Reconstructing vaults 2.0

The potential of cast glass for reconstructing historical buildings

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This thesis is about reconstructing historical vaults with cast glass. The vision is to design a complete dry-assembly cast glass arch vault where the Notre Dame de Paris is the chosen case study. The main question is: To what extent can a historical masonry arch vault be reconstructed by using cast glass components? The method is based on literature research and FEA simulations. The thesis contains three main phases of the research. First, the background, problem statement and research objectives/ questions are discussed in the introduction. Then, the complete literature research where heritage, arch vault structures, structural glass and cast glass in structures will be discussed. The third part describes the complete design phase including the criteria and final design. The thesis finishes with a conclusion and discussion chapter. The main results of this thesis are that a historical arch vault can be reconstructed from cast glass, but this will bring high risks and costs. Therefore, the suggestion is to use cast glass for the structural arches as this meets the complex geometry but use traditional materials for complex nodes and float glass where single, abstract curves can be made. The connections between different components are dry thanks to interlayers, but the cast glass elements are adhesively bonded. From safety, assembly, and labor perspective, these connections are chosen. This way, the blurry effect of glass in a heritage is reached, but the method is simplified. This principle can also be applied as roof structures for future buildings, but also for small pedestrian bridges as the geometry possibilities are unlimited.