been chipped away at the same time as the old loggias were plugged.
Some of the models I followed are the medieval portici of Sottoripa (the picture to the left shows one of the restored pillars).

Let's go on with the work.
Every piece gets cut out and shaped on the vise, to be finished only when fixed to the walls (so the mouldings will match perfectly).
The "first version" presents an excessive protrusion that I'll reduce later working with files an the Dremel tool to aproximate it more to the real-size frame.

Simultaneously to the laying of the stones, I keep verifying the horizontal lines with a ruler and the bubble level. The frame is a critical element to convince the eye of the watcher that the whole structure follows perfectly right angles, even if here and there some details are not so perfect as I'd like.
Not to mention that the string course will work as a base for the arches, one of the great challenges that I will deal with. Starting their construction over a rough base would not be a good omen.

In a short time the frame is completed in all its lenght, going from the pillars to the base of the side arches and extending partially on the right side to reach the perimeter of the tower.
It breaks only inside the main loggia, leaving the side walls totally plain.

On the outer wall you can see two square holes. They mark the position of the scaffolding where it gets into the wall during the construction. But I'll develop this matter in a future post.
Now let's see the string course after the final "reduction" process:

The next string course will coincide with the structure of the first floor and the lombard band protruding on the main front. So there's much work to do before we can actually see it.

For the moment we can try to display what still separates us from that second frame, overlapping one more time the Domus to its project sheet. Here is a virtual shot of how the right side of the building should look like once reached the first floor...

(Actually I'm translating this post with a delay of years, so you can see it already done. Just look through some newer post and just compare!).

pincers, files, sandpaper, tweezers, Dremel tool with sandpaper rolls and cutting wheel
slate, vinyl glue
SIZES (in cm):
height of the frame: 0,5
protrusion: 0,3

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