An arch is a curved structure that has been used in architecture for thousands of years. Although not often used in everyday construction, it has the charm that some rooms need. In its function, it serves to transport and evenly distribute loads. Many arches are used in contemporary architecture, which can be classified by shape, material and number of cores. What are the different types of arches?

Types of architecture based on form

Flat bow

A flat bow has an underlying curve that most people don’t notice. This type of arch acts as the base of a triangle formed by a horizontal angle. Although the inner surface is flat, it shows a slight slope, which at the opening is about 10 to 15 mm per metre width.

A flat bow is usually used to carry light loads, such as. B. above a window. However, it can carry more weight thanks to the colonnade of columns and the arcade of columns. In addition, this type of arch often has a cornice or ridge to hide the flat part of the arch.

Segmental arch

The segmental bow is one of the strongest types of bows because it can withstand the pulling force. This type of arch is often used for buildings where the center of the arch is just below the spring line. In addition, this type of arch should have a cant of at least one-eighth of the span to prevent breakage.

Externally, it is a semicircle with two supporting columns. Despite its simple design, it offers an elegant look. In addition, this type of arch is often made of stone or wood, but today it can also be made of drywall or gypsum board. In addition, an antifix is placed next to the train to hide the ugly connection. Finally, it can also be decorated with fangs and claws to make it even more beautiful.

Horseshoe arch

The horseshoe arch is widely used in Islamic architecture. Compared to a semi-circular arch, this type of arch has more curves. To be precise, the curvature extends outward from the tips of the spring to form a horseshoe shape or profile.

Modern bow

The Art Nouveau arch is a kind of flat arch. In addition to the extension, the corners are also curved. Compared to the segmental arch, this type of arch is more suitable for rooms with low ceilings.

The art nouveau arch is popular in modern architecture. The reason is that it is flexible and easy to build. It can even be built without columns. It can also be an excellent divider because it doesn’t take up much space.

Generally, you will see this type of arch in townhouses that do not have a modern or minimalist design.

Tudor Arch

The Tudor arch is a typical four-point arch with some characteristics similar to those of the Art Nouveau arch. The difference is that the Tudor arch is wide and flat. It is also wider than it is tall, giving it a slightly flattened appearance. Generally, this type of arch works best in rooms with large, low ceilings.

Gothic arch

The Gothic arch has two circles that meet at the top and form an equilateral or isosceles triangle. Note that the point where the arcs meet is in the middle, making the arc appear larger.

Gothic arches were very popular in the Middle Ages. As such, it is often found in European cathedrals. In addition, this type of arch does well in large rooms with high ceilings.

Roman arch

The Roman arc resembles a semicircle, the slope is horizontal and the thrust vertical. Moreover, the center lies exactly on the line of the spring.

The Roman arch is one of the most important features of Roman architecture. It is also commonly found in bridges and aqueducts. This type of arch can also be used in commercial buildings and various types of suburban homes.

Backing sheet

In general, a raised arch is built on a wooden lintel or flat arch to evenly distribute the weight of the wall. With this construction, you can easily replace a rotten wooden lintel without compromising the stability of the entire structure.

Venetian Arch

The Venetian arch has a pointed shape, but the crown is deeper than the other types of arches. It also has four centers on the spring line. This gives the group a broader peak.

Florentine arch

The Florentine arch has three centers that are on a line of springs. Furthermore, this bow is a hybrid because the inner bow is semi-circular while the rest of the bow resembles a Venetian bow.

Corrected sheet

The fixed arc is generally used for short-range structures, for example. B. for reinforced concrete bridges and tunnels. In addition, this type of arc is considered statically indeterminate because it is subject to additional internal stresses. Static indeterminate means that the static equilibrium is not sufficient to determine the internal reactions and forces of this structure.

Rotary arc

The articulated arch has two variants: double or triple articulation. This type of arch is commonly used to build bridges or connect long spans. Since the base is hinged with pins, the double-hinged arch can rotate and is therefore freely movable.

The three-pointed arch is articulated at the base and in the central part. The additional connection allows this type of hinge arch to move in opposite directions. As such, it is generally used for medium span structures such as large buildings and roofs.

Oblique arc

The sewn bow has a semi-circular curve with two perpendicular points on the spring. The center lies on the horizontal line and passes through the top of the vertical points. In this type of arch, the spring line is well distributed at the top, with a vertical ornament or casting in between.

Parabolic curve

As the name suggests, a parabolic arc has the shape of a parabola. It also has a lot of traction at the base, but there is also a lot of space between the two ends of the bow. Because of this property, this type of arch is often used in cathedrals, bridges and other architectural and building structures.

Birthday sheet

The periodic arc is similar to the parabolic arc, but the base is slightly flatter. It also rises faster than a parabolic curve.

This type of arc makes use of the compressive force generated by the curvature. So he can arch up in a standing position and is pulled into shape in a hanging position.

Snail’s bow

The Ogee arc is S-shaped and has two curved arcs in opposite directions, so that the ends are parallel. This type of arch is a popular design in 13th century English architecture.


The arch is one of the common features of early English Gothic. This is a type of pointed arch where the curves have a radius greater than the width of the arch. So it is a narrow bow with a pointed top.

Elliptical curve

An elliptical arc has an elliptical curve. Sometimes the curve is not a true ellipse, but a combination of arcs with three or five centers. Therefore, the shape looks more like a half ellipse than an ellipse.

Arc of clubs

The trefoil bow has a trefoil. To be precise, it has three overlapping rings. This type of arch is widely used in Christian architecture.

Plate typesbased onmaterial

Stone arch

There are two main categories of stone arches, namely

Axle arches

Regular, conical or wedge-shaped stones are used for ashlar stones. These stones are connected by a cement mortar. Ash trees are often used to build flat arches.

Rubble arches

As the name suggests, stone arches are made of stone chippings. Compared to stone arches, this type of arch is weak. They can also be used to build loose arches about 15 inches deep. If the depth is greater than 15 inches, contractors build drop arches with two rings. Finally, this type of stone arch is used for spans up to 3.25 feet.

Brick arch

There are several types of brick arches, including the following:

Axial brick arch

The axial brick arch is made of bricks formed into wedges with a brick axis. As such, he is roughly dressed in shape and size. When the bricks are laid against each other, cavities and spaces are created which are filled with lime paste. Finally, it is frustrating to build a brick axial arc.

Rough brick arch

The rough masonry arch is made of ashlar bricks. Therefore, this type of brick arch is not attractive and is used only indoors, so that the bricks are not visible to visitors.

Although the rough brick arch is ugly, it works well. In addition, the outer part is thick and the inner is thinner.

Special brick arch

The bricks are produced in a special brick vault. They also have the same shape and size as the voussoirs. In addition, this type of arch requires quality work.

Ribbed brick arch

The stepped brick arch is made of flexible bricks cut with a wire saw to the same shape and size as the voussoir. Generally, bricks are assembled with lime paste and all bricks are nicely cut. Moreover, the decoration of the bricks requires a lot of time, which shows a real know-how.

Concrete arch

There are several types of concrete arches, including the following:

Monolithic concrete stone arch

The monolithic concrete block arch is made of monolithic concrete and can be smooth or reinforced, depending on the size and span of the load. In addition, the concrete is usually poured with the formwork and curing usually takes two to four weeks.

Precast concrete block arch

The blocks used for the construction of the precast concrete arch are cast in moulds. They also have the exact shape and size of the voussoirs. In addition, special moulds are used for the production of buttons and warp threads. In general, this type of arch looks beautiful due to the precise shape and size of the blocks. In some cases, the blocks are mixed with color pigments to imitate the appearance of brown stone.

Steel arch

Steel arches are considered the strongest and most durable type of arch. They are also flexible in terms of shape and size. This type of arch is often seen on large bridges and is usually supported by cables that distribute the weight evenly.

Leaf types by number of centres

Single central arch

An arc with one center has a center on the spring line. The best examples of this type of arch are round, flat and segmental arches.

Double central arch

If there are two centers on the line of the spring, the arc is called a two-center arc. Gothic arches and pointed arches are examples of this type of arch.

Triple middle blade

As the name implies, the three-center arc has three centers on the spring line. In general, arches with ovals, ellipses or other complex shapes fall into this category. The Florentine arch and the semi-elliptical arch are examples.

Quadruple central arch

Four-sided arches are a basic element of English architecture. They have four centers in the spring line. As such, they are likely to have wide, low depression curves. In addition, most four-pointed arches have a pointed top or apex. The best examples of this type of arch are the Tudor and Venetian arches.

Five central arches

Bows with a detailed design, such as the semi-elliptical bow, can have up to five centers on the spring line.

frequently asked questions

What types of arches correspond to their shapes?


What are bows and what types of bows are there?

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What is an arc with four centers called?

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