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Descriptive Geometry & Stereotomy Project:

With 21 blocks of Indiana Limestone and using stone masonry hand tools, a group of Virginia Tech graduate students assembled something amazing.

Design and Instruction by:
Dr. Mark Schneider

Update: The vault goes on tour! The University of Maryland hosted the vault for a special exhibit and lecture by Dr. Mark Schneider.

The vault also stands as a platform for pressing questions about education. The following is taken from a lecture abstract from the PTN symposium held 8/09 in Leadville, CO:

In our increasingly technical, computerized culture, beginning architecture students, today, typically lack the ability to make anything, and this has a decidedly negative effect upon their ability to find a convincing basis for architectural form and order. Faced with the increasingly short "half-lives" of architectural styles that result at least in part from this groundlessness, architectural educators seem ever more pressed by questions about whether there remain any core values in architecture and, if so, what they are and how they might be taught.


Stereotomy and Descriptive Geometry


Stereotomy - the cutting of solids; Descriptive Geometry - a geometric method of graphical projection allowing designers and craft persons to determine the true size and shape of objects oblique to their plans and elevations.

  • Project 1: See the De L'orme Trompe group web site.
  • Project 2: Each student was given a voussoir (structural stone unit) assignment in a groin vault system. Video and pictures below:

Project Pictures: A photographic documentation of stone cutting and raising the vault with a reusable centering device.

Video: Finishing the face of a stone using a small hammer and claw.