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International cooperation and technology transfer
Mussio, Luigi

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.