Different Type Of arches

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What is an arch, and how is it used in architecture?

An arch is a vertical curved structure that spans through an elevated space that may or may not support the weight above it. It uses a curve to span a space between two points.

There are various kind of arches that differentiate according to shape, no. center, material, and others.

Type of Arches used in architecture

Classification of Arches based on :-

  1. Shape
  2. Number of Centre’s
  3. Materials of construction

Type of Arches based on Shape

Flat Arch

Acts like a lintel, when it provided over the opening.

  • Joints radiated to the centre.
  • Skewback angle is 60 degrees
  • For the flat arch, the intrados is flat and it acts as a base of an equilateral triangle which was formed by the horizontal angle of 60° by skewbacks.
  • Even though the intrados is flat but it is given that a slight rise of camber of about 10 to 15 mm per meter width of the opening is allowed for small settlements.
  • Extrados is also horizontal and flat. These flat arches are generally used for light loads and span up to 1500 mm (60 inches).
Flat Arch

Segmental Arch

  • Also known as scheme arch.
  • It is a type of arch with a circular arc of fewer than 180 degrees.
  • In fact, It is one of the strongest arches because it can resist thrust.
  • This is the basic type of arch used for buildings in which the Centre of the arch lies below the springing line.
  • In the segmental arch, the thrust is Transferred in an inclined direction to the abutment.
  • Segmental in shape and provided over the openings .
  • Joints radiate from the centre of the arch, which lies below the springing line.
  • Provided over the lintel.
  • It is commonly used over doorways, fireplaces, and windows.
Segmental Arch
Types of Arches in architecture

Semi-Circular Arch

  • Also known as the Roman arch.
  • The shape of the arch curve looks like a semi-circle.
  • The centre of the arch lies on the springing line.
  • Thrust is transferred vertically as skewback is horizontal.
Semi Circular Arch
Types of Arches in architecture

Horse Shoe Arch

  • Also known as the Moorish arch and the keyhole arch.
  • Horse Shoe Arch is in the shape of a horseshoe which curves more than a semi-circle. This is generally considered for architectural provisions.
Horse Shoe Arch
Types of Arches

Pointed Arch

  • Also known as an ogival arch, or Gothic arch.
  • It first appeared in Indian and Islamic architecture.
  • In this type of arch two arcs of circles are met at the apex hence triangle is formed. This may be either isosceles or equilateral
Pointed Arch
Types of Arches in architecture

Venetian Arch

  • Usually a pointed arch with a band wider at the peak than at the spring.
  • Its crown is deeper than springing.
  • It contains four centres, all located on the springing line.
Venetian Arch
Types of Arches in architecture

Florentine Arch

  • A semicircular arch having its extrados struck from a higher point than its intrados so that the length of the voussoirs is longer nearer the top of the arch.
  • Intrados of the arch is in the shape of semi-circle and rest of the arch is similar to Venetian arch.
  • It has three centers, all located on the springing line.
Florentine Arch
Types of Arches in architecture

Relieving Arch

  • Also known as Discharging arch.
  • It is constructed above a flat arch or on a wooden lintel to provide greater strength. In the case of relieving arch, we can replace the decayed wooden lintel easily without disturbing the stability of the structure. The ends of this arch should be carried sufficiently into the abutments.
  • Relieving the load of masonry over the lintel.
Relieving Arch
Types of Arches in architecture

Stilted Arch

  • Stilted Arch consists of a semi-circular arch with two vertical portions at the springing.
  • Centre of arch lies on the horizontal line through the tops of vertical portions.
  • A stilted arch is one in which the curve of the arch, supported, as it were, on stilts, springs from the vertical at a point at a level higher than that of the impost which carries the thrust of the arch.
Stilted Arch
Types of Arches in architecture

Semi-Elliptical Arch

  • Also known as Basket-handle Arch.
  • An arch whose intrados is half an ellipse.
  • It has three or five Centers.
Semi Elliptical Arch
Types of Arches in architecture

Type of Arches based on Number of Centres

One-centered Arches

  • This type of arch have only one centre.
  • Segmental, semi-circular, flat arches, horse-shoe arches and stilted arches come under this category.
  • Sometime, a perfectly circular arch known as a bull’s eye arch, is provided for the circular window.
One centred Arch
Types of Arches (Center)

Two Centered Arches

  • An arch whose intrados curve is described from two centres.
  • Pointed, gothic, lancet and semi-elliptical arches generally come under this type.
Two centred Arch
Types of Arches in architecture (Center)

Three Centered Arches

  • A three-centred arch is an elliptical approximation using three tangent arcs. A true ellipse is a shape created by making a diagonal section cut through a cone or cylinder. The ellipse has two focal points and a constantly changing arc radius.
  • Semi elliptical and Florentine arches are generally having three centers
Three centred Arch
Types of Arches in architecture (Center)

Four Centered Arches

Venetian arch is a typical example for four-centered arch. Tudor arch is also having four centers.

  • four-centred arch is a low, wide type of arch with a pointed apex.
  • It has four centres.
  • Venetian arch and Tudor arch is a typical examples of this type of arches.
  • It is widely used in Islamic architecture.
  • This type of arch uses space efficiently and decoratively when used for doorways.
Four centred Arch
Types of Arches in architecture (Center)

Five centered arches

A good semi-elliptical shape arch contains five centres.

Five centred Arch
Types of Arches in architecture (Center)

Type of Arches based on Materials

Stone Arches

Rubble arches

  • Made of rubble stones, which are hammer dressed, roughly to the shape and size of voussoirs of the arch and fixed in cement mortar.
  • These arches are used for a small span of up to 1000 mm (40 inches).
  • Two courses of rings in header and stretcher form.
Rubble Arch
Types Of Arches in architecture (Material)

Ashlar Arches

  • Stones are cut to the proper shape of voussoirs and are fully dressed, properly joint with cement or lime.
  • The voussoirs are made of the full thickness of the arch.
  • Depth is 600 mm (24 inches).
  • Ashlar stones are also used to make flat arches.
Ashlar Arch
Types of Arches in architecture (Material)

Brick Arches

Rough brick arches

  • These arches are built with ordinary bricks, which are not in wedge shape .
  • Also known as “RELIEVING ARCHES”.
  • Made up of rectangular brick that is not cut into a wedge shape.
  • Curvature is obtained by mortar.
  • The arch curve is provided by forming wedge-shaped joints with greater thickness at extrados and smaller thickness at intrados. That’s why it looks unattractive. Therefore not recommended for exposed brickworks.
Brick Arch
Types Of Arches in architecture (Material)

Axed brick arches

  • Bricks are cut to wedge shape.
  • Joints of arches are of uniform thickness.
  • Not dress finely so it does not give much attractive appearance.
Axed Brick Arch
Types of Arches in architecture (Material)

Purpose made brick arches

The bricks are manufactured, matching the exact shape and size of voussoirs, to get very fine workmanship.

Purpose Made Brick Arch
Types of Arches in architecture (Material)

Concrete Arches

Precast concrete block arches

  • In Precast concrete block arches the blocks are cast in moulds to the exact shape and size of voussoirs.
  • For keystone and skewbacks special moulds are prepared. These will give a good appearance because of the exact shape and size.
  • Cement concrete of 1:2:4 is used.
  • Used for small openings in buildings.
  • Generally, the concrete blocks are used without reinforcement.
Concrete Arch
Types of Arches in architecture (Material)

Monolithic concrete block arches

  • Constructed from cast-in-situ concrete, either plain or reinforced, depending upon the span and magnitude of loading.
  • Monolithic concrete block arches are suitable for larger spans.
  • Quit suitable for larger span of 3000 mm (10 Ft.).
  • The curing is done in 2 to 4 weeks.
Monolithic concrete Block Arch

To download FREE CAD Blocks of different types of designer or simple arches, click here

*Note:- The dimensions written in Feet, inches, and mm are individual dimensions, not converted.

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Ar. Raju Kumar
Ar. Raju Kumar

Ar. Raju Kumar, a proud graduate in architecture, is making strides in the professional world. With a deep love for both writing and architecture, Raju brings a unique view to his designs. His journey, enriched by a diploma in architecture, shows his commitment to learning and growth. As a dedicated professional, Raju always looks for ways to improve his skills, aiming to make a lasting impact in the architectural field.

Raju Kumar (Asst. Architect)
Raju Kumar (Asst. Architect)

Raju Kumar is a talented 5th-year undergraduate student currently pursuing adegree in architecture. With a strong passion for both writing and architecture,Raju brings a unique perspective to the field. Holding a diploma in architecture,he actively seeks opportunities to enhance his skills and broaden his expertise as an aspiring architect.

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