It is believed that the oldest known record of barrel vaults dates back to 4000 BC. They were used to span the Sumerian ziggurat at Nipur in Babylonia. These vaults were made from clay mortar and fired bricks. This vault, which was constructed as a continuous circular arch, became a hallmark architectural element in Roman architecture. It was later used in Renaissance architecture.
A vault is a structural form that transfers loads to an abutment on either side. They compress structurally in an even manner throughout their forms. This vault was made of brick or stone and requires precise dimensions. The vectors of pressure exert a downward force upon the crown, while the lower arches push outwards.
This issue can be solved easily with reinforced concrete. Steel structural reinforcements are used in the most difficult places. This structural and constructive component has been used by many architects and designers to create unique interior spaces. It allows for an open feeling with high ceilings and leaves floor plans without any other structural elements. These vaults give the building an interesting mix of shapes and facades.
To deliver the elements that make up great projects, it takes skillful construction execution and precise structural work. Here are 10 examples of barrel vaults. This construction technique, which is made of reinforced concrete and used in modern buildings, has been used throughout history.
Loisium Hotel Expansion / Steven Holl Architects
General Contracting by Swietelsky AG and Structural Engineering by RETTER & Partner Ziviltechniker.
Winery in Mont-Ras / Jorge Vidal + Víctor Rahola
Engineering and Construction by BAC.
OFMA Offices in a Vineyard / MAPAA
Structural Engineering by Manuel José Ruiz and Construction by Héctor Hernandez.
Taizhou Contemporary Art Museum / Atelier Deshaus
Project Engineering by Zhang Zhun and Shao Zhe.
S2 House / BELLAFILARQUITECTES
Structural Engineering Sustenta and Construction by Lluís Sabater.
The Qinchang Village Town Hall / Studio 10
Construction and Engineering by Anhui Fengyang Construction Engineering Co. Ltd. and Henan Chuanghui Architecture & Decoration Engineering Co. Ltd.
Tangshan Mine Bookstore of Librairie Avant-garde / SEU-ARCH + art+zen architects
Engineering by Zhu Peng.
Municipal Archive / Aulets Arquitectes
Structural Engineering by Alfons Romnero and Construction by Construcciones Marín.
Bewboc House / Fabian Tan Architect
Engineering by Projurutek Consulting Engineers.