THE TOUMBA BUILDING AT LEFKANDI. Preliminary Results of a New Architectural Analysis


Location: 113 Walsh Family Hall of Architecture

A University of Notre Dame interdisciplinary colloquium, presented by the School of Architecture and the College of Engineering.

A recording of this event is available for viewing at The Toumba Building at Lefkandi. Preliminary Results of a New Architectural Analysis

This colloquium presents the preliminary findings of a new architectural study of the Toumba Building that began in 2020 at the ISHA Lab—Laboratory for the Interdisciplinary Study of Historical Architecture. A team of architectural historians, civil engineers, and aerospace engineers from the University of Notre Dame, joined by scholars from other institutions, has reassessed the structural feasibility of Coulton’s peripteral reconstruction. Using finite element analysis, the team has comprehensively analyzed the structural capacity of the reconstruction. Through the use of technologies normally used in aerospace research, the team has also determined the effect of wind loading. This colloquium illustrates the interdisciplinary methods and goals of ISHA’s ongoing research on the building.
Built in the first half of the tenth century BC, the Toumba Building at Lefkandi is one of the  earliest-known monumental structures built in Greece following the end of the Bronze Age. According to J.J. Coulton’s 1993 reconstruction, the building had a “veranda” of wooden posts around the perimeter, which therefore established the Toumba Building as the earliest-known local antecedent of the peristyle of later Greek temples. This conception was widely accepted by scholars and went unchallenged until 2015, when Georg Herdt called it into question on structural grounds. Subsequent studies have therefore been divided, with some retaining Coulton’s peripteral reconstruction, and others rejecting it as “structurally questionable”.

By elucidating the structural function of the Toumba Building’s wooden posts, this research will provide an answer as to whether the building could have had a structurally functioning wooden ‘peristyle’. More broadly, it will clarify how the building’s design related to structural needs, thus furthering our understanding of early Greek architecture.



Opening remarks
Stefanos Polyzoides
Patricia Culligan

Alessandro Pierattini


The Toumba Building at Lefkandi:
an Introduction
Irene Lemos


The Toumba Building.
Reconstructions and research questions
Alessandro Pierattini


Wind analysis:

Introduction and Approach
Gianluca Blois and Adam Heet

Experimental Analysis
Gianluca Blois and Mitsugu Hasegawa

Numerical Analysis
Dimitrios Fytanidis

Next Steps
Hirotaka Sakaue and Gianluca Blois

11:00 Break


Structural analysis:

Analytical Modeling
Liam Abujawdeh, James Alleman,
and Yahya Kurama

Scaled Wall System Experiments
Brad Weldon and Paola Bandini

11:50 Conclusions

Alessandro Pierattini

12:00 Panel Discussion

Chaired by Alessandro Pierattini
Hansgeorg Bankel, Donald Haggis, Lothar Haselberger, Sam Holzman, Nancy Klein, Antonis Kotsonas, Lena Lambrinou, Aenne Ohnesorg, Paul Scotton, Aleydis van de Moortel