Arches - SMC083

An arch is a curved structure which is used to support a floor or ceiling above it. Arches are central features of both Romanesque and gothic architecture. Romanesque arches are curved while gothic ones are pointed.

In building an arch two timber frames called 'centrings' are built. These frames make the shape of the arch. The tapered stones which make the arch are then cut. The centrings are hoisted into place and the tapered stones mortared in place on top of the frame. Once the mortar has set the frames can be removed and used on the next arch.

The techniques used in making arches are very similar to those used in vaulting.

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