Guastavino Biennial 2010 Final Lecture, by Kent Diebolt

Megan Reese with Rafael Guastavino

In the middle of February, I was in Barcelona, to attend the final lecture in the Guastavino Biennial lecture series at La Massa Theater in Vilassar de Dalt. The lecture was given by the Guastavino Prize winner, Megan Reese, an engineer working with Wiss Janney Elstner Associates, in New York City. Megan’s lecture was a report on her graduate work with Professor John Ochsendorf, at MIT. Megan’s was one of seven submissions for the prize, which included a trip to Vilassar de Dalt, an opportunity to present the final lecture in the inaugural series, a cash prize and publication of her work, in English, Spanish and Catalan.

This is taken from the Announcement of the Competition Results:

Guastavino Biennial Prize 2010: Megan Reese
First Distinction: Jillian Andrews
Second Distinction: Carlos Alberto Rodríguez Galván

STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS AND ASSESSMENT OF GUASTAVINO VAULTING, the work of Megan Reese is an excellent piece of work valuable in that if accomplishes its goal of developing, trough analysis and “real-world” case studies, a practical methodology for analyzing existing Guastavino structures. It progresses through more academic discussions into actual practice, to provide a framework for those practicing building conservation and historic preservation.

GUASTAVINO’S RELEVANCE IN MODERN ENGINEERING, the paper of Jillian Andrews offers a brief, succinct and cogent methodology for analyzing and considering another “real-world” Guastavino dome, in this case, a very significant and critically important piece of American architecture

ANALYSIS ON THE CO2 EMISSION IN THE ARCHITECTURE, the paper of Carlos Alberto Rodríguez Galván is interesting for his contribution in using Catalan vaults in new sustainable constructions.

A link to a lot more information on the Lecture and the competition may be found here:

The competition and celebratory program, honoring Guastavino’s life and his last project in Spain, the La Massa Theater in Vilassar de Dalt was conceived by the Mayor of the village, Llorenc Artigas, Director of Cultural Affairs, Xavier Yelo-Blat, and Secretary of the Jury, Agapit Boras, whom I have come to affectionately know as “The Three Musketeers”. The lectures, which took place between December, 2009 and December 2010, were attended by both Catalan architects and engineers, as well as village residents and other interested parties.

I served on this first competition jury, along with four Spanish colleagues, including the Jury Chair, Agapite Borras, Professors Mar Loren (Seville), Manuel Fortea (Badajoa), Jose Luis Gonzalez (Barcelona), and MIT Professor John Ochsendorf (Cambridge, MA).

Serving on this jury was an honor and an unique opportunity to learn more about ongoing international research on Catalan, or timbrel vaulting. Plans to undertake similar competitions on a biennial basis are in the works, so stay tuned for an announcement of the 2012 competition late in 2011.

The announcement for the 2010 Biennial Competition may be found here:

Guastavino Bienniale Announcement 2010 (English)