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Efficient and Causeless Solutions in the History of Stereotomy

Date: 03/08/2011

Time: 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Location: 100 Rapson Hall

Cost: Free


Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 5 pm, 100 Rapson Hall
Efficient and Causeless Solutions in the History of Stereotomy
Enrique Rabasa-Diaz, Polytechnic University of Madrid

Architects and masons of the medieval times developed an ingenious and efficient geometry to construct their buildings. During the 18th century a paradox emerges when the academic science of geometry intervenes in construction issues; instead of improving the building solutions geometricians use architecture to illustrate complex and abstract geometric problems. The solutions then become causeless. This lecture will embrace the difference between designing architecture from the perspective of the construction/constructor and designing architecture from an idealized form that deals with its materialization as an afterthought. The underlying topic of this talk will touch upon the science of geometry and the geometry of making rather than the geometry of the form that we are used to seeing in contemporary practice of architecture.

Rabasa-Diaz works at the Superior Technical School of Architecture in Madrid, Spain. He is the director of the Graphic Architectonical Design Department and also directs a very active stonecutting shop where students experiment with masonry compressive structures. His research focuses on history of descriptive geometry and construction, especially stereotomy and stone-cutting craft and techniques. He also collaborates with the Centro de los Oficios de León (stonecutter’s school in León, Spain). Rabasa-Diaz has several publications in forms of books and articles about stereotomy and stone-cutting. His research work is well recognized in Europe and he is part of the Scientific Committee of the International Congress of Construction History.

For information on additional Catalyst lectures, go to https://events.umn.edu/010363.


  • Name: Laura Walton
  • E-mail: lwalton@umn.edu
  • Sponsored by: School of Architecture, College of Design

Disability Options:

To request disability accommodations, please contact Laura Walton at 612-626-6385 or lwalton@umn.edu.

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Catalyst Lecture Series 2011