The Art of Vaulting

The Art of Vaulting : Design and Construction of Large Vaults in the Mediterranean Gothic


Cottbus, November 30 – December 1, 2017
Registration deadline: Nov 25, 2017

International Symposium, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, DFG Research Training Group 1913 « Cultural and Technological Significance of Historic Buildings » Organized by Anke Wunderwald and Paula Fuentes

Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für moderne Kunst, 30 Nov 17 Besucherzentrum auf dem Gutshof Branitz, 1 Dec 17

Some of the most impressive achievements in Gothic construction were erected in the Mediterranean area. Partially influenced by Roman architecture and mixed with the new concepts of the French Gothic style, they appeared as the result of several centuries of technical progress, representing an important example of technology transfer in combination with contemporaneous transformations.

This is the context, against which outstanding buildings were built, featuring some of the highest and widest vaults raised in the Middle Ages.

Despite analysing these buildings from a stylistic point of view, we still know little about historical sources, structural behaviour and building techniques.

This Symposium will bring together international experts on this topic. Their varied backgrounds will provide different approaches to finding and answering unexplored questions. Presenting some examples, such as the cathedral of Mallorca, the complex processes of medieval construction and the transfer of technology will be discussed, broadening our knowledge of how these impressive monuments were built as well as the construction techniques that were employed.


Thursday 30th November 2017
Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für moderne Kunst, »dkw«, Großer Veranstaltungsraum, Uferstraße / Am Amtsteich 15, 03046 Cottbus
Wider, Lighter, Faster. Building Vaults in the Medieval Mediterranean Countries Arturo Zaragozá  Catalán (Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos de Valencia) & Fernando Vegas López-Manzanares (Universitat Politècnica de València)

The lecture will be followed by an informal reception

Friday 1st December 2017
Besucherzentrum auf dem Gutshof Branitz, Kleiner Veranstaltungssaal, Robinienweg 5, 03042 Cottbus

Welcome address
Klaus Rheidt (BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg)

How to Design and Build Complex Rib Vaults from A to Z: Principles, Practices, and the Geometric Processors Used in the International Late Gothic David Wendland (TU Dresden)
Vaulting with Clay Jars (10th-15th c.): Antique Traditions and Further Uses Jean Michel Poisson (Université Lyon)
11:15 Coffee break
Reflection on Design Details of Gothic Vaults in Joseph Gelabert’s Manuscript Enrique Rabasa Díaz (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)
Mediterranean Paths: The Construction of Vaults in Southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia (15th-16th c.) Marco Rosario Nobile & Emanuela Garofalo (Università degli Studi di Palermo)
13:00 Lunch in the Cavalierhaus
The Vaults of Mallorca Cathedral: Rising to a Technical Challenge Paula Fuentes & Anke Wunderwald (BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg)
Construction Analysis of Particular Gothic Vaults in the Cathedral of Mallorca Guillermo Reynés (Catedral de Mallorca)
16:00 Coffee break
Mechanics and Equilibrium of the Cathedral of Mallorca Santiago Huerta  Fernández  (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)
Closing discussion
Presentations will be in English. Attendance is free of charge.

Pre-registration is required until 25th November 2017 at:

Albrecht Wiesener
BTU Cottbus–Senftenberg
DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1913
Lehrgebäude 2B, Raum B0.08
Tel. +49 (0)355 69 4915
Reference / Quellennachweis:
CONF: The Art of Vaulting (Cottbus, 30 Nov-1 Dec 17). In:, Nov 6, 2017. <>.