Brunelleschi Dome Case Study

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Brunelleschi’s Dome Once upon a time in the year 1294, the city of Florence, Italy decided to build a new church. A design was created and an artist’s rendering was made of what they envisioned their glorious new cathedral to be. They were an ambitious, competitive lot and wanted the world to notice them. They decided that their cathedral would have a dome like the great Pantheon in Rome. But their dome would not be any old dome. It would have 8 sides and it absolutely would not have any flying buttresses (popular in Gothic architecture) like their archenemies’ to the north. However, no one knew how to make a dome like that. It did not matter it seems. They started anyway and decided to figure it out later. Over the course of more than …show more content…
Many people entered and the competition was stiff, especially between two goldsmiths named Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi, bitter rivals. None of the designs resolved all the issues except for one, Brunelleschi’s. However, Brunelleschi shrouded his design in secrecy. Even today we do not know all the details. He left nothing behind. All he gave them was a half- finished model and the basic concept of how he would build it, and then reassured them he would require no scaffolding. This clinched the deal. They would not have to spend tons of money finding lumber. They made him the supervisor, but they made his rival, Ghiberti, the co-supervisor. You can only imagine the friction between them. In the end, Brunelleschi proved himself …show more content…
Goldsmiths worked with many mediums like rock, metal, and wood to make their designs. They also had to think outside the box to make the creations people wanted. He also went to Rome and studied the architecture there, and he was a brilliant tinker and inventor. One of his specialties was clock making. This one skill helped him invent machinery he needed to hoist heavy tons of brick to the immense heights above. He even made it so the loads could descend and move laterally without having to change the direction of the oxen, saving time and money. He made a herringbone pattern with the bricks so they would not fall off while the mortar was drying. He made two domes, leaving it hollow between them to reduce the weight. He placed ribs on the outside and inside domes, and then used hoops of wood and metal and chain on the inside dome like a barrel to keep it from popping outward. It was brilliant! It is still the largest masonry dome in the world. It took 16 years and Brunelleschi lived to see it completed in 1436. He designed the lantern house for the top of the dome, but he did not live to see it completed. His friend Michelozzo finished it for him in 1461. Brunelleschi was years ahead of his time. It is said his dome started the Renaissance. His machines he invented for the project were so impressive that Leonardo da Vinci sketched them and that is why we know anything about them. Thank you

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