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Brick masonry identification in a complex historic building, the Main College of the University of Alcalá, Madrid (Spain)

Construction and Building Materials
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2013.12.027
  • Historic Masonry
  • Morphology
  • Brick
  • Mortar
  • Integrated Analysis
  • Earth Science


Abstract The aim of the paper is to study the brick masonry walls of a complex historic building, the first College of the University of Alcalá (Madrid, Spain), founded in 1495 and declared World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1998. An interdisciplinary procedure for brick masonry identification has been defined, in order to enhance documentation, conservation and restoration issues, then putting into value the architectural heritage. The methodology integrates experimental data obtained through on site sampling and measuring together with historical information. The results were used to correlate stratigraphic units, fabric morphology and materials. The differences identified through morphological analysis and experimental results were cross referenced with historical data, allowing a scientific interpretation, supported by experimental results and contrasted to historical information. An integrated constructive analysis based upon available historical data allowed the identification of six brick masonry types based on their period of construction, fabric morphology and building materials. The results provide a scientific support for decision making in future conservation and restoration strategies.

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