A flying buttress is a masonry construction that generally consists of an inclined bar held on a half arch that extends ("flies") from the upper section of a wall to a distant pier and carries the thrust of a roof or vault...
In Christian architecture, flying buttresses are used extensively in large churches as external support for heavy ceilings. They were originally used by Gothic architects as internal supports for the vaults above the naves of their churches but later became associated with outer support for roofs and ceilings that are not tied directly to the structure.
Flying buttresses are so named because they "fly" down from the ceiling through which they pass. They usually terminate in a point called a finial. The term "buttress" is used because the projecting piece resembles a small bench on which it can stand. Buttresses are found both inside and outside buildings; they provide stability where other materials would fail. An example of this use can be seen in many government buildings across America-buttresses prevent walls from collapsing in an earthquake.
Inside buttresses are used to strengthen walls where there is no space for a column or beam. They also serve to increase a room's height. For example, an entrance hall or lobby will often have a wall with windows on either side. This is done so that people entering the building are able to get light but still have some privacy.
Flying buttresses consist of an inclined beam carried on a half arch that projects from the walls of a structure to a pier that supports the weight and horizontal thrust of a roof, dome, or vault. This thrust is carried by the flying buttress away from the building and down the pier to the ground. The term "flying" in this case refers to how the force of gravity is used to counteract the weight of the roof.
They were first used by the French in their cathedrals around 1180. The English adopted them for use at Westminster Abbey in 1220. They are also called "gutter beams" because they run along the top of the outside wall guttering which catches any water that falls from the roof.
Buttresses are vertical panels attached to the inside of a window frame to prevent a person from being able to push his/her head through it. They're usually made out of wood but could be made out of metal or glass if you have enough money for those things.
A breakaway buttress is one that can be removed in case of emergency such as in the case of fire. These are usually made out of steel and are bolted to the inside of the window frame with large bolts. When the fire reaches this portion of the window frame, it will melt, causing the bolts to shear off, allowing the buttress to escape unharmed.
A buttress is a structure that is constructed against another structure to reinforce or support it. Flying buttresses are made comprised of an inclined beam borne on a half arch that extends from a structure's walls to a pier that supports the weight and horizontal thrust of a roof, dome, or vault... [more]
The image above shows how the flying buttress supports the nave of St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, Italy. The design of St. Mark's was based on a previous church built by order of Emperor Constantine (rebuilt after an earthquake) near Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey). The original church had no central tower but rather had seven columns at each corner of the building representing the seven churches of Asia Minor. These columns were all that remained after the original building was destroyed by fire. To this day, no other church in Venice has such beautiful stained glass.
Flying buttresses were first used in Europe around 1180. They were designed by architects who wanted to make their buildings look more majestic. Previously, heavy walls inside buildings were used to give the appearance of strength. But with flying buttresses, some parts of the wall were removed to allow for more light to enter the building. This makes flying buttresses useful for open spaces like naves, where lightness is needed to see paintings and sculptures properly.
In conclusion, flying buttresses are architectural features used to support heavy roofs or domes.