According to Francis D.K. Ching's "A Visual History of Architecture," a vaulted ceiling is an arched structure of stone, brick or reinforced concrete, called a "vault," that encloses a space.
Vaulted ceilings come in several varieties, including semicircular "barrel" vaults; "conical" vaults, in which one end is narrower than the other; the complex "groin" vaults, in which two vaults intersect at a diagonal; and the dome.
Jevon Vella, in his "Introduction to the History of Architecture," writes that vaulted ceilings were used as far back as the ancient Egyptian civilization, which dates to 2900 B.C., and that they remain in common use today.
Vaulted ceilings are an efficient, aesthetically pleasing use of space that represent a technological advance over the simpler post-and-lintel system.
According to Ching, vaulted ceilings require buttressing on the supporting walls to counteract the thrust that their arch shape exerts outward.
According to builder Joseph Fusco, different kinds of vaulted ceilings have different advantages: the dome is simple to construct; the barrel vault is quick to fabricate; and the groin vault, although more complicated, is especially beautiful.
Famous uses of the vaulted ceiling include the dome of the rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC; the barrel vault in the nave of the Lisbon Cathedral in Portugal; and the groin vault of the New Orleans Mint in Louisiana.
- "A Visual Dictionary of Architecture;" Francis D.K. Ching; 1995
- JosephFusco.org: The Ceiling Vault
- "Introduction to the History of Architecture;" Jevon Vella; 2003
- Photo Credit "A Path, St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Abbassiyah, Cairo" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Bakar_88 (Andrew A. Shenouda) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
Vaulted Vs. Cathedral Ceilings
A cathedral ceiling meets at a central point and features equally sloping sides. while vaulted ceilings have varying slopes or even curves...
Vaulted Ceilings Definition
A vaulted ceiling angles upward to create a feeling of openness in a structure. Vaulted ceilings exist in many famous cathedrals and...
The Advantages of a Vaulted Ceiling
Dating back to the middle ages, vaulted ceiling design mimics that of Roman cathedrals. Integrating this dramatic feel into your home enhances...
What Size Ceiling Fan to Install on a Vaulted Ceiling?
A ceiling fan provides hours of cool circulating air, makes living space more comfortable and lowers air conditioning bills. A vaulted ceiling...
Problems With Vaulted Ceilings
Vaulted ceilings have many benefits. For example, they can create a feeling of more open space, they look elegant and can add...
Vaulted Ceiling Lighting Ideas
Adding a bit of light to your vaulted ceiling can help highlight architectural details and make those dark corners a little less...
Vaulted Ceiling Design Ideas
A vaulted ceiling often gets ignored during the decorating process when it should be a key feature in the room's design. A...
DIY Vaulted Ceiling
A vaulted ceiling can add a dramatic and open feeling to your home. It is possible to vault ceilings in your home...