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Abbazia of Chiaravalle

Group Project of a Lifetime
Part 2: Every Window Tells a Story

n by Moreno Bartolucci , Associazione Modellisti Chiaravallessi

Return to Part 1 of this article: The Brick Machine


Every window of the church had its own history and solution. Several techniques had been studied for each of them. Sharp observers that we were, we soon noticed that no two windows in the building were alike. We had the advantage of direct access to the original object and spent a lot of time walking around the Abbey, heads up and eyes looking for various details. When you look at your subject again and again you will eventually discover things that a man on the street can't see. Indeed, this is true in any field of modelling!

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All the windows in the high part of the central nave and the big rectangular ones overlooking the cloister on the left transept had been made in plan on dies, then mounted on the main body, but the surrounding angled niche was difficult to build. The bricks forming the surface of the niche had to be cut with a grinder on an adjustable plan to obtain correct and consistent angles.

The Rose Window

The rose window on the main face of the Abbey is a focal point of the facade. It keeps the observer eyes first of all and we need a very, very good replica. At first we tried to hand-model one in clay, but we couldn’t obtain the sufficiently thin  tracery and detailed decorative motifs. Thankfully, one of us works as a designer in the project department of a local company producing cooking hoods, and he produced a computer 3D model of the rose window reverse-engineered from a photograph. From this file he could manufacture a resin rose window whit a CAD prototyping machine. The quality of the  the result is self-evident.

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Continue to Part 3: Bringing It All Together


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