I love architecture and I love arches.
Masonry arch structures are curved architectural details that span an opening and support loads above it. today we see arches employed in high end construction, tunnels, bridges and of course old buildings.
A Long history
The masonry Arch appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and the Romans were the first to apply the arch technique in bridges, aqueducts and other structures.
How do Arches work?
Masonry Arch construction depends essentially on a series of wedge-shaped masonry blocks. The blocks are called voussoirs and are cut and fitted so they press firmly against the surface of adjacent blocks. The tight fitting structure of these blocks carries structural load uniformly.
Brick arches and masonry arches can span much wider openings than masonry lintel or horizontal headers do.
An arch can also carry a much greater load than a horizontal beam can support because the downward pressure on an arch has the effect of forcing the voussoirs together instead of apart.
The top central voussoir is called the keystone and is often larger and decorative.
Incorporating a masonry arch into your construction can add an architectural element as old as the ancient Romans.