1 Department of Mechanical Structures and Hydraulic Engineering. University of Granada (SPAIN)


We present a documentary study of the historical genesis, the constructive description, the geometric modelling, and the mechanical behaviour analysis, of a structural element in masonry located in the historical city centre of Granada, the church dome known as “Saints Justo y Pastor”, an important reference in the artistic heritage of the city.

The church, originally known as Saint Paul‘s Church, was built by the religious order of the Jesuits; its construction began in 1575.

The closure of the church transept is carried out by a hemispherical dome supported on a drum of 12 metres in diameter, and four Tuscan columns, all built with ashlar; the dome was designed by Pedro Sanchez in a similar architectural style to the main dome of the Saint Lorenzo of Escorial Monastery; It was built by Alonso Romero between 1614 and 1621.

This paper presents the geometric modelling of the dome through graphic documentation found in the historical records, contrasted with measures taken on site as well as those obtained through the application of new technologies in the field of three-dimensional scanning applied to architectural research; the study of the stone used, by investigating its origin, its petrographic analysis and its stereotomy; the pathological inspection of the building, and the modelling of its mechanical behaviour through application of the Fundamental Theorems of Limit Analysis, according to J. Heyman, including detailed graphical diagrams on the position of the thrust line. Finally, we make conclusions about its stability and security level.


Keywords: dome, structural analysis, masonry, historical heritage, renaissance, church.