Bricklayers defy gravity, Impressive dome building without any support

It is about 26 minutes but you can fast forward it. I thought it was impressive:


Don’t walk that roof! Haha that’s pretty awesome. Must be some sticky mortar!

Actually, they do walk on it while covering it with a smooth layer of mortar and they clean the mortar joints inside to make it look very nice, too.


It could never work here! They weigh 100lb, we weigh 200lb! Those bricks are superlight & mortar super sticky :nerd_face:

I’ve watched a few videos of that nature and found it pretty impressive.

Thanks, and a great perspective on what’s possible beyond the modular. For others who love this stuff, there’s a 1-hour NOVA documentary on Il Duomo in Florence, The Great Cathedral Mystery, featuring the layout devices Brunelleschi may have used—worth a look since the method, which is very much like the Catalan, still isn’t well understood and yet four million bricks laid without any falsework are still standing hundreds of years later.

In NYC and other cities there are still a lot of Guastavino (Catalan) vaults and staircases of exceptional beauty that defy structural logic. The lower levels of Grand Central Station, for example, are so vaulted. Other similar geometrical mysteries include the Staircase at Loretto Chapel, which now has a filled-in underside, but at one time was simply open framing. No one can figure out how it’s still standing.

The Loretto chapel staircase is indeed a mystery. The double helical spiral staircase is enough to wrap your head around. Then consider it was done by one individual with materials (spruce) that doesn’t exist anywhere on earth, that’s what is truly amazing! I’m visiting it again next week for a second time while in NM. It’s worth a second look… round cylinders wrapped in veneered wood with tick marks is all I can come up with.

Rick, many of us would love to read your reflections after your visit and see some photos through an inspector’s eye view.

I have done some further research on the topic. Your reference to the Cathedral builders on Nova set this into motion. The call, presumably from the sisters for a stairway to the balcony was apparently received by the Catholic Church in France where an artisan named Roche was dispatched to this remote location in NM. He was a member of a trade guild in Europe that dates back over 600 years. The spruce wood that the stairs were assembled from was on the same vessel that arrived with him on this passage. I’m guessing it was rift sawn in advance which allowed him to work with materials he was familiar with and also would be appropriate for what amounts to modern Eames chair construction techniques. I was correct that the stringers were laminated as there was an additional reference to a “water tub“ having been part of his tool arsenal.
Depending on your perspective and faith there may indeed have been miracles involved.The stairs speak for themselves! I’ll post some pics.

I saw many, many homes built with brick domes of various sizes during the time I lived in Cuernavaca, Morelos,Mexico. Many of them had cupolas built at the dome peak. Building brick domes is a common skill in many parts of the world. Disclaim them.

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I have seen similar staircase in 13 century Old Town Hall located in Gdańsk Poland.