Building Construction at the Turn from Antiquity to the Middle Ages: The Carolingian Palace in Aachen
The Carolingian palace in Aachen is a key building in architectural history, marking the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages in monumental stone building. Over the past few years extensive studies yielded new findings regarding the construction of the palace church (Landschaftsverband Rheinland) and at the king's hall (RWTH Aachen University). They suggest that the construction methods of walls and vaults, the selection of building materials as well as the logistics of the site derive from an integrative conception. Moreover it assumes an exact knowledge of ancient building technology at the court of Charlemagne, which enabled also the unskilled worker to build complex structures with simple means. These techniques were not only adopted, but adapted to the demands of the new imperial dynasty: It combined the monumental Roman building tradition with the Germanic small-scale cell design. Specific construction features at the church and the hall also show, that there had been a learning process during the realization, eventually leading to innovations, such as static effective wooden or iron ring beams.
The proposed paper is meant to present the recent results within the historic building research at the king's hall executed by the author within a project sponsored by the German research foundation (DFG), relating these results to the development of early medieval construction history.