History. While the barrel vault was more frequent in early construction, including Roman and even older civilizations, the Romans popularized the groin vault for use in a wide range of buildings, including those with substantial span widths. However, the first groin vault in Europe was built in Spain in 1492!
Groin vaults are generally considered more stable than barrel vaults because there are no diagonal bracing members inside the dome. Instead, the weight of the dome is supported by two sets of parallel ribs that run perpendicular to the ground. The dome itself is made up of several shells that form the ribs within the dome. These are usually made of wood but sometimes stone is used instead. The dome may be open on one or both sides. If it is open on one side, then it is called "one-third domed". If it is open on both sides, then it is called "full dome".
The word "dome" comes from Latin "domus", which means house. In architecture, a dome is a curved ceiling or roof made of cloth or some other material stretched over a framework of beams or columns. The word "dome" is also used for any structure with this type of shape, such as a tent, boat, or vehicle hood. But here we are talking about building structures.
Domes have many advantages over flat roofs.
The Romans were the first to use groin vault structure, but it fell into relative obscurity in Europe until the rebirth of quality stone building brought about by Carolingian and Romanesque architecture. In the later Middle Ages, it was supplanted by the more adaptable rib vaults of Gothic architecture. However, it continued to be used for smaller, less important buildings.
Groin vaults are named after their resemblance to the shape of the human groin. The word "groin" comes from the Latin groina, which means a shovel or fork. Thus, a groin vault is one that resembles the shape of a shovel or fork.
In medieval churches, the ribs that support the roof were usually made of wood, although some stone structures used for public buildings were also constructed with wooden ribs. The weight of the roof would cause the wood to dry out and shrink, which would lead to damage or even collapse of the structure. To prevent this, builders inserted large stones as transverse members between each pair of ribs. These stones are called "cleats" and they remain in place today inside many medieval buildings that have been well preserved. They can still be seen inside St. Paul's Cathedral as well as in many other ancient structures across Europe.
Although groin vaults were originally built without any supporting columns, later additions often included several pairs of short pillars called "stiles".
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 word "vault" comes from the Latin verb violare, "to break into pieces," because the original form of this type of structure was a series of broken arches held together by tie beams and crossbeams.
The Romans used wood for their vaults until the mid-fifth century AD, when they began to use stone due to the need for greater stability. Wood is a relatively flexible material and cannot be easily shaped into complex designs so it must be cut up into small pieces and then glued together. Stone on the other hand can be worked with great precision and accuracy allowing for much more detailed work. However not all stones are equal; some are more stable than others and will not collapse under their own weight. Quartzite is one such material that has been used extensively by the Romans for this purpose.
In its most basic form, a wooden vault would consist of a floor decked with boards or joists upon which flat panels called cleats are nailed. These rest on top of another set of boards or joists called blocking, which are attached to the walls with through bolts.
Because a groin vault is a combination of two barrel vaults, many arrises come together to form a V, similar to how a person's legs connect to their torso. That is why it is termed a "groin vault"! Around 1050 AD, we begin to see groin vaults employed in architecture. They were commonly used in church buildings as well as secular structures such as castles.
Groin vaults are found in several famous buildings including the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France (1163-1250) and the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi in Italy (1228).
The word "vault" comes from the Latin word "to cover", thus describing something that covers a room or space. In architecture, a vault is a roof consisting of boards or other material laid flat over a framework of beams or columns. The space enclosed by the vault is called a cavity. Vents may be present to allow for air circulation within the cavity.
A groined vault is one where the ribs that support the roof beam intersect at regular intervals. This type of vault is characteristic of medieval churches because it allows for much greater expansion and contraction of the wooden frame than if the ribs ran continuously from wall to wall without any interruptions. A continuous ribbed vault would be very difficult to build with anything but stone or metal supports.