Alberti, Leone Battista, Architecture, 1755

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Perhaps a Coloſſus or ſome ſmall Church is
ſunk to one Side in its whole Foundation.
this Caſe, you muſt either raiſe that Part which
is ſunk, or take away that Part which is too
high; both very bold Attempts.
The firſt
Thing you are to do, is to bind and faſten to-
gether, as ſtrongly as poſſible, the Foundation
and thoſe Parts which will be in Danger of
being ſeparated by Motion, with good Timbers
and the ſtrongeſt Braces.
There are no bet-
ter Sort of Braces than ſtrong Hoops of Iron
with Wedges drove in between them to keep
them tight.
Then we raiſe up the Side of the
Wall which is ſunk with ſtrong Timbers put
under it aſter the Manner of Levers, as above.
If you would rather rectify the Fault by taking
away from the Side which is too high, you
may do it in the following Manner: Dig away
the Ground about the Middle of that Side
quite below the Foundation, in the Bottom of
which you muſt there open a Break, not very
wide, but high enough for you to make it good
with ſtrong ſquare Stone.
In making good
this Break you muſt not work it up quite to
the reſt of the Building, but leave ſome Inches
ſpace between the new Work and the Old;
and this Space you muſt fill up with Wedges
of the tougheſt Oak drove in at very ſmall Diſ-
tances from each other.
In this Manner you
muſt go on to ſhore up all that Side which you
want to let down lower.
When the whole
Weight is thus ſupported, knock out the
Wedges by degrees, as gently and cautiouſly as
poſſible, till the Wall is ſunk to its juſt Perpen-
Then fill up the Spaces between the
Wedges which are left, with other Wedges of
the ſtrongeſt Stone that can be got.
In the
great Baſilique of St. Peter at Rome, ſome Parts
of the Wall which were over the Columns
being ſwerved from their Uprights, ſo as to
threaten even the Fall of the whole Roof; I
contrived how the Defect might be remedied
as follows.
Every one of thoſe Parts of the
Wall which had given Way, let it reſt upon
what Column it would, I determined ſhould
be taken clear out, and made good again with
ſquare Stone which ſhould be worked true to
its Perpendicular, only leaving in the old Wall
ſtrong Catches of Stone to unite the additional
Work to the former.
Laſtly, I would have
ſupported the Beam under which thoſe uneven
Parts of the Wall were to be taken out, by
means of Engines, called Capra's, erected
upon the Roof, ſetting the Feet of thoſe En-
gines upon the ſtrongeſt Parts of the Roof and
of the Wall.
This I would have done at dif-
ferent Times over the ſeveral Columns where
theſe Defects appear.
The Capra is a naval
Engine conſiſting of three Timbers, the Heads
of which meet and are ſtrongly braced or
bound together, and the Feet ſtretch out to a
This Engine, with the Addition of
Pullies and a Capſtern is very uſeful for raiſing
great Weights.
If you are to lay a new Coat
over an old Wall or an old plaiſtered Floor, firft
waſh it well with clean Water, and then with
a Bruſh whiten it over with Whiting diſſolved
and mixed with marble Duſt; and this will
prepare it for holding the new Coat of Plaiſter
or Stuc.
If a Pavement which is expoſed to
the open Air has any Cracks in it, you may
ſtop them up with Aſhes ſifted fine, and tem-
pered Oil, eſpecially of Linſeed.
But the beſt
Material for this Sort of Reparation is Chalk
mixed with quick Lime well beat together and
thoroughly burnt in the Kiln, and then ſlaked
immediately with Oil; taking Care before you
fill up the Cracks with it to clean them from
all manner of Duſt, which you may do with
Feathers, or by blowing it out with Bellows.
Nor let us under this Article of Amendments,
quite forget all Ornament.
If any Wall looks
unhandſome from being too high, embelliſh it
either by faſtening on a Cornice of Stuc-work,
or by Painting it like Pannels, in order to divide
its Height into more decent Proportions.
a Wall be too long, adorn it with Columns
reaching from the Top to the Bottom, not ſet
too cloſe to each other, which will be a kind of
Reſting-places to the Eye, and make the ex-
ceſſive Length appear leſs offenſive.
There is
another Thing not foreign to our preſent Pur-
Many Parts of a Building, from being
either placed too low or encompaſſed with
Walls not high enough, ſeem leſs, and more
contracted than they really are; whereas when
they are either raiſed upon a higher Platfom,
or have ſome Addition made to the Height of
their Walls, they ſeem at a Diſtance much
larger than they did before.
It is alſo certain,
that a handſome Diſpoſition of the Apertures,
and placing the Door and Windows gracefully,
gives all the Aparments a greater Share both
of Dignity and Elegance than is to be imagined.

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