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WikiProject Architecture (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
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Add a Roman Aqueduct Picture[edit]

Roman Aqueducts are famous for their use of arches. I've added a picture of a Roman aqueduct from North Africa to the main section. Intranetusa 21:10, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Han Dynasty tomb arch[edit]

A 1700 year old tomb from the Han Dynasty shows the use of arches...which meant the arch was probably more prominently used in buildings than previously thought. I've added two Han Dynasty tomb archs, one to the main section and one to the gallery. "Han_Tomb_Arch_1.jpg" "Han_Tomb_Arch_2.jpg"

Intranetusa 21:06, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Minimize image load time[edit]

Seriously, I'm on a fast connection and they're taking heck of a time to load. --Cyberman 19:38, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Arch Engineering[edit]

I am considering adding a sub heading 'Engineering of the Arch' which will explore the progression of the arch from circuler, through gothic to the eventual catenary shape. If you have any ideas for the section, or strongly object, please say so. --Commander Keane 14:11, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)


You made a mistake, The arch wasn't developed in Ancient Greece, Romans saw that structure in Mesopotamia.

Illustration captions[edit]

Could someone please replace the current captions in the big illustration of arch types with their English equivalents? It's a nice illustration, and it would be nice to know the names of the different types. Gwimpey 18:55, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

Arched road bridges in the Lake District, Uk.[edit]

I have noticed a good number of stone, arched bridges in Cumbria, England. I assume these have been built since Roman times. It would be nice to see a section on who built these, when, and how immediatley influential the Romans were.

Interesting that the cultures in Mesopotamia influenced the Romans according to AAA but those of us have visited Olympia know there is an arched entrance to the Stadium there. Did the Olympians(or those people from Eleusis) copy the Romans? Not sure of the date.


The stone arch road bridges in Cumbria aren't in general especially remarkable. Details of the history of some will probably be found in "The Ancient Bridges of Northern England" by Jervoise, long out-of-print but occasionally for sale on eBay or Abebooks. I would be very surprised if any/many date back to Roman times, most will be post-medaeval. Perhaps the most interesting Cumbrian arch bridges are the packhorse bridges, which already have an article. For the influence of various cultures on development of arches, see Talk:Arch bridge where this same issue is being discussed at present. -- Kvetner 14:05, 1 April 2007 (UTC)


Both Voussoir and Keystone (architecture) are rather small stubby articles at the moment. The arch article would benefit greatly from their inclusion. Both keystones and voissoirs cannot be discussed without mentioning arches so the reader will only be inconvenienced by having to navigate away to separate pages. --Mcginnly | Natter 13:20, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

oppose - I believe at least Keystone deserve it's own article. (plus it isn't that stubby.) That doesn't mean that the material couldn't be incoeporated into the "arch" article as well though.Maunus 12:12, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
oppose - Arch should be a general article with subarticles on specific types, in my opinion. Otherwise, it will become like Dam which is a mess now because every article with the word "Dam" in it was merged into it. When writing architecture articles, an editor wants to be able to link to a succient article to explain a term to a reader without the reader having to wade through a huge general article. Sincerely, Mattisse 13:31, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
support - One essential fact is that the keystone of an arch has no structural function other than serving as a part of the arch. Furthermore, the keystone is not the "key" of the arch in any sense other than an aesthetic one. Our eyes are drawn towards a keystone, but it is no more necessary to the stability of the arch than are all of the other stones of the arch. Merging the keystone article into the arch article is fair to the prose in the former article, because it will allow that piece of prose to do for the larger article what the "keystone" of an arch does in real life. Bigturtle 22:31, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
oppose - The keystone is basically the aesthetic main feature of an arch and an article about it makes sense to me - there should be a long article about it containing a gallery of images and explaining common misunderstandings. As a consequence, an article about voussoir makes sense too.
/ Mats Halldin (talk) 18:22, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
oppose - I suggest that specific sections on voussoir and keystone are added to the main arch article, with "see main article" headings to point to the more specific articles. Although they'd all fit happily in one article, I think it is better for now to keep them separate to avoid the main article becoming too long in future. Also, there are more important things to do in the main article e.g. describing other features such as the spandrels. -- Kvetner 09:24, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
oppose - I just used this article because I was specifically asked what a keystone and a voussoir was, and I wasn't asked in a way that suggested arches. "Keystone" and "Voussoir" are architectural terms, and deserve their own articles where people can find the meaning of the term instantly. PerryPlanet 05:34, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
::oppose - I believe that a Voussoir is a distinct element on its own and needs to be distinguished as such. Specific terms are wikilinked in architectural articles. The general reader is confused, I believe, when the wikilink goes to a long merged article where the reader has to sort out the specific meaning. --Mattisse 01:22, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Sorry! I have already voiced an opinion (above) so I struck this one out. --Mattisse 01:25, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Grande Arche[edit]

The Grande Arche in Paris is called an arch. Is it an arch? -- 15:37, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

No. In the UK, this form of structure is more commonly called a portal, as this is a general term which can be used where the structure is not curved in the manner of an arch. -- Kvetner 14:00, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

unknown arch[edit]

What is the translation to the english language for this sort of arches between buildings in narrow alleys?

In Germany it is called Schwibbogen (schwibb arch) or Schwebebogen (float arch). Manny thanks from Ronaldo from the German Wikipedia.

A quick google suggest either candle arch, floating arch, or flying buttress. There is an interesting article about it here.
/ Mats Halldin (talk) 07:40, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Mesopotamian arches[edit]

Actually, they were used for doorways etc, not just underground stuff as the article says. In fact, there are some nice arches in Eshnunna (Tell Asmar) from the Sargonic period i.e circa 2200 BC. Look at around pages 15 and 16 (pdf pages 27 and 28).Ploversegg (talk) 22:23, 30 July 2008 (UTC)ploversegg

Comments on "Technical aspects"[edit]

A very helpful article. :-)

I have two comments/corrections/questions from an engineer's point of view on the section "Techincal aspects" of the page, and specifically on the following sentence: "The arch is significant because, in theory at least, it provides a structure which eliminates tensile stresses in spanning an open space."

1) What is the motivation for the remark, "in theory at least"? If it is related to the existence of stress-concentrations at cracks or other material imperfections in nature as opposed to "theory" (where the material behaviour is simplified), I guess the term "theory" should be understood as "simple theory". To my current knowledge, the two features that I have mentioned can be implemented in so-called fracture mechanical models.

2) To my current knowledge, an important prerequisite for the elimination of tensile stresses in an arch is the assumption that the distributed force is directed towards it, i.e. downwards from gravity forces. In the case of an opposite-directed force, i.e. lift forces arising from wind, the arch would actually experience great tensile stresses! So this could be added to the sentence, e.g. " spanning an open space, when the arch is carrying gravity or other downward-directed loads".

Keep up the good work. :-)

Wikieng08 (talk) 19:54, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

  • It’s true that an arch can experience other stresses besides compression, such as those imposed by expansion and contraction from thermal change, lateral loads from wind or seismic activity, dynamic loads from cars driving on top of it, impact loads from mechanical equipment, etc, etc. However, I think the goal of this article should be to explain the basics of how an arch works to a general audience. It may not be necessary to go into so much detail. --Jvanek01 (talk) 22:30, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Roman use of semi-arch on Trajan's bridge over Danube predates Chinese use by 500 years.[edit]

While the Roman's may have strongly prefered semi-circle arches, they were aware of and did sometimes use segmental arches of less than a full half circle. Nor were the Chinese the first to use open-spandrel arches. Trajan's bridge over the Danube, built 500 years before the Chinese Zhaoshou bridge, had open spandrel segmental arches on - you can see this in the Wikipedia article on Trajan's Bridge -

The references in the article does not support the claim that the chinese were the first to realize that an arch does have to be a full semi-circle, or build a segmental arch bridge, since the Great Stone Bridge they reference was built in the 7th century, while Trajan's Bridge over the Danube was built in the beginnning of the 2nd century. Statment should be removed or another reference giving an clear example of a Chinese bridge from the 1st century. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:58, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

This is correct, see Roman segmental arch bridges. One of the earliest are Pont-Saint-Martin (bridge) and Ponte San Lorenzo. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 13:46, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Adobe Arches in Merzouga Morocco[edit]

The new section Adobe Arches in Merzouga Morocco seems too specific in comparison with the general tone of the rest of the arch article. Perhaps it should be moved to the Merzouga article or spun out as a separate article. Any thoughts? cmɢʟee'τaʟκ'maιʟ 09:37, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

These arches appear not to be true arches at all, but corbel arches. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:38, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Delete - agreed that this is too specific to be in a general entry about arches, especially this many photos; it's redundant. Jvanek01 (talk) 22:15, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Comparison of a corbel arch (right) and a generic "true" stone arch (left).
  • Delete - Appart from being too spesific, it is also simply not showing arches. It's the opposite, the concrete bar holdes the span - not the underlying adobe wall, which is also not built as an arch, but as an abutted or corbel arch. A section on creating arches with adobe stones could be made, but these examples are clearly not relevant. See this picture for clarification. --KnutHj (talk) 12:43, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Delete - I came to this Talk page because I too was concerned that this section is particularly unhelpful because it is a counter-example that repudiates the architectural principles discussed in the rest of the article. These adobe bricks stay in place only because of the adhesive qualities of the mortar. Wikipedia is not the place for a personal travelogue. Deleting. Mark Taylor (talk) 01:07, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Parabolic and Catenary arches are similar, but different[edit]

Catenary arches are superficially similar in appearance to a parabola, though mathematically quite different, as we can read here.--Jordiferrer (talk) 08:56, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

February 3, 2013: Cleanup[edit]

In an effort to clean up the article for WikiProject Architecture, I'm making a few edits in the “Technical aspects” section. Right now, the entire section sounds like it was written by one of my college structures professors (no offense). I believe that this section should really explain how an arch works to a general audience. In fact, the section should probably be titled: Basic concepts. The section is also lacking, and I added references to things like “thrust, abutment, hinged arch vs fixed, arch forms, arch action, et al." – all important aspects of understanding how an arch works. I also deleted awkwardly phrased and possibly redundant lines, like: “This same principle holds when the force acting on the arch is not vertical such as in spanning a doorway, but horizontal, such as in arched retaining walls or dams” (What is this trying to explain, and is it really necessary in this article? It’s also confusing because most door headers are lintels, not arches. It should really go into an article about retaining walls or dams) I also reworded the rest of the section.

I also updated the structure of the "Construction of adobe arches" gallery to make it clearer. It seemed like there were two separate galleries, when in fact both show construction photos (mid-construction and completed) of adobe arches. However, I also believe that this section may be redundant. One photo, particularly the one showing the centering, would be enough. Wikipedia doesn't need all the job site photos from your project.

All of my changes are also posted on my talk page. I welcome anyone to improve upon my edits, or post your complaints below and I'll update the article. Thanks! Jvanek01 (talk) 22:08, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Teotihuacan's tunnel arches[edit]

In 2010, a robot discovered a long arch-roofed passageway underneath the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl which stands in the ancient city of Teotihuacan north of Mexico City, dated to around 200 AD.

The article sourced makes no mention of the discovery of a true arch, rather a 'smoothly arched' ceiling, which can't be precisely interpreted as a true arch or even any kind of masonry. Is there any additional evidence available to confirm an arch? Does this sentence still belong in the article? TangoFett (talk) 23:01, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

True Arch vs Corbelled Arch[edit]

The article does not seem to make an explicit distinction between these two types of arch, though they are quite distinct in engineering principle. I came here looking for info regarding the history of the true (voussoired) arch, but found that the supposed 'earliest arch' (the city gate at Ashklon) could be interpreted either as a true arch or as a corbelled arch depending on how one's imagination fills in the vital missing top part of the structure, and is in fact merely the abutments of an arch, the rest being speculative. How do archaeologists in fact interpret this structure ? Is it regarded as the remains of a true arch or of a corbelled arch ? Or is it impossible to say ? g4oep — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:42, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

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Indian rock cut arches[edit]

Rock cut arches, India, 3rd century BCE. 

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