2013. október 24., csütörtök

The structural analysis of the (demolished) medieval system of St. Elisabeth's church in Kassa

Abstract of my presentation at the 9th PhD & DLA Symposium (University of Pécs, 22. October)

The construction of the parish church in Kassa (now Košice, Slovakia) was one of the biggest enterprises in the 15th-century Kingdom of Hungary.‎ Its effect reached beyond the borders of the country. The church was built in three main phases, and especially the second one made the layout of the building unique in the entire continent.
This special, neither five- nor three-aisled spatial system induced strong debates in the rich literature about the church during the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. The scholars especially in the 19th century did not understand the unique plan, and they often called the master of the second building phase a bungler. The result of this kind of opinion ended in the "correction" of the floor plan. At the end of the century large parts of the medieval church was demolished for structural reasons (specifically in the inside, including the late Gothic stellar vaults and the nave piers). This "restoration" changed the floor plan entirely, with the result of a more regular arrangement. But the end of the medieval building wasn't the end of the debates. In the beginning of the 20th century more scholars called the second master a genius, but there were still opposing opinions to that. 
Fortunately, detailed drawings about the state of the church before the interior was demolished exist. Using these drawings the medieval system is reconstructable in 3D, and using this 3D-model a structural analysis of it is possible. So at least on the structural side we can put an end to the century-long debate about the skills of the second master.