Applied Geomatics

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 529–543 | Cite as

HR LOD based HBIM to detect influences on geometry and shape by stereotomic construction techniques of brick vaults

  • Raffaella BrumanaEmail author
  • Paola Condoleo
  • Alberto Grimoldi
  • Fabrizio Banfi
  • Angelo Giuseppe Landi
  • Mattia Previtali
Original Paper


The use of construction techniques in cloister vaults in noble buildings, as covering elements for square or rectangular rooms, is widespread across Europe. The geometric continuity at the intrados makes generally possible the execution all over the span of frescoes, stucco and decorations, with a great diffusion of a great variety of solutions. The construction of brick vaults, from the late Middle Age, was sped up by limiting the centring to the wooden planks arches that were instrumental in the profile determination. Starting from laser scanning, photogrammetric and thermographic techniques, the punctual reconstruction of the geometry and construction techniques allowed to recognise and understand the constructive richness, the multiplicity and unicity of each vaulted element, made of recurrent elements and specific features, thus sketching a mixed pattern of workers and highlighting the constructive knowledge of ‘stereotomy’ applied to the brick block vaults. Nowadays, the availability of several BIM-based modelling procedures and tools based on high detailed surveys allows to identify and reconstruct the shape, drawing reliable assumptions about the construction methods and the execution time. The research methodology here proposed intends to tackle an updatable geographic catalogue, able to transfer the construction richness, inheriting the historic lesson of French ‘repertoires’ to generate modern HBIM vault libraries (abaci). The paper focuses on a well-documented case, the Magio Grasselli palace in Cremona in which the cloister vaults of two main rooms, and others, show different construction systems embodied by the geometry. The methodology has shown how the cloister vault typology can be turned to a dome construction in the same vault, and how ‘stereotomy’, the capacity of skilled workers to control the space, modified the typical geometry, made by the ‘generative’ construction process used for the cloister vault (intended as the intersection of 2 barrel vaults), turning it into a dome in the upper part, giving back a sort of morphing, merging the two different generative rules (dome and vault) as described hereafter and creating unexpected scenic effect.


Cloister vaults Stereotomy HBIM Terrestrial laser scanning Photogrammetry Modelling IRT Infrared Thermography 



The authors would like to thank the students of the Preservation Lab Course (Restauro - Grimoldi - Consolidamento - Condoleo, Tecniche Avanzate di Rilevamento - Brumana) of the years 2015–2016 and 2016–2017, and particularly D. Attico, C. Midali and A. Turrina (nowadays carrying out their thesis on these thematic subject), together with M. Mottadelli, E. Strano, A. Greppi, C. Parolini, M. Pizzuti, G. Laneri and F. Moroni.

Funding information

This work was supported by the GAMHer project: Geomatics Data Acquisition and Management for Landscape and Built Heritage in an European Perspective, PRIN, Progetti di Ricerca di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale – Bando 2015, Prot. 2015HJLS7E.


  1. AEC (CAN) BIM Protocol (2014) Implementing Canadian BIM standards for the architectural, engineering and construction industry based on international collaboration. Accessed 29 March 2018
  2. AIA (2015) The American Institute of Architects’, BIM Forum, Level of Development (LOD) Specification. Accessed 29 March 2018
  3. Banfi F (2016) Building information modelling—a novel parametric modeling approach based on 3D surveys of historic architecture. In: Digital Heritage. Progress in Cultural Heritage: Documentation, Preservation, and Protection, 6th International Conference, EuroMed 2016. Springer, Cham, pp. 116–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Banfi F (2017a) BIM automation: advanced modeling generative process for complex structures. ISPRS Ann Photogramm Remote Sens Spatial Inf Sci IV-2-W2:9–16. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Banfi F, Fai S, Brumana R (2017b) BIM orientation: grades of generation and information for different type of analysis and management process. Int Arch Photogramm Remote Sens Spatial Inf Sci XLII-2/W5:57–64. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barazzetti L, Banfi F, Brumana R, Previtali M (2015a) Creation of parametric BIM objects from point clouds using. In: The Photogrammetric Record, 30(152), p. 339–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barazzetti L, Banfi F, Brumana R, Gusmeroli G, Previtali M, Schiantarelli G (2015b) Cloud-to-BIM-to-FEM: structural simulation with accurate historic BIM from laser scans. In: Simulation Modeling Practice and Theory, vol. 57. pp. 71–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barazzetti L, Banfi F, Brumana R (2016) HBIM in the cloud. In: Digital Heritage. Progress in Cultural Heritage: Documentation, Preservation, and Protection, 6th International Conference, EuroMed 2016, Springer, pp. 104–115. “Werner Weber Award”Google Scholar
  9. Brumana R, Oreni D, Cuca B, Binda L, Condoleo P, Triggiani M, (2014). Strategy for integrated surveying techniques finalized to interpretive models in a Byzantine Church, Mesopotam, Albania. In: International Journal of Architectural Heritage Conservation, Analysis, and Restoration, 6(8): pp. 886–924CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brumana R, Della Torre S, Oreni D, Previtali M, Cantini L, Barazzetti L, Franchi A, Banfi F (2017) HBIM challenge among the paradigm of complexity, tools and preservation: the Basilica di Collemaggio 8 years after the earthquake (L’Aquila). In: Int Arch Photogramm Remote Sens Spatial Inf Sci, XLII-2-W5, pp. 97–104, doi CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Etlin RA (2015) The strength of vaults. In: Proceedings of the fifth international congress on construction history, June 2015, Construction history society of America, Chicago, Illinois, pp. 49–60Google Scholar
  12. Fai S, Rafeiro J (2014) Establishing an appropriate level of detail (LoD) for a building information model (BIM)-West Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada. In: ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, 2(5), pp.123–130Google Scholar
  13. Fai S, Sydor M (2013) Building information modeling and the documentation of architectural heritage: between the ‘typical’ and the 'Specific. In: Allison, Guidi et al. (eds) Digital heritage international congress (DigitalHeritage 2013: Proceedings of the 1st International Congress on Digital Heritage, federating the 19th Int'l VSMM, 10th Eurographics GCH, & 2nd UNESCO Memory of the World Conferences, plus special sessions from CAA, Arqueologica 2.0, Space2Place, ICOMOS ICIP & CIPA, EU Projects, et al.) IEEE, 1, pp 731–734Google Scholar
  14. Forni M (1993) La cultura architettonica nella prima metà del Settecento: considerazioni ed ipotesi sulle relazioni con il quadro europeo. PhD thesis, Politecnico di MilanoGoogle Scholar
  15. Gilly D (1797) Handbuch der Land-Bau-Kunst, vorzüglich in Rücksicht auf die Construction der Wohn- und Wirthschafts-Gebäude für angehende Cameral-Baumeister und Oeconomen. Vieweg, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  16. Grimoldi A (2005) Ricerca storica e diagnosi del degrado statico nel patrimonio edilizio esistente. Il Palazzo Cattaneo a Cremona. In: Aveta A, Casiello S, La Regina F, Picone R (eds) Restauro, e Consolidamento. Mancosu, Roma, pp 216–221Google Scholar
  17. Grimoldi A (2009) The “frame vaults” of North Italy between the Sixteenth and the Eighteenth Century. In: third International Congress construction history. Cottbus 20–24/5/2009. Neunplus, Berlin, pp 753–759Google Scholar
  18. Grimoldi A and Landi AG (2012) The spread of the XVIIth century vaults in Cremona. The case study of Magio Grasselli Palace. In: Jerzy Jasienko (ed) Proceedings of 8th International Conference on Structural Analysis of Historical Construction. pp. 1136–1144Google Scholar
  19. Holzer SM (2013) Statische Beurteilung historischer Tragwerke vol. I Mauerwerkskonstruktionen. Enrst & Sohn, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jean G (1998) I lavori di Faustino Rodi nel Palazzo comunale di Cremona. In: Bollettino storico cremonese. pp.126–138Google Scholar
  21. Landi A (2011) Riforme edilizie in una dimora aristocratica cremonese: palazzo Magio-Grasselli. In: Landi A (ed) Patrizi, notabili, costruzione della città. Palazzo Magio-Grasselli a Cremona tra civitas e urbs. U. Allemandi, Torino, pp 33–116Google Scholar
  22. Martinelli P, Galli A, Barazzetti L, Colombo M, Felicetti R, Previtali M, di Prisco M (2018) Bearing capacity assessment of a 14th century arch bridge in Lecco (Italy). Int J Archit Herit 12(2):237–256Google Scholar
  23. NBS (2016) National BIM Report.
  24. Oreni D, Brumana R, Georgopoulos A, Cuca B (2013) HBIM for conservation and management of built heritage: towards a library of vaults and wooden bean floors. In: Grussenmeyer, P. (Ed.), ISPRS Annals of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, vol. II-5/W1. Copernicus publications. pp. 215–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Palacios Gonzalo JC (1990) Trazas y cortes de cantería en el Renacimiento español. Ministerio de cultura, Instituto de conservacion y restauracion de bienes culturales, MadridGoogle Scholar
  26. Pérouse de Monclos JM (ed) (1972) Architecture, vocabulaire, Ministère de la culture et de la communication, Inventaire général des monuments et des richesses artistiques de la France. Imp. Nationale, ParisGoogle Scholar
  27. Pérouse de Monclos JM (1982) L'architecture à la francaise: XVI, XVII, XVIII siecles. Picard, ParisGoogle Scholar
  28. Pérouse de Montclos JM (2000) Philibert De l'Orme architecte du roi (1514–1570). Mengès, ParisGoogle Scholar
  29. Piccoli E (1999) Volte composte nell'architettura piemontese del Settecento: le volte planteriane. In: PALLADIO, VII(23), pp.87–100Google Scholar
  30. Piccoli E (2001) Le strutture voltate nell'architettura civile a Torino, 1660–1720. In: Dardanello G (ed) Sperimentare l'architettura. Guarini, Juvarra, Alfieri, Borra e Vittone. Fondazione Crt, Torino, pp 38–96Google Scholar
  31. Piegl LA, Tiller W (1997) The NURBS book. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 1–646. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Varagnoli C (2009) La costruzione tradizionale in Abruzzo. Fonti materiali e tecniche costruttive dalla fine del Medioevo all’Ottocento. Gangemi, Roma, pp 49–64Google Scholar
  33. Viollet-le-Duc E (1854-1868) Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle, Édition BANCE — MOREL de 1854 à 1868Google Scholar
  34. Visioli M (2001) Palazzo Raimondi, nuove ricerche in occasione dei restauri alla facciata. M. Baroni Editore, ViareggioGoogle Scholar
  35. Volk R, Stengel J, Schultmann F (2014) Building information modeling (BIM) for existing buildings—literature review and future needs. In: Automation in construction, 38, pp 109–127Google Scholar
  36. Wendland D (2008) Lassaulx und der Gewölbebau mit selbsttragenden Mauerschichten: neumittelalterliche Architektur um 1825–1848. Imhof, PetersbergGoogle Scholar
  37. Wendland D (2014) Reverse Engineering und Experimentelle Archäologie–Forschungen zu Bau, Planungsprinzipien und Entwurfskriterien spätgotischer Zellengewölbe. In: Schröck K, und Wendland D (eds) Traces of Making. Entwurfsprinzipien von spätgotischen Gewölben/Shape, Design, and Construction of Late Gothic Vaults. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg, pp 11–38Google Scholar
  38. Willis R (1842) On the construction of the vaults of the middle ages. In: Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Vol. 1, part 2. Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, London, pp 1–61Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Società Italiana di Fotogrammetria e Topografia (SIFET) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DABC, Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction EngineeringPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.DICAPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  3. 3.DASTUPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations