A rib vault, also known as a ribbed vault, is an architectural element used to cover a large space, such as a church nave, that is made up of a framework of crossed or diagonally arched ribs. Rib vaults, like groin vaults, are made by two or three intersecting barrel vaults; the ribs cover the vault junction. However, whereas a groin vault has flat surfaces between its ribs, a rib vault has curved surfaces. This allows the rib vault to be stronger for its weight and more easily constructed from stone.
Ribs may be straight, curved, or braced with diagonal members called trusses. Diagonal bracing is essential in tall structures such as skyscrapers and domed stadiums. Without it, the structure would have too many natural frequencies - corresponding to specific values for length, mass, and stiffness - and would be prone to vibration. The designer can choose which frequencies are desirable and use structural engineering techniques to minimize them. Diagonal bracing also increases the rigidity of the skeleton against lateral forces such as wind pressure.
The word "vault" comes from the Latin word "vallis", meaning "hill". Because the ribs rise above the walls they form a roof for the interspace between them. Thus, a rib vault is a type of roof vault.
Rib vaults were widely used in Europe from about 1100 to 1680. They are found in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Russia.
The perpendicular junction of two barrel vaults creates a groin (or cross) vault. A rib vault is held up by a system of arching diagonal ribs that split the vault's surface into panels. A fan vault is made out of concave sections with ribs that extend out in the shape of a fan. The word "vault" comes from Latin volta, meaning "turn," "rotation," or "scoop."
Groin and rib vaults are commonly used in cathedral architecture. They differ mainly in their construction. With a groin vault, the ceiling is formed by an inverted-T shape: Two legs of the T meet at a point called a "groin." From there, they spread out to form the walls of the vault. The opening in the center of the vault is known as a "window" or "lightwell." It allows sunlight into the building through any clouds that might be present outside. Windows like this one can be found in many European churches dating from the 11th century onward.
Rib vaults are shaped like a series of long, narrow boxes connected by beams. Each box is made out of several layers of wood joined together with wooden pins. At the top and bottom, the rib cages are covered with plaster or stone to make them smooth and flat. The sides without ribs are usually left open, except for the very top and bottom where they are also left open to allow smoke to escape from the burning candles inside during church services.
A sexpartite vault is a rib vault split into six bays by two diagonal ribs and three transverse ribs in architecture. The name comes from the appearance of the vault when viewed from above, which resembles the half-shell of a lobster.
Sexpartite vaults were popular in Europe from the 11th to 14th centuries. They are found in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Spain. There are also several examples in the United States. Sexpartite vaults were used mainly for churches and monasteries but also for cathedrals.
These vaults were constructed without any use of nails or screws and so they had to be built from large pieces of wood that were shaped while they were still flexible. The ribs that divide the space into six parts provide support for the roof while allowing light to enter the nave through the openings between them.
They were usually painted white but also black or red with details made of colored glass or ceramic tiles. The oldest preserved example in Europe is the church of Saint Martin in Tours (1025-1035). Other famous examples include the Cathedral of Monreale in Sicily and the Basilica di San Francesco d'Assisi in Italy.
A vault is a structural element in building construction that consists of an arrangement of arches, commonly forming a ceiling or roof. When two barrel vaults crossed at right angles, they produced a groin vault, which, when repeated in sequence, could span rectangular expanses of infinite length. The Romans were the first to use this type of structure for buildings such as halls and theaters.
In architecture, a groined vault is a framework of intersecting ribs or posts from which spring horizontal members called "transverse ribs" or "stiffeners". These transverse ribs connect each rib on one side of the vault with its equivalent on the other side, forming a single grid that supports the weight of the roof. The space enclosed by the vault is called a "vaulted area".
The word "vault" comes from the Latin word "vallis", meaning "valley" or "walled enclosure". In architecture, a vault refers to the skeletal frame of a roof, which may be flat, hipped, gabled, or pyramidal. The word "vaulted" means "to cover with a roof". So a building with a vaulted ceiling is one covered by a roof consisting of interlocking triangular or square pieces of wood or metal, filled with gravel or stone and tied together at the top.
During Roman times, builders used timber instead, but eventually they used bricks instead as well.