Antonelli was able to explore issues of construction and style more deeply

Antonelli was able to explore issues of construction

This preview shows page 160 - 164 out of 280 pages.

minimal outlay of material. Antonelli was able to explore issues of construction and style more deeply while completing the Church of San Gaudenzio in Novara.The sixteenth-century structure had remained without its intended crossing dome until Antonelli was commissioned in 1840 to erect one.After a year of studying the pre-existing parts,Antonelli 160 the architecture of modern italy
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the challenge of tradition, 1750–1900 3.15 Alessandro Antonelli, Casa Ponzio Vaglia or “Casa delle colonne,”Turin, 1853 3.16 Alessandro Antonelli, San Gaudenzio, Novara, 1841–78
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presented a project for a tall structure formed of three nested domes, the inner coffered with a wide oculus giving up to a second inverted parabolic cone with its inner face frescoed.The third, classically styled outer drum and hemisphere rose to a height of 42 meters. Construction was begun in 1844, but like many of Antonelli’s public commissions, it was often set back by financial and bureaucratic problems. Antonelli’s stacked dome construction relied upon examples built by Wren in London and Soufflot in Paris, as well as research on ancient and Renaissance domes in recent technical literature, so he was confident after one of the construction hiatuses to propose, in 1860, adding a little more height to the construction.The new stacked double drum would reach a height of 80 meters. Doubts grew on the stability of such an attenuated structure, but the project had garnered so much popular support that the commissioners let themselves be convinced by Antonelli’s impassioned vision.After numerous successive elaborations and refinements, the structure’s lantern, finished in 1878, rose 125 meters above the pavement. One of Antonelli’s interim reports explained this “tubular” construction system with allusions to vegetal stems. Rigidity and lightness were guaranteed by the series of five perforated parabolic cones that stiffen the walls like the structure of a bamboo shoot.The structural walls could then be reduced to the thickness of a single brick.The towering composition whirls upward with an effect that feels decidedly Gothic. Soufflot was already famous for having fused classical formal repose and Gothic structural lightness in his Sainte Geneviève, known in Antonelli’s time as the Panthéon of Paris. According to his contemporaries,Antonelli achieved the same synthesis,“taking away from Classical architecture its usual gravity to give it the ease of that architecture commonly known as Gothic.” Far from an eclectic,Antonelli synthesized traditions that many take as irremediably dichotomous; his understanding of Gothic and classical was not a division of disparate styles but a continuity of related structural possibilities.Antonelli did not make explicit mathematical calculations. He worked in a fluid manner, keeping his projects in continual modification while he rethought the 162 the architecture of modern italy
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design possibilities. Each stage of construction was in complete equilibrium, and therefore could change direction with the architect’s intuition.At every successive phase Antonelli stretched
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  • Spring '17
  • Archt. De Veyra

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