Kirmenjak-Pietra d’Istria: a preliminary investigation of its use in Venetian architectural heritage
Published:January 01, 2007
M. Šimunić Buršić, D. Aljinović, S. Cancelliere, 2007. "Kirmenjak-Pietra d’Istria: a preliminary investigation of its use in Venetian architectural heritage", Building Stone Decay: From Diagnosis to Conservation, R. Přikryl, B. J. Smith
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Kirmenjak — white limestone from the quarries near the village of Kirmenjak in Istria (Croatia), in the past known as Pietra d'Istria — has been regularly used in the construction of the basal zone of Venetian buildings since the 14th century. Its characteristics — durability, extremely low water absorption and high compressive strength — made it an ideal material for the lowest parts of Venetian buildings in the zone between foundation (wooden piles) and brick walls. In this zone, exposed to tidal flooding and low-tide drying, materials deteriorate very quickly, but Kirmenjak has proved to be durable even in this aggressive saline environment. Moreover, this dense micritic or pelmicritic stylolitized limestone from the Upper Jurassic (Tithonian) was used as an efficient barrier to rising damp. Preliminary in situ investigation of how Kirmenjak blocks were laid shows that the prevalent stylolite orientation is horizontal in the basal parts of buildings, while in other structural elements this orientation varies. This inspired the hypothesis that the Venetian constructors took advantage of horizontally laid stylolite discontinuities (partially filled with clay) as a multilayer humidity barrier.
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Building Stone Decay: From Diagnosis to Conservation
Stone buildings and monuments from the cultural centres of many of the world's urban areas. Frequently these areas are prone to high levels of atmospheric pollution that promote a variety of aggressive stone decay processes. Because of this, stone decay is now widely recognized as a severe threat to much of our cultural heritage. If this threat is to be successfully addressed it is essential that the symptoms of decay are clearly identified, that appropriate stone properties are accurately characterized and that decay processes are precisely identified. It is undoubtedly the case that successful conservation has to be underpinned by a comprehensive understanding of the causes of decay and the factors that control them. The accomplishment of these demanding goals requires an interdisciplinary approach based on co-operation between geologists, environmental scientists, chemists, material scientists, civil engineers, restorers and architects. In pursuit of this collaboration, this volume aims to strengthen the knowledge base dealing with the causes, consequences, prevention and solution of stone decay problems.