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Giuseppe Damiani Almeyda's Architecture: Constructing the Modern Restoring the Ancient

The Politeama Theatre's dome in Palermo

Medium: conference paper
Language(s): English
Conference: Third International Congress on Construction History, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus, Germany , 20th-24th May 2009
Published in:
Year: 2009

Giuseppe Damiani Almeyda (Capua 1834 - Palermo 1911) studies in Naples, and in 1859, achieves the degree at the Scuola di Applicazione di Ponti e Strade established in 1811 on the model of the famous École d'Application des Pont et Chaussées in France. He links up a strictly technical formation with his personal artistic inclination pursued with private lessons both of painting and of architecture. After having moved to Sicily, Damiani Almeyda works in the Municipality of Palermo Technical Office, where he designs and builds a series of constructions which represents an abacus of the new building types for the XIX century town: from theatres to markets, from municipality palaces to archives, from workers' houses to schools, from urban galleries to monuments and celebration apparatuses, from streets to sewage systems. Entirely unrelated, as the whole of the XIX century culture, to the current specialisation that split, with meticulous and perhaps unavoidable precision, the architecture's design, Damiani Almeyda spans on the contrary a vast field of competences on which he possesses a deep knowledge: from the restoration of ancient monuments to the design of new structures. The proposed case, which illustrates the metallic dome of the Politeama theatre in Palermo, exemplifies the second of the two pointed out items while in a companion paper, which analyses the restoration design for the Marsala's Cathedral dome, the first item is treated.

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