Structure in Architecture: History, Design and Innovation, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Structure in Architecture

History, Design and Innovation, 1st Edition

By Rowland J. Mainstone


436 pages

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Hardback: 9780860787631
pub: 1999-11-24
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All buildings must stand. An adequate structure was as necessary for the simplest primitive hut as it is for the tallest or widest-spanning modern building. However, this requirement became more difficult to satisfy as designers became more adventurous and the experience already gained became less directly applicable. The present papers look at the consequent evolution of design methods and the types of understanding that have been essential guides. A particular focus is the question of how earlier innovations, made without the benefits of modern theory, were possible. Other papers look in detail at the most outstanding of these achievements, such as the church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and the dome of Florence Cathedral.


'During 40 years Rowland Mainstone has been a prolific and original writer on developments in the history of architectural structures. This collection of 22 of his papers demonstrates their quality and authority…These papers should help destroy the popular myth that we do not know how cathedrals and great works of antiquity were designed or built…They should be essential reading for everyone engaged in restoring and conserving buildings, and will be equally rewarding for the sheer pleasure of better understanding the enormity of our debt to the technical achievements of past centuries.' Architectural Review '…very readable and has much to interest the practising engineer or anyone with a visual sense and an enquiring mind.' Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings News 'With the depth of research reported, the great wealth of its references, and its illumination of such diverse themes and topics, the book must easily claim space in architectural libraries and provide stimuli for further studies. Significant assistance to the wide variety of studies which can be envisaged is given by the inclusion of three separate indexes, for 'subjects', 'bridges, buildings and places', and 'persons'.' Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain Newsletter

Table of Contents

Contents: Intuition and the springs of structural invention; The springs of invention revisited; The role of tradition in the development of form in domes, shells, and space structures; Structural theory and design before 1742; Developments in structural design since the seventeenth century especially in Britain; Structural analysis, structural insights, and historical interpretation; On the structure of the Roman Pantheon; The structure of the church of St Sophia, Istanbul; The reconstruction of the tympana of St Sophia at Istanbul; Hagia Sophia: Justinian’s Church of Divine Wisdom, later the Mosque of Ayasofya, in Istanbul; Hagia Sophia’s first dome; The structural conservation of Hagia Sophia: past history and present needs; The first and second churches of San Marco reconsidered; Squinches and pedentives: comments on problems of definition; Westminster Hall roof; Brunelleschi’s dome of S. Maria del Fiore and some related structures; Brunelleschi’s dome; The dome of St Peter’s: structural aspects of its design and construction and inquiries into its stability; Sinan’s Suleymaniye Mosque and Justinian’s Hagia Sophia; Designs for ribbed vaults by Guarini and Leonardo; The reinforced flat arches of the east colonnade of the Louvre; The Eddystone Lighthouse; Additional notes and comments; Index of subjects; Index of buildings; Index of persons.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General