D. POLIDANO (1) and A.N. FRIED (2)
(1) Project Manager, Structural and Civil Engineering Consultant, Malta
(2) Senior Lecturer, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
This paper examines the Mosta Rotunda Dome in Malta, thought to be the third largest masonry dome in Europe. Constructed in the first half of the nineteenth century, the structure suffered damage during World War 2 when a bomb punched through the dome but fortunately did not explode. The hole and resulting cracks have been repaired and additional waterproofing was applied to further protect the dome from possible water penetration.
The conservation of historical constructions is considered an important matter in Malta, and enjoys reasonable funding from the local government and the European Union, particularly for its economic and social value to the tourism industry. Recent work [1-3] in the field of conservation of historical constructions has highlighted the importance of expressing the construction techniques and the structural condition of these monuments as part of the overall strategy of preserving the architectural heritage of the building.An historic overview of the Mosta Rotunda Dome, including the geometry, physical properties and stability of the structure is presented and explained. Generic dome design relevant to the Mosta Rotunda dome is also researched and reviewed. A visual inspection of the structure was carried out to assist in the objective of determining the mechanical properties of the masonry units and structure in its current state. The findings indicate the dome is structurally stable at present, but it is impossible to predict how it would perform under earthquake loading.