Gothic architects employed the ribbed vault to provide structures flexibility in roof and wall engineering. These vaults were easier to build than barrel vaults, and they were also stronger and more flexible. The ribs provided support for heavy walls and ceilings without using large amounts of material.
Ribbed vaults are used instead of barrel vaults for buildings such as churches that need flexible roofs that can be opened up during bad weather conditions or that allow for display cases or other special features inside the building.
The word "gothic" comes from the German language and refers to any style or school of architecture that developed in Europe after 1150 AD. Gothic architecture was extensively used throughout Europe, especially in church buildings, and it produced some of the most beautiful examples of human creativity. It was also very influential for later styles such as Renaissance and Baroque.
Gothic architecture reached its highest point between 1220 and 1380 AD with many famous buildings being constructed including cathedrals in France, Germany, England, and Italy. After this period, the use of Gothic architecture declined because it was too expensive to build large structures with so much ornamentation.
However, Gothic design elements appear again in many buildings built in the 16th century and beyond, most notably including government buildings, universities, and museums.
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. Roman architecture, Byzantine architecture, Islamic architecture, Romanesque architecture, and notably Gothic architecture all utilised variations. The ribs may be plain wood or they may be carved or moulded with various designs. They may be tied together with wire or glued together with adhesive. Wherever there are ribs, there is usually some kind of membrane attached to the walls between each pair of ribs. This is often called a clerestory because it lets in more light. The membranes can be flat or they may be curved. They may be made of fabric or metal. The side opposite the nave should have at least one door for entrance and exit purposes. This is usually made of wood but may be made of steel or other materials. It should open outwards from the body of the building.
Rib vaults were the most common form of vault in Europe from the 11th century until the late 15th century when wooden frame buildings with timber framing and diagonal bracing began to appear. These had greater strength than rib vaults and could therefore be built larger without being susceptible to pressure from inside the building causing its collapse. However, when cast iron replaced timber as the main material for frame buildings, rib vaults again became popular because they fitted well with their shape and structure.
A rib vault is an architectural element used to cover a vast interior area of a structure, typically the nave of a church or cathedral, in which the vault's surface is split into webs by a framework of diagonally arched ribs. It is also known as a "ribbed vault." It was a distinguishing characteristic of Gothic architecture. The English word "vault" comes from the French word voûte, which in turn comes from Latin volta, a wheel.
Ribs are vertical members attached directly to the walls of a building or formed as part of a system of beams and columns (see diagram). They provide support for heavy ceilings and often appear as a series of parallel lines with interspersed diagonal members. In medieval churches, the ribs formed a network under the roof that divided the space into many small rooms called transepts. The word "transept" comes from the Latin words meaning "across the way," because they cross one another at right angles like arms of a Y. Trusses were later added to the ribs to strengthen them.
In rib vaults, the ribs rise from wall to wall on either side of the nave or choir, forming a canopy over the space. The ends of each rib meet in a circular shape in the apex of the vault, where they are joined by any of a variety of methods including metal cramps, wood pegs, or concrete.