Computational modelling and digital materialization of classical architectural elements: Systematizing Alberti’s column

Eduardo Castro e Costa

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


This dissertation aims to present the potential existing in the crossing of apparently opposing fields, regarding an investigation that pendulates between the classical knowledge and new technologies, between academic research and industry. The classical knowledge is represented by the theories on architecture of Leon Battista Alberti, presented in his treatise De re aedificatoria. Actually, the research here depicted focuses on the rules prescribed by the author for the lineament of columns as classical architectural elements. Through the use of new technologies, the rules were translated into computer programs as computational models that generate automatically three-dimensional digital models of those columns. From the digital models, and through the use of digital materialization technologies, the corresponding physical models can be automatically produced. The automatization of these tasks is proven useful to the industrial sector, improving productivity through cost reduction and quality enhancement, be it in the specific case of classical architectural elements, or in a wider sense, by extending the methodology to other shapes. The crossing of these four fields vouches for both the actuality of Alberti’s classical knowledge as well as for the potential of new technologies in architecture. Keywords: architecture, Leon Battista Alberti, De re aedificatoria, new technologies, computational modelling, digital materialization, column system
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • University of Lisbon
Place of PublicationLisbon, Portugal
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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