Monday, March 18, 2013

Brunelleschi's Dome

I recently read Ross King's book "Brunelleschi's Dome", it gave me an insight into the dome, its construction and the man behind the largest masonry dome in the world. Since learning about it in Nick Beattie's Art and Architecture classes in second year, I have been fascinated by the Duomo; its distinct form dominating Florence's (or Firenze as those of us who have been like to be pretentious and call her by her maiden name) skyline.

It was built between 1446-1461, centuries after the main Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore was completed - Brunelleschi won the competition to build Neri's design largely due to his ability to build without the use of centering; the timber platforms and scaffolding built under the dome during its construction. Also key to his success is the absence of flying buttress in his scheme, Filippo constructed a double dome instead - the internal heavier dome supporting the lighter brick-clad exterior shell. The internal dome has a series of rings built into it to prevent outward thrust or "hoop stress".