TEMPLA Research‎ > ‎TEMPLA research‎ > ‎

Research project I

"Organización funcional de los espacios eclesiásticos en las sedes episcopales de la Cataluña Vieja (I): Seu d’Urgell, Elna, Girona y Vic (ss. IX-XII). (2010-2012)

Main objective:
Material and documentary study of the sacred and domestic architecture of the cathedrals and of the visual programs that provided those spaces with liturgical-doctrinal meaning. Examination of the four episcopal sees of pyrenean Catalonia during the Pre-romanesque and Romanesque periods: Seu d ’Urgell, Vic, Girona and Elna. The analysis of these four cathedrals will reveal the behaviour of two artistic and sociocultural parameters in the Spanish Middle Ages: integration (what and how solutions developed in other Hispanic or French territories were assumed) and evolution (how was the spatial organization and the articulation of the visual programs transformed from the local solutions).

This project will be optimally developed and concluded by an interdisciplinary team made up of eight doctors and one PhD post graduate student. The selection of members fits the needs of the project: historians of the art, the architecture and the liturgy, archaeologists and architects. Several members of the team have carried out or are developing partial studies in some of these cathedral settings, which guarantees the progress and resolution of the research. We can assert that these cathedral settings, which we will study in a systematic and exhaustive way from its own materiality, contain a very valuable cultural and cultual not revealed information.

Aims of the reseach:

1.- To fix exactly the processes and sequences of the constructive evolution, the topographic modifications and the organization of the ecclesiastical spaces inside the temples (presbiteries, choirs, naves, chapels, tribunes, crypts) and in the outside (cloisters, halls, chapels, episcopium). Technological examination of the stratigraphic order of the buildings and the archaeological rests of the substrates, still not applied to the scientific study of these cathedral settings. The structures of each scope will be analized by means of mechanical procedures, already used in previous works, which provide very accurate information: photogrammetries, ortophotographies, infrared and 3D scanner (with digitalised restitution).

Knowing to what extent every constructive stage considered preceding buildings, what will be achieved by exploring subsoils with a georadar. When studying other temples, some members of this team have already used satisfactorily this efficient, innocuous and economical alternative to improbable archaeological prospectings (although we could deal with them: some members of the group have broad archaeological experience).

2.- To justify the spacial morphogenesis of each set. We understand buildings as  changing organisms, as historical realities developed  through the years. We focus on the phases of the Romanesque period without omitting neither previous nor later stages. We do research into architectonic diacrony as a framework of the synchrony of visual programs.
.- To go from relative chronologies to the absolute ones. We will study the visual programs and we will compare the material reality of the buildings with documentary material (either inscribed or written, published or unpublished). Some of the members of this group have already examined complete documentary series of other ecclesiastical centers.
.- To develop a cultural and political anthropology of the architectures and its images: to know causes, factors and functional and liturgical requirements of the configuration and organization of ecclesiastical spaces and visual programs. And also how ceremonial spaces were created with images.