IMPROVING RESILIENCE IN ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE? THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE VAULTING SYSTEMS AFTER THE 1805 EARTHQUAKE IN MOLISE (ITALY)
The 1805 earthquake damaged a large area of the Southern Italy, destroying most of the architectural heritage in the “Contado of Molise”, a poor region characterized by numerous medieval towns. In the aftermath of the catastrophe, the reconstruction and in fewer cases the restoration of important buildings, mainly the ecclesiastical ones, took place without a well-defined rebuilding plan. If, from a formal point of view, interesting design levels were not reached, the same cannot be stated for the construction solutions adopted, especially regarding vaulted systems. Actually, they were conceived either with wood, concrete with aggregates or full/hollow clay bricks. This variety of constructive raw elements is a direct manifestation of the richness of the vernacular constructive tradition. Moreover, the intrinsic lightness of such materials suggests as well the need at the time of new lightweight structures capable of standing on pre-existing weakened masonries. This approach was probably taken in order to reduce vulnerability and improve structural resilience to earthquakes. In light of these considerations, the paper focuses on the different construction techniques used to rebuild the vaulting systems after the 1805 earthquake in Molise, discussing their potentialities and weaknesses as well as their capacity to improve resilience in the architectural heritage.