Experiments and analyses on a timbrel dome

Ece Erdogmus, Brian Skourup

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


The Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln contains some of the best examples of timbrel vaults and domes designed by the Spanish architect Rafael Guastavino in the 1930's. In this unique construction style, the thin bricks are placed flatly, forming one or more layers and they are constructed without centering or other support. In the case of a dome, the bricks are placed in concentric rings to complete a semi-sphere. During the construction, the bricks are supported by the adhesion of the fast-setting mortar to the completing walls or to the bordering walls. A half scale model of one of these timbrel domes in the Nebraska State Capitol is constructed at the Peter Kiewit Institute Structures Laboratory of the University of Nebraska. The model dome is designed according to Guastavino's original drawings gathered from the Capitol archives, and the construction procedures described in the pertinent literature are followed closely. In this article, first, the details of the construction of the model dome are presented. Then, initial assessments on the structural behavior of the timbrel dome construction will be discussed based on preliminary results of modal experiments and finite element analyses. Copyright ASCE 2006.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAEI 2006
Subtitle of host publicationBuilding Integration Solutions - Proceedings of the 2006 Architectural Engineering National Conference
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2006
EventAEI 2006 - Omaha, NE, United States
Duration: Mar 29 2006Apr 1 2006

Publication series

NameAEI 2006: Building Integration Solutions - Proceedings of the 2006 Architectural Engineering National Conference


ConferenceAEI 2006
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOmaha, NE


  • Arches
  • Dynamic characteristics
  • Dynamic tests
  • Finite elements
  • Masonry
  • Material properties
  • Modal analysis
  • Model verification
  • Nondestructive tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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