Full text: International cooperation and technology transfer

New survey of Morimondo Abbey 
Bruno Astori*, Luca Rinaldi**, Grazia Tucci* 
‘Politecnico di Torino - Facoltà di Architettura 
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecniche per i Processi di Insediamento 
Viale Mattioli, 39 - 10125 Torino - Italia 
**Ministero per i Beni e le attività Culturali - Soprintendenza per i B.A.A. di Milano 
Piazza Duomo,14 - 20122 Milano - Italia 
ISPRS, Commission VI, Working Group 3 
Key words: surveying, architectural object, low cost system. 
The recent maintenance works on the Morimondo Abbey (Ml) have given an opportunity to 
reflect on the most adequate surveying aiming at two objectives: to find out the relations 
between the building and the construction schemes of the Cistercians architecture and to 
control and document the restoration works that had been done in the past and those that are 
still in progress. 
For that purpose, there were used instruments that would allow achieving the satisfactory 
results in a very quick manner, linking the advantages deriving from the modern topographic 
method (having a very “detailed” measurement programme of the forms) to the ones deriving 
from the use of digital images (for the qualitative characterization of the surface). 
Joint use of two systems enables fewer discrepancies in geometry, reducing the difference 
between the object measured with the surveying procedures and that interpolated in editing 
the image. 
The construction stages of the Cistercians church of 
Morimondo (Mi) spanned from 1182 (the date of 
construction of the apse) to 1296 (date of construction of 
the facade). The long construction period was caused both 
by the land ownership problems and by the thefts and 
destruction during 13th century. 
The recent maintenance works on the Abbey, gave an 
opportunity to effect new surveying campaign ending up, 
on one hand, in documentation and control of the 
restoration procedures that are still in progress and, on 
the other hand, in analysing the asymmetries and the 
irregularities of the building with relation to the construction 
stages and the subsequent adaptations that were made 
thereafter. It was even Arthur Kingsley Porter, who made 
the first accurate study on the edifice, who pointed out that, 
in order to allow the building to ground settle, the Abbey 
had been built up to the top of the columns of the central 
nave, including the arches of the aisle. The bricks above 
this level are, in fact, of a visibly different colour and the 
fillings are larger. 
Further change could be noticed almost on the top of the 
cross vaults, indicating a new stage of the construction 
Other differences and asymmetries could be observed on 
the biforium of the facade (not centered), on the ribs of the 
cross vaults (some having a circular profile and the others 
with a Greek cross profile), in the form of the arches of two 
naves, on the base of the columns, in the distance between 
the columns and the perimetral wall (that has been reduced 
by approx, one meter in the left side nave), etc... 
Despite the apparent concept of unity of the edifice, the 
Figure 2. The plan of Morimondo Abbay: 
scheme of the main network. 
Figure 1. A detail of 
Morimondo Abbay.

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