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Romanterms - Roman Architecture: Structural Achievements...

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Roman Architecture: Structural Achievements The Arch: The arch, often built up over internal wood centering was the critical structural form. Voussoirs, wedge shaped cut pieces of stone or thin slices of brick held in place by mortar, are built up from the springing point on the wall, here, to form a semicircle. Note that only the arch is lain in a semi-circle; the wall itself is laid in horizontal lines (or courses) of brick or masonry. At the center is placed the keystone, the voussoir, that locks the arch in place and prevents the two halves of the arch from buckling and the pieces falling in on one another. The strength of the arch is due to the fact that the tensile forces, created under the weight of the wall, are distributed through the voussoirs into the lateral sections of the wall. There these forces must be resisted, neutralized or grounded. The pressure of the voussoirs is constant: "The arch never sleeps.” QuickTime and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
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This note was uploaded on 05/22/2008 for the course ART 105 taught by Professor Artdepartment during the Spring '08 term at Vassar.

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Romanterms - Roman Architecture: Structural Achievements...

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