The eighteenth-century full-scale tracings in the church of Saint Clare in Santiago de Compostela: Execution drawings or design sketches?

Journal re
Construction History
  • Volumen: 31
  • Número: 2
  • Fecha: 01 enero 2016
  • Páginas: 81-106
  • ISSN: 02677768
  • Tipo de fuente: Revista
  • Tipo de documento: Crítica
  • Editorial: Chartered Institute of Building
In August 2014, a large set of full-scale architectural tracings was found in the floor of the convent church of Saint Clare in Santiago de Compostela, inscribed in a granite base, beneath a wooden floorboard that was being renovated at that time. The ensemble is larger than any other set of architectural full-scale tracings from the Early Modern period found up to this time, and is clearly connected with the entrance building of the convent, constructed in 1719-24, including drawings for the most important elements in the building. Both the tracings and the entrance façade have been surveyed using topographic and photogrammetric techniques, in order to compare them, and measure the degree of precision of the execution of the façade. This paper describes the tracings, analysing in detail the ones for the coronation, the pediment and the niche of Saint Clare in the entrance façade and the rere-arch in the vestibule of the convent. The existence of different tracings for some elements, ranging from crude drafts to precise drawings, challenges a widespread assumption: it seems that the function of these tracings was not limited to the execution phase, and in some cases they served as design sketches for the project. Finally, the authors make some remarks about the research opportunities and conservation challenges posed by these material sources of construction history.

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