The western coast of South America is a territory continually exposed to earthquakes, where architects had to experiment proposals that would allow them to maintain the safety of their buildings. Among the different solutions for earthquake-resistant constructions, planked timber vaults appeared in South American religious architecture during the 17th century. This paper explains how the construction technique of these vaults arose and developed in a context conditioned by earthquakes. For the study, architectural surveys of the different variants of South American vaults were conducted, which were confronted with data from archives and historical texts, to later be expressed graphically through the drawing reading method. This method is important to transfer textual information from historical documents to contemporary graphic language and permit to learn more about the architectural heritage, like the construction characteristics of the planked timber vaults and understand the structural criteria followed by the ancient master builders.
- Planked timber vault
- seismic-resistant architecture
- South American churches
- traditional construction