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Architectural Forms based on the Arch Expository Essay



The most remarkable achievement of Roman architecture depends on the development of three architectural forms; the Arch, the vault and the dome. Even though, nothing of outstanding architectural traditions made in the dome, it remains a familiar concept to the current architectural world. Compared to lintel the arch has unique features; simply because it is able to unite many tiny units of bricks. A Roman brick arch can measure up to 50 yards.

The vault is only an outstanding deep arch where several numbers of arches make a dome, with all sharing the same center. The arches are held together by gravity if there is an outward thrust. An example of the arch in Roman includes the Arch of Constantine:

The Senate in honor of the Emperor Constantine constructed the arch, a liberator and who brought peace across the city. He won over Maxentius in A.D. 312 at the battle of the Milvian Bridge. The arch is the largest measuring 21m high, 25.7m wide, 7.4m deep, and is the best maintained triumphal arch among of Roman triumphal arches, the Arch of Constantine represent the best-known example of ancient Roman architecture and art.

The function of the arch was to serve as public propaganda to communicate information about military victories (Bunson 194-205). An example of the vault in Roman includes Baths of Caracalla

Made up of the red brick ruins the Baths of Caracalla are located southeast of ancient Rome’s center. The baths buildings and rooms were large, with painted vaults enclosing the rooms. Until the 6th century, the baths were still in use, Ostrogoths took them during the Goliath war. Various countries use the design of the baths as inspiration for a number of modern structures such as St Georges Hall in Liverpool. An example of the dome in Roman includes Roman Pantheon:

The Pantheon at first was built as a temple for seven gods who represented the seven planets in the Roman religion of all Roman buildings it is the best-preserved building in the world having its original roof still undamaged, built in 27-25 BC. The Pantheon has stood for centuries despite the since concrete has extremely low tensile strength, but it has remained strong.


Massive domes with square bases and rounded arches and spires and much use of glass mosaics characterized architecture developed in the Byzantine Empire. From the fifth century, Roman Empire domes were built, without using temporary support such as using giant flat bricks which were readily available at that time and served the desired purpose (Dietsch 123-156).

An example of the Arch in Byzantine architecture includes Hagia Sophia

Historical sources indicate that the Emperor Constantius built Hagia Sophia, and opened for services in 360 AD. Built in a basilica-type structure with a floor plan of a rectangular shape, circular apse and a roof made up, of timberHagia Sophia is a magnificent Byzantine architectural beauty a historical monument both to the Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires.

Currently it is a museum in Turkey and over the years it has served as a mosque and a church thus it is highly valued. Hagia Sophia is a perfect combining element enabling people to perceive both Ottoman and Byzantium outcomes under one notable dome. An example of the Vault in Byzantine architecture includes the rooftop of Basilique du Sacre Coeur.

An architect called Abadie submitted the church design. Abadie a veteran architect was well known for his model of the, St. Front Cathedral, in Perigueux. The Basilique du Sacre Coeur new basilica applied the Roman-Byzantine style; the first stone for the construction was laid in1875, in 1884 Abadie died in the church still at the foundation. The Basilique du Sacre Coeur construction was completed in 1914, it was declared sacred after the end of World War I.

The interior contains one of the world’s biggest patterns, which portrays Jesus Christ with stretched out arms. Sacre Coeur is one of the best places in France. Apart from being built to honor those who perished during the Persian war and the French revolution. It was also, constructed to inspire faith in the people of France (Bunson 186-201). An example of the domes in Byzantine includes Cathedral of the Annunciation:

Cathedral of the Annunciation built in 1158 – 1479; it combined Russian, traditional Orthodox, building techniques with ideas from the Roman-Byzantine. According to tradition, it was built by, Andrey Alexandrovich the Prince of Vladimir, in the village of Kutchkovo, which is the current Moscow.


Secular and religious styles are synonymous with the ancient Islamic architecture borrowed from the Islam foundation. The ancient style, design and construction of buildings and structures still, practiced in the current world. An example of the Arch in Islamic architecture includes the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat:

The Charminar was a large arch built by Mohammed Quli Qutab Shah, in 1591 to remember the end of the plague in the city. The arch is enlighten spiritual in the evening every day. The monument is a splendid square building of granite, built upon four key arches in the direction of North, South, East and West.

These arches support a number of archways and two floors of rooms. The Charminar is the most famous conspicuous building of the city. An example of the Vault in Islamic architecture includes the Family vault in the east verandah of Islam Khan’s Tom.

The Mughal Emperor Akbar (r.1556-1605) built the palace-city complex at Fate hpur Sikri; the Jami Masjid completed in 1572. The City was built near Saint Sheikh Salim Christi’s refuge, after the successful prediction of the birth of the Emperor’s son who was to be his heir, Prince Salim.

The white marble tomb lies beside the Islam Khan’s tomb in the Jami Masjid. The tomb of Islam Khan is a red sandstone building containing thirty-six small domed kiosks on top. An example of the Vault in Islam architecture includes The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

The dome of the rock built on a sacred rock, which locals considered holy before Islam came into existence. The Hebrew descendants believed, and even now believe, that the rock is positioned in a same place where Abraham wanted to sacrifice his only son Isaac. It sits exactly in the same position where the Solomon and Herod’s place of worship were situated. In 688-691 Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik constructed ‘The dome of the Rock’

It was built to be a shrine for pilgrims and not a mosque and its main idea was to act as a permanent reminder of how Muhammad went to heaven after leaving Jerusalem. Richly decorated, with colored pieces of stones and glasses, during the Ottoman era, the outside decoration nearly was completely replaced by sumptuous Turkish tiles, however there are some remaining on the inner side. Marble covers the wall and the piers.


Gothic first came into existence in northern France around 1140. It developed during the erection of impressive churches in France and around Paris. As time progressed, this architecture became more popular and could be found in palaces, castles as well as city walls. Gothic main distinctive characteristics include the pointed arch, a projected support built at the walls, the curved vault and window decorative pattern. It developed into family styles of developing palaces (Stokstad 800).

An example of the Arch in Gothic architecture includes St. Stephen’s Cathedral:

St. Stephens Cathedral has the oldest remain of Romanesque parts. The Giant Gate and the Heathens towers, dating from the 13th century, it dates from the Gothic. Habsburg Duke Rudolph IV laid the cornerstone of the Gothic nave in 1359 with its two aisles. In 1433, The South Tower was completed. The construction of the Gothic came to an end in 1511and the unfinished North Tower had to be capped for some time. The cathedral was decorated in the 18th century, with Baroque altarpieces.

An example of the Vault in Gothic architecture includes Cathedral of Beauvais vault.

Construction of Cathedral of Beauvais began in 1225 under the supervision of Bishop Miles de Nanteuil. The choir completed in 1272. In the interior of the choir, there is a vault of about 48metres in height. The falling down of some vaulting of the lately finishedd choir disrupted the construction process in 1284.

Nevertheless, Gothic designs continued to take place, the choir reconstructed had the same measurement, though it had more pillars in the chevet. The transept built from 1500 to 1548. 153metres central fortress felled disrupting the construction process again.

This could have made the Cathedral of Beauvais the second tallest structure in the world those times. The collapse of the choir vault as well as the flying buttresses took place in 1284 and this served as a huge blow to the architects who had given it their all. Architects believed that echoing vibrations motivated by high winds could have led to the sudden collapse of the cathedral.

The, the inventive design, which was never constructed, is displayed in the plan for the floor construction.. Thus, lack of the conforming support of the central part of the church contributed to the structural weak point of the church.

San Marco

The St. Paul’s Cathedral current position had five different churches on the site. The first church dedicated to the apostle Paul, back in 604 AD, King of Kent Ethelbert built on the edge of London’s hills a wooden church for Mellitus, who was the Bishop of the East Saxons. Erkenwald built the church; in stone, a London based bishop with a special interest in such structures.

The cathedral then became Europe’s largest cathedral after its reconstruction which was as a result of a fire that gutted it down in 962 and 1087. The cathedral further expanded through renovations. The dome is approximately 100 meters in height and over 65,000 tons in weight. Eight arches were built to support the dome to ensure its stability. It is the best site for tourist attraction in London for decades now (Stokstad 958-1028).

Works Cited

Bunson, Matthew. Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, New York: Infobase Publishing, 2002. Print.

Dietsch, Deborah K. Architecture For Dummies, Washington DC: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Print.

Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History, Pennsylvania: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.

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