Matera Cathedral shrouded in Pilosio scaffolding for the last phase of the consolidation work and restoration. The European Capital of Culture, 2019 is preparing to welcome thousands of visitors.
The final restauration work to return the XIII century “temple” to the people of Matera, as well as the many tourists visiting the “city of stones”, has been entrusted to the company D’Alessandro Srl Restoration of Matera.
The cathedral of Santa Maria della Bruna, has in fact been closed for over 10 years: 2003 saw the collapse and closure of the first and second aisles, with the final closure of the church dating back to 2006. But, in late 2014, new funding was allocated to complete the remaining work, especially with 2019 in view, when the city will be the “European Capital of Culture”, the first south Italian city to receive this honour. But Matera has already become a favourite destination for many Italian and foreign tourists since, at the end of 1993, UNESCO declared the Sassi district a World Heritage Site.
Moreover, so the delicate work began: consolidation of the roofing of the central nave, restoration of paving, restoration of the aisles, the Sacramento and the Nativity Chapels.
In order to carry out the sensitive consolidation and restoration work of the beautiful cathedral of Santa Maria della Bruna of Matera, it was necessary to isolate the construction site by completely enclosing the cathedral with tarpaulins.
From the wide range of scaffolding proposed by Pilosio, the D’Alessandro Renovation Company opted for the traditional SE system for the more linear facades, and the multidirectional MP system for the more irregular areas as well as for the facade scaffolding and the provisional aluminum roofing, that was to cover the entire building.
Design and construction complexity
There have been numerous complexities on this site, both in the design phase and during mounting, mainly due to the great irregularity of the buildings, the proximity and irregular shape of adjacent buildings, many changes in levels and, not least, to the temporary roofing that had to be supported.
On the front right hand side a real supporting structure was built using modules in tandem to support the roofing structure as well as to allow the work on the facade to be carried out. That is: a scaffold of 83 cm, anchored to the wall of the cathedral and used for the renovation work, combined with a scaffold of 250 cm for a total height of 20 m, which included a overhang of 10 m. The 250 cm module serving as reinforcement for the lateral thrust of the structure.
On the opposite side, due to the proximity of other buildings, numerous protrusions and recesses and the presence of an uphill alley, a scaffold of 83 cm was built and combined with another of variable width. Moreover, on this side a security driveway for the possible passage of ambulances was made. The contractors who mounted the scaffolding had to create various bypasses, steps and variations to adapt the structure to the existing irregularities. Instead, for the front, an SE facade scaffolding module was opted for; the SE safe system by Pilosio, which features the possibility of assembling from the lower levels, ensuring maximum operator safety: with the special parapet frame, when the operator climbs to the top levels he is already protected against accidental fall.
The decking at the start was used with MP multidirectional system to a height of 3.5 m on a level with the access stairs to also act as a loading platform. The SE scaffolding does not follow the outline of the facade, but continues in height until reaching the gable of the provisional roof which will allow the tarpaulins to completely enclose the church.
A double pitched provisional roof structure was made, with a width of 24.60 m and length of 35 m, giving, in a single solution, cover to both the nave and the aisles. In fact, the request of the restoration company was to have the work area on the roofs completely free to allow work to be carried out on all surfaces. For the roof structure type T120 Building was used with aluminum lattice beams at 120 cm high and with a resistance to snowload of 90 kg/m²: Matera, in fact, is located 401 meters above sea level and snowfall was not to be underestimated.
The temporary roofing was fixed to the bearing structure in MP and, since these walls are not anchored for the last 10 m, it was decided to make it more rigid by the addition of steel rods, placed every 2.5m, which connect the two wings of the scaffolding passing over the roof of the church.
In addition to the PVC tarpaulin covering, the addition of a further PVC tarpaulin was required, placed inclined between the end section of the roofing structure and the lateral scaffolding so that rainwater would run off externally keeping the facades being restored dry.
Another specific request by the restoration company was to be able to deposit the work materials directly on the roof by crane. To do this, one of the spans of the roof structure was kept free of horizontal and diagonal braces to allow the temporary removal of the tarpaulin leaving enough space available to place the materials and equipment necessary for the operators.
To construct the provisional roofing, the technical details of every single stage of the assembly were provided: handling, mounting and dismantling.
In terms of logistics, given the limited space in the church square, the Festa Group Srl Company from Matera offered themselves as a logistics base, allowing the company to pick up and handle only what material was necessary as the mounting proceeded.