Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture

"Brunelleschi's Dome" is an excellent example of technology in an historical context. The author, Ross King, focuses on one of the great achievements of medieval technology, the construction of the dome of the cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, in Florence, Italy. The man whose design won the competition for the construction of the monument that still defines the city was a goldsmith and clockmaker named Filippo Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi not only proposed to build this huge and high dome without the support of an internal "centering" structure, but also invented numerous devices to hoist materials to the construction locus and to reinforce the structure without the "flying buttresses" that characterized other structures of the time. King does an outstanding job of putting the architect in the context of his time. Readers interested in reading more about the technology of the Renaissance may wish to look up "Brunelleschi: Studies of His Technology and Inventions" (MIT Press 1970) and "Mariano Toccola and His Book De Ingeneis" (MIT Press 1972). Both books are by Frank D. Prager and Gustina Scaglia.

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Ross King

Publication Date: 
Saturday, January 1, 2000