Nearly six centuries after it was built, the Dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence remains the symbol and greatest pride of the city.
Using experimental methods that many contemporaries believe will certainly fail, 150-built without flying support walls or independent scaffolding-foot-wide (46-meter-wide)
The dome actually ignited the creative explosion known as the Renaissance.
Its creator, FIBO brunelski, is a commonplace.
The grumpy Goldsmith, who has not received serious construction training, is a hero to his Florentine compatriots, especially a modern architect. (
Read more about il Duomo in National Geographic magazine, published in February 2014. )
On last April, on the 567 th anniversary of brunelski's death, I stood at the door of the Cathedral of Florence, only a few feet from his grave, the procession, dressed in Renaissance costumes, entered the habadir team with glittering weapons and a double rank of breastplate, the girls, dressed in sweeping robes, filled the church with music of Laurel and peach gold drums and trumpets, and echoed in brunelski's dome, as on the day he was buried.
The procession went down to the basement and placed the wreaths on brunelski's slate.
A burly gentleman in his early 70 s bent down and put his hand on the marble, his head bowed religiously and his breath was clear.
No one in history has devoted more heart and soul to brunelsky and his memory than this man, mámo Ridge, an architect from an ancient family of Florence, who walks in this memorial parade every year
Ritchie spent most of his life trying to figure out the architectural techniques brunelski used to build the still largest brick and stone dome on Earth.
Rich's approval of brunelski was so strong that sometimes he said he almost felt the great architect standing by him, silent and invisible.
"We have established a special, almost spiritual relationship," Ritchie said in his hoarse rant.
"Sometimes, I am grateful for his achievements, for what he has left us.
I told him he was very upset at other times.
"Having brunelski's spirit whisper in your ear may be the only way to determine how he works.
Finally, he mysteriously brought many secrets of his dome to the grave.
Until today, we don't know where he got his inspiration.
Shell domes, herringbone bricklayers, and other features that architects can only marvel at in the coming centuries. (
Explore the hidden details of brunelski's bold design. )
Perhaps the most memorable mystery is the simplest: how brunelski and his stonemason put each brick, stone beam, inside an extremely complex Cathedral, other structural elements with such precision are a task for modern architects whose laser level, GPS positioning equipment and CAD software are still challenging today?
For 40 years, Ricci has been trying to answer these questions in the same way as brunelski: trial and error.
He built scale models for brunelski's innovative cranes, cranes and transport ships.
He has searched the interior and exterior of the dome for clues, drawing unknown stubs for each iron accessory as well as masonry and cross
Reference them against archival documents about dome buildings.
Since 1989, in a park on the south bank of the Arno River, half a mile downstream of Santa Maria del Fiore, he has been building a 33 feet dome model (10 meters)
At the bottom of it, it consists of about 500,000 bricks.
Ricci said: "The theoretical model is good for understanding the geometry of the dome, but it is of limited use in understanding the problems brunelski dealt with when building the dome.
That's what really matters to me: how brunelski put the bricks together.
"In the process of assembling half a million bricks, Ricci may have solved one of brunelski's biggest secrets: how to place each brick with a net of fixed and moving chains so that the eight sides of the dome bend to the center at the same angle.
Inspired by the documentary reference to "Star of the stove", Ricci first suspended a star --
The shape hub of the center of his model dome.
Starting from the eight points of the star, he extended eight chains outward and downwards to the wall of his model, attached to the hook on the wall, in the corner of the octagonal plane (
The dome itself has similar hooks).
Next, he connected the eight chains with horizontal ropes, which trace the arcs along the eight sides of the octagonal along where the walls rise.
From above, these ropes look like petals of flowers.
After last year's memorial service, Ricky laid out some evidence for me about his domed flower theory, which he thought was his breakthrough in brunelski's approach concept.
"In fact, Santa Maria del Fiore means St. Mary in flowers," Ricci notes . ".
"The symbol of Florence is a flower, Lily.
He smiled clearly with satisfaction. "You see?
My theory is united as firmly as the cathedral itself.