The Arch in Architecture

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The Arch in Architecture

Postby » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:39 am

As the Roman Empire slowly disintegrated and faded away, some of its ideas remained in use, and some did not.Guiting The Arch in Architecture The peculiar system of numbers, using the symbols I V X C D and M, sometimes in a very strange ordering, is now mainly used in clocks, and when writing dates in special circumstances.

But the Roman influence on language is still very strong in Europe and other areas where European based languages are spoken, and will probably continue to persist for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, even though it was, and is, intangible. Such is the power of ideas, and the need for continuity of communication. Attempts to disrupt this continuity have seldom succeeded. An example was the introduction of new names for the months during the French revolution. France, like many other countries, still uses names with Norse and Roman origins in the distant past.

Roman buildings were more obviously durable than words, though in fact more subject to decay: many remain to this day. Even now you can travel on roads that follow Roman alignments, apart from occasional bypasses. You can see great Roman buildings and mighty bridges, along with artistic creations such as statues and mosaics. Wherever the Romans went, they took their building methods with them.

Long after the collapse of Rome as a power, its ideas persisted. When the Normans came to England, in 1066, they set about creating an island-wide organization. In the Domesday book they created a record of all the land and its uses. The architecture they brought is sometimes called Romanesque. If you go into Gloucester cathedral, started in 1089, or the one at Durham, started in 1093, you will see the semicircular arches on massive piers that the Romans used so effectively. Though not as famous as the cathedrals, many little churches in Gloucestershire tell the same story – the Romans had a hand in them, albeit indirectly.

Only later did the builders of Europe master the narrow columns and pointed arches of the Gothic styles.seivan The Arch in Architecture In cathedrals such as those of Durham and Gloucester, and many others, you can see these later styles alongside, or even on top of, the Norman work. In buildings of this size, you can more or less get away with such incongruous mixtures, or perhaps we are merely used to them. Certainly in a small house it would look very odd to have a bit of Tudor and a bit of Bauhaus and a bit of 1960s suburban.

The pointed arch is actually very strange, because it does not always correspond to the engineering requirements. We can understand this by considering a simple clothes line, and adding a garment at the middle. The line will form a slope discontinuity at that place, with a new, less curved, catenary on either side.

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