Scientific and interdisciplinary method as support for the restoration project. The balustrade steps of Villa Cerami


In this work an interdisciplinary study of the weathering forms of the Villa Cerami balustrade, was carried out with the aim to identify the type and causes of these and to plan conservation measures. The studied balustrade adorns and protects the steps of Villa Cerami garden, which is a suggestive example of 18th century ‘urban villa’, located in the very core of the Baroque Catania. Sadly, these stunning steps, whose magnificence and placement characterises the out-door environment of the building, at present suffer from bad degradation conditions, and the decorative details adorning the baluster are affected by irreversible damage. The causes of this ongoing degradation process are: material features, humidity, pollution and the consumption caused by the activities performed in the building. Since 1957 it has been the location of the Faculty of Law of the University of Catania. In this study, three balusters affected by the main weathering forms (biological colonization, black crust and granular disintegration) recognised in the entire balustrade, were selected. The lithological type and the weathering forms were defined on the basis of an in situ investigation, using respectively the comparison of materials, to identify the calcarenites type, and the Italian norm UNI 11182 along with the Fitzner formalism, to classify the degradation forms.  A 3D survey of the selected balusters was performed with a time of flight Laser Scanner HDS300 of the Leica Geosystem with the aim to better define the volume and total surfaces of the material parts affected by erosion. The surfaces affected by black crust, were obtained by means of an image modelling technique. Data were used to calculate the damage indices through equations proposed by Fitzner and the limit at break for crushing. The potentiality of this interdisciplinary approach (architects, engineers and geologists) is shown with the aim to apply it to the restoration of the entire monument. In addition, this interdisciplinary process has been useful to identify the strengths and weaknesses to assess the consequences of design choices with awareness.


Interdisciplinary; limestone; pathologies; 3D survey

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Copyright (c) 2015 Giulia Sanfilippo, Erica Aquilia, Graziana D’Agostino

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