Empirical Design of Masonry Vaulting

  • Michele Melaragno


Architecture is architecture, regardless of its date of execution. Masonry vaults and domes from all periods can coexist in the vocabulary of an ageless architecture that will always have meaning. Masonry vaults and domes in fact opened the way to the understanding of the validity of using curvilinear forms in space, which solved the problem of building long-span roofing structures in heavy, durable materials, in place of perishable wooden structures, which could not survive indefinitely.


Critical Load Thin Shell Live Load Circular Arch Allowable Load 
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  1. 1.
    See Giovanni Poleni, Memorie Istoriche della Gran Cupola del Tempio Vaticano, 1748.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Mario Salvadori and Matthys Levy, Structural Design in Architecture (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1981), 393. Note differences there in symbols.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See Michele Melaragno, Wind in Architectural and Environmental Design, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1982, 48, Fig. 2–9.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Ibid., 194, Table 3–2 (27).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Van Nostrand Reinhold 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele Melaragno
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of North CarolinaCharlotteUSA

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