Roman arches may also be found in modern architecture, such as the inside of Washington, D.C.'s Union Station. Arches were first used in Roman architecture, although being invented by the Greeks. They are found in many buildings throughout Rome and other parts of Italy, but they are most common in North Africa and Spain.
Arches are used instead of windows or doors to allow in light and air while keeping out wind and rain. They're very efficient at this task because only part of the structure needs to be open for a breeze to come in, while the rest can stay shut. This is why arches are often used in large public spaces like airports or train stations that need to be open for traffic but also need to provide a comfortable environment for its visitors.
In addition to being useful design elements, arches make beautiful pictures too. Many photographers love shooting through arches because of their unique shapes and colors. You might not think much about all the work that goes into creating an arch scene, but it's really fun to explore!
Arches are found everywhere in nature, from the shells of crabs to the ribs of whales. They help animals breathe freely under their own weight by allowing some air but keeping out water when it floods their habitats.
Arches were known in ancient Egypt and Greece, but they were deemed inadequate for monumental building and were rarely employed. The semicircular arch, on the other hand, was employed by the Romans in bridges, aqueducts, and large-scale building. It is this type of arch that we see used in many Roman buildings.
The semicircular arch is more stable than an equilateral arch because it has two equal sides. This gives it two points of resistance instead of one. Thus, it will not collapse under its own weight as easily as an equilateral arch would. Also, the pressure on the top of the arch can be spread out over a larger area, which reduces the risk of cracking from excessive pressure.
There are several types of semicircular arches, but the three most common ones are the hypocaust, oculus, and triglyph/tritrope. The hypocaust is the arch under a floor or platform where hot air was kept in heating systems. This would be used in large public buildings such as theaters or arenas where noise might disturb those sleeping below.
The oculus is the opening at the top of an arch where rain or snow may enter. This would be used in small buildings like houses or shrines where security was not a concern.
They didn't utilize mortar in most situations, instead depending on the perfection of their stone preparation. The Egyptians also used stone well enough to allow for the absence of mortar.
The Egyptian arch was made of wood, usually sycamore, with the exception of royal projects that used stone. The Greeks adopted the Egyptian arch and used it extensively in their architecture. It is believed that Plato may have been the first to describe the semicircular arch in his work "Republic". He described how a bridge built by him over a small stream was so effective that even Roman architects had not been able to improve upon it.
Plato's description wasn't proof alone that the semicircular arch was used previously by others. We do know that the Egyptians were using this type of arch before they ever came into contact with the Greeks. There are many drawings of semicircular arches in the tombs of Pharaohs who lived long before Plato wrote about them. Also, some historians believe that Greek architects may have traveled to Egypt to learn from them rather than developing their own style entirely.
In conclusion, the semicircular arch was used widely by various cultures before it became popular among the Romans.