CONF Feb 16, 2021

Interrupted Architectures: Unfinished Medieval Buildings (online, 3-5 Mar 21)

Online / Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte (via Zoom), Mar 3–05, 2021

Margherita Tabanelli

Workshop "Interrupted Architectures: Unfinished Medieval Buildings between Failure and 'Open Work' (11th-14th century)"

Scientific organization: Tanja Michalsky and Margherita Tabanelli

Webinar via Zoom: futher information on the website of the event (

In recent years the concept of the ‘Unfinished’ in contemporary architecture has undergone a significant critical development. From a theoretic standpoint, the Unfinished is mainly associated with Umberto Eco’s concept of ‘Open work’, which stresses the aspects of fluidity and the openness of contemporary works of art and the arduousness of circumscribing a creative process.
At the same time, attention to unfinished works has increased in Italy as a reaction to the huge number of unfinished and abandoned public buildings that dot the territory. In these contexts, the tendency has been mainly to present the phenomenon as typical of the contemporary age.
The history of medieval architecture is, however, studded with episodes of abandonment of construction sites, often among the most daring projects. Grounds and modalities of building interruptions represent an interesting research field, but an unfinished building site also offers a sort of still image of its construction process, allowing information to be gathered on building techniques and practices.
This workshop aims to draw attention to the unfinished works of high and late Middle Ages in Europe from the points of view of disciplines such as the history of art and architecture, archaeology, the history of restoration, and other related historical disciplines.


Wednesday, 03.03.2021

14:30 Brief Welcome by Tanja Michalsky (Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte)
Introduction by Margherita Tabanelli (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Chair: Tanja Michalsky
15:00 María Bendito (University of Barcelona)
The Aesthetics of the "Unfinished" and "Ruin" in Medieval Images of Babel-Babylon. A Necessary Disambiguation
15:40 Beatrice Messeri (ICOMOS Italia)
Affrontare "l’incompiuto" nelle Carte del Restauro. La conservazione una sfida verso l’autenticità
16:20 break
16:30 Jens Wietschorke (Universität Wien)
Theorie des Torso. Zur komplexen Temporalität unfertiger und verfallener Architekturen
17.10 Miloš Kosec (Birkbeck, University of London)
Sacred Passivity: Architectural Reluctance as an Updated "Vita contemplativa"
17:50 Andreas Waschbüsch (RWTH Aachen University)
Ungebaute Vorhallen an mittelalterlichen Kirchen. Fragmentarische Zeichen mit Vollendungspotential?

Thursday, 04.03.2021

Chair: Margherita Tabanelli
14:30 Alessandro Taddei (Sapienza Università di Roma)
A Middle Byzantine Riddle in Central Greece: The Church of Hagios Nikolaos at Kambià
15:10 Jose Miguel Remolina (Colegio Arquitectos de Cantabria)
Walls and Fortresses in Medieval Castile. Analysis and Interpretation of Unfinished and Continuously Reconstructed Architecture
15:50 Kai Kappel (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Normannitas als fragiles Erbe. Die Incompiuta von Venosa
16:30 break
16:40 Caroline Bruzelius (Duke University), Lucas Giles (University of Cambridge)
Mendicants and the Culture of Incompletion
17:20 Christian Freigang (Freie Universität Berlin)
Kalkulierte Bauruinen im späten Mittelalter (vor allem in Südfrankreich)

Friday, 05.03.2021

Chair: Klaus Tragbar (Universität Innsbruck)
14:30 Stefano Roascio (Parco Archeologico dell'Appia Antica)
Il Castrum Caetani sull’Appia Antica (1302/1303). Una villa nova mai nata?
15:10 Marie-Ange Causarano (Università di Padova)
Cantieri interrotti e cantieri incompiuti nella cattedrale di Siena durante la prima metà del Trecento (1317-1357)
15:50 break
16:00 Pedro Redol (Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitória – Batalha, Direção-Geral do Património Cultural)
The Unfinished Chapels of the Monastery of Batalha, Portugal: Glorification and Oblivion
16:40 Fabio Coden (Università di Verona)
Il santuario incompiuto di San Giacomo di Grigliano (Verona): un progetto fallito come fonte per la storia dell’edilizia medievale
17:20 break
17:30 Final remarks / Round Table

CONF: Interrupted Architectures: Unfinished Medieval Buildings (online, 3-5 Mar 21). In:, Feb 16, 2021 (accessed Jul 25, 2021), <>.