Virtual Reconstruction

The majority of the monastery disappeared after the extinction of the religious orders in the Age of Enlightenment without letting any vestige. A 3D CAD model of the virtual reconstruction of the medieval monastery of Santa Maria de Salzedas was made in order to allow visitors to better understand the monument and to assist the conservation works.

3.1 The ideal plan of the Cistercian abbeys

The Cistercian Order did not ever define a unique model for the monasteries, in which a formal model was defined and repeated at each monastery. However, the similarities among abbeys, especially in the distribution of spaces, put in evidence a common or ideal plan for the monasteries (Fig. 3), see also Leroux-Dhuys (2006).

Although the plans were very similar among abbeys, they are more different in elevation. The monastery followed a basic square structure; where one of its sides, aligned along the East-West axis, was formed by the church, always in the highest part of the property. The other parts could be constructed oriented to the North or to the South, according to local relief. This is the largest variation observed in the "replication" of the ideal plan among monasteries. It is noted that the disposition of divisions was such that the kitchen and the refectory were located in the lowest part, near to a water-course.

The church was oriented in the East-West direction, with the apse to the East. The plan was a Latin cross, with three naves, being the aisles lower than the central nave. Usually the body of the naves was preceded by a narthex and the transept was formed by a single nave. The naves were divided by square pillars with engaged or truncated columns and were covered by barrel vaults, oriented perpendicularly.

Sometimes, on the side of the transept, engaged to the exterior wall, a bell tower could exist, built in stone or wood. The construction of towers similar to traditional secular churches was forbidden. The church's facade was simple and divided in three parts. A detailed summary description on the arrangement of Cistercian abbeys can be found in Amado et al. (2006).

3.2 Medieval vestiges in the actual monastery

Parts of the medieval construction could still be found in the actual monastery. Most of the vestiges were found in the church, while very few elements of the medieval period could be found in the cloister. This is probably due to the continuous changes made in the 16th to 18th centuries in the cloister. In fact, it is possible to find masonry ashlars from the medieval monastery that were reused in the new structural elements.

The church conserves the medieval walls up to the openings of the lateral naves with the exception of the main façade, which was rebuilt in the last campaign. The church conserves an apse chapel from the primitive construction in the northern side of the transept (Fig. 4). It is semicircular and built with granite stone blocks, with two engaged columns that divide the exterior wall in three parts. In the central part, a rectangular window provides light to the interior. In this same part of the transept, in the western interior wall, there is a spiral staircase that certainly conducted to the ancient tower. In the outside, in the wall of the northern side of the transept, there are two closed openings (Fig. 4). The central and larger one should be Door of the Dead, now leading to the cemetery. From prospecting pits, it was possible to conclude that the outside walls of the cloister were constructed on top of the medieval foundations.

3.3 Definition of the modeling unit

The modeling unit is the base of the system of proportions, which was an indispensable element to provide the composition of the entire building. The Cistercian buildings were based on the composition principle of "ad quadratum", Virgolino (1997), in which a simple generating mesh gives the proportions of the elements.

In the Portuguese constructions from the beginning of the second millennium, the units of measure commonly used were the Roman palm (0.223 m) and the

Masonry Structures

Figure 4. Medieval parts of the monastery that remains in the church: (a) northern part of transept; (b) main nave; (c) basement of the northern wall.

Figure 4. Medieval parts of the monastery that remains in the church: (a) northern part of transept; (b) main nave; (c) basement of the northern wall.

Roman foot (0.296 m). However, it is very likely that the Cistercian Portuguese constructions had used the "pied du Roi" or king's foot, equivalent to 0.32484 m, since it was the standard measure used in France in that time, Virgolino (1997). It is possible to observe that the modeling unit used in Salzedas was equal to 8 king's feet, since the main elements of the church present values very close to integer multiples of this modeling unit. The reference module mesh is depicted in Figure 5.

3.4 Model of the medieval monastery

The church, the cloister and the three wings (monks, refectory and lay-brothers), which together constitute the five main bodies of the monastery (the abbey's buildings), were built at different levels, in order to adapt to the morphology of the location. Perpendicularly to the body of the church, the bodies of the cloister are built aligned with the direction of the slope of the ground.

The model prepared for the medieval monastery only presents part of the abbey's buildings (Fig. 6). The construction has a Romanesque solution, in which the building compound was composed by simple parallelepiped, massive and juxtaposed volumes. The walls, foundations and pillars were built with large ashlars, while the top and intermediate floors were usually made with barrel or quadripartite vaults, in stone or brick masonry. The roofs were of two slopes, with timber structure and tile covering. The cloister should be

Figure 5. Reference model mesh of the medieval church.

Figure 6. Three-dimensional model of the medieval monastery.

Figure 7. External views of the medieval model.

Figure 6. Three-dimensional model of the medieval monastery.

supported on double flat and round columns. The chosen solution is similar to the French cloisters: Romanic with a heavy and massive clean style. Details of the model are shown in Figures 7 and 8.

4 IN SITU SURVEY 4.1 Visual inspection

The condition of the cloister was quite poor, including biological colonization sometimes associated with

Figure 7. External views of the medieval model.

moisture stains, deterioration of the bricks in the vaults, cracks with variable thickness, crushing of stones and excessive movements in walls and vaults.

Large cracks could be observed in the cloister (Fig. 9). The largest and widest set of cracks occurs in the barrel vaults of the South and East wings of the 2nd level, as well as the SE and NW corners. The cracks occur mostly in the longitudinal direction up to a crack opening of 40 mm, even if some transversal cracks also occur. The vaults of the 1st level exhibit cracks in the South and West wings, up to a crack opening of 15 mm. The West wing was supported on temporary wooden poles.

The walls exhibit well distributed cracking at the 2nd level and almost no cracking at the 1st level. With the exception of a few localized areas, cracking is minor (crack openings in the range of 1 to 5 mm).

Vertical displacements up to 35 mm were measured at the key of the crossed vaults of the 1st level. But all the walls ofthe cloisters exhibit large horizontal movements that lead to the separation between the vaults and the walls, in a clear lack of verticality (Fig. 10).

Figure 9. Crack survey: (a) 1st level; (b) 2nd level; (c) South wing, 2nd level; (d) South-West corner, 2nd level; (e) West wing, 1st level; (f) South-West corner, 1st level; (g) wall, West wing.

Figure 8. Internal views of the medieval model.

The out-of-plumb displacement of the internal walls reaches values of 0.18m, 0.14m, 0.09m and 0.07m in the wings West, South, East and North, respectively.

The brackets supporting the crossed vaults of the first level show signs of compression/shear damage, particularly in the West wing (Fig. 11a). This can be explained by the tilting movement of the walls. The absence of connection between the infill of the crossed vaults and the walls resulted in a much localized area to transfer the load, i.e. only the brackets. Also, a significant number of bricks show deterioration, particularly around the cracked areas (Fig. 11b). This occurs at bothflorr levels and can be explained by frost-thaw cycles and water infiltration, as the amount of rainfall per year in the region is high and the temperatures in the winter are excellent for ice formation (daily cycles with ± 0°).

Other perturbing signs, less relevant from the structural point of view, include damage of the stone due to

Figure 9. Crack survey: (a) 1st level; (b) 2nd level; (c) South wing, 2nd level; (d) South-West corner, 2nd level; (e) West wing, 1st level; (f) South-West corner, 1st level; (g) wall, West wing.

freeze-thaw cycles, effloresce and biological colonization (Fig. 12). A detailed survey on stone deterioration and salt effloresce in the cloister are given in Alves & Pamplona (2006, 2007), see also Figure 13.

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