Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence

From a brickwork perspective this is one of the most amazing structures in the world.  Looking from the outside you may wonder why I have made such a statement.  But if I were to tell you that this huge dome was constructed without any form of support (centering) you may think I was somewhat delusional!

Well I’m not, and yes it is true.  This huge structure was completed in 1436 and built in brick without any form of support.  Brunelleschi, originally a goldsmith, designed and oversaw the construction of this amazing building.  The dome was built with two concentric shells, a bit like a cavity wall, the only difference being that you can walk to the top of the dome between its two shells!

The key to why no centering was used lies in its form of construction.  The first forty six feet were built in stone with tension rings of stone and iron.  The remainder was then built in brick, laid in a herringbone pattern to transfer the weight of the newly laid bricks to the vertical ribs of the dome.

If you love brickwork and admire great buildings add this one to your bucket list!