1 Ph.D., University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture, marina.simunic@arhitekt.hr


The vaults of the cathedral of Šibenik (Croatia), begun in the second half of the 15th century and completed by 1536, presented a real breakthrough in the concept of construction in stone. The barrel vault of the nave, spanning 7.75 m, and the upper vaults of the aisles are constructed with thin stone slabs, fixed into slender stone arches. Due to the specific method of construction by assembling large stone panels, the structure has a specific mechanical behaviour: the stone slabs transfer the major part of their loads to the arches. Thus, the vault loads are concentrated in the supports of the arches, where the horizontal thrusts are taken by iron tie-rods. The innovative details, revealed during the recent disassembling of the dome, prompted the research on the sophisticated technique of assembling the vaults and on its possible source in the tradition of construction of stone masonry.


Keywords: innovation, construction technique, stone, vault, Šibenik cathedral