Document details

Computational modelling and digital materialization of Alberti’s column system: a reflection on results obtained

Author(s): Costa, Eduardo Castro e ; Duarte, José P. ; Krüger, Mário

Date: 2014

Persistent ID:

Origin: Estudo Geral - Universidade de Coimbra

Project/scholarship: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/FCT/5876-PPCDTI/108274/PT ;


In this paper we present some of the results of the Digital Alberti research project, whose main objective is to assess the influence of the Renaissance on Portuguese architecture in the Counter-reform period. In this project, Renaissance architect Leon Batista Alberti’s treatise on architecture, De re aedifcatoria — actually its Portuguese translation, “Da arte edifcatória” (Alberti, 2011) — is analyzed, decoded and compared to Portuguese buildings through the use of new technologies. In that sense, parts of the treatise were translated into computational models, namely shape grammars, which help to quantify the similarity between the treatise and the built examples (Coutinho, Castro e Costa, Duarte, & Krüger, 2011). Among the many issues addressed in the treatise by Alberti, the description of the column system is particularly thorough, making it a suitable candidate for translation into computational models. Both deriving from and complementing the development of the column system shape grammars, several types of models were developed — digital, physical, computational and virtual. This led to a deeper understanding of the treatise, and thus aiding to the development of the grammars. Elaborated close to the project’s completion, this paper focuses on the development of both the computational and the physical models of the column system, posing as a reflection on the results obtained from these tasks.

Document Type Journal article
Language English
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