Between East and West. Analysis for the conservation of an ancient wooden structure

Federica Pompejano

L’architettura tradizionale di Gjirokaster.
Analisi per il consolidamento strutturale della copertura lignea di Banesa e Skendulate

Master Thesis on Architectural Engineering – May 18, 2012
Supervisors: Prof. Sergio Lagomarsino, Prof. Stefano Musso
Tutors: Dr. Daria Ottonelli, Dr. Gerolamo Stagno

I have always considered Master’s Degree Thesis  as a further opportunity to investigate topics and interests that, for various reasons and different choices, has not been deepened enough during university courses. The period dedicated to thesis work is a very special moment when you have the first real opportunity to test the skills and knowledge acquired in five years or more, on a research or design project that really affects and fascinates you. Interest in the subject areas of Architectural Restoration and Consolidation of Historical Buildings, combined with my desire to live a very useful experience as well as forming not only for myself but also for other people, led me to the choice of my Thesis theme: Traditional Albanian Architecture of Gjirokastra, UNESCO World Heritage Site. The subject was a preliminary analisys for the structural reinforcement of the wooden roof of  Banesa e Skendulate (in albanian language ‘banesa’ means ‘house, dwelling’; ’e Skendulate’ means ‘Skenduli’s, of Skenduli’ which is also the building owner’s family name).

After a first inspection aimed to find library materials on the subject, the following have been divided and organized between the need to get either data related to the geometry of the building through the surveys, or information on conservation conditions of the building as well as the ones on the wooden structure of the roof through a campaign of diagnostic tests. Once back in Genoa, the acquired data consisting on drawing plans, elevation and sections of the whole building and modeling the 3D model of the wooden roof structure, have been processed. Then, the behavior of this wooden structure through a linear analysis has been performed by using Finite Element program ANSYS 12.1.

This experience has been very fruitful to me, but the thing that definitely formed me in a more constructive way, was the dealing with a culture that although seems to be similar in many shades to ours, at the same time it reveals to be profoundly different. The western and eastern at the same time city atmosphere, the familiar and cultural tradition that you can breathe in Banesa e Skendulate environments and the special support of my supervisors and colleagues that have been with me in this experience ( I have to say also my determination and quite obsessive passion for architecture) have formed the pillars of my Master’s Degree Thesis.

I cannot think about a better experience like this one to recommend to students  who really want to get involved and test their skills in the disciplines offered by our Undergraduate  Course Program.