International Journal of Architectural Heritage: Conservation, Analysis and Restoration vol:1 issue:1 pages:82-107
The construction of the western tower of the church of Saint James dates back from 1220. During several subsequent building phases, the Romanesque church has been replaced and extended by a church in early Gothic style. The wooden roofs in the central and side naves were replaced with masonry vaults, and flying buttresses were added. The structure itself is located on a former swamp, reclaimed by the monks at the time of construction. The load-bearing capacity of the subsoil is limited, causing large differential settlements. At several occasions in the past, restoration works took place. However, due to the excessive cracks observed, it was decided in 1963 to close the church for service, in fear of its structural collapse, to remove the severely cracked masonry vaults of the side naves and to shore up the pillars of the main nave. Additionally, in 2000, the remaining flying buttresses were removed and replaced by tie-rods. The focus of this manuscript is on the structural understanding of this historical building, to determine the most appropriate strengthening and consolidation measures, respecting the authenticity of the building and preserving it for the future.