Arches, Vaults, and Domes

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Arches, Vaults and Domes (AVD) have been used for millennia worldwide. With the developments in the 20th century of reinforced cement concrete, tensile and steel structures, vaulted structures have been left aside since then. The Auroville Earth Institute attempts to revive these techniques, shapes and skills of builders with these aims:

  • Bring a worldwide awareness about the possibilities of such roofing.
  • Research and develop them so as to integrate in the 21st century the techniques used in past centuries and millenia, such as those developed in ancient Egypt or during the period of gothic architecture in Europe.

This R&D seeks to increase the span of the roof, decrease its thickness, and create new shapes. Arches, Vaults and Domes are usually built with compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB), which are laid in “free spanning” mode, without using a formwork.

Nubian Vaults

From the Sahel to Missouri, Germany to Portugal - Nubian Vaults are in style. The Nubian Vault is an African technique for the construction of timberless vaulted roofs. No formwork is needed. The technique is labor intensive but low cost, and therefore suited to poorer communities. The Nubian Vault is an example of South-North knowledge transfer.




Vaults in Tamera Ecovillage: Vaults.jpg


U. of Kassel

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