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The Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies

- the research arm of the Department of Architecture

Studying at Cambridge


Masonry Vaulting

Principal Investigator: Michael Ramage

    Masonry Vaulting 1    Masonry Vaulting 2

This project focuses on traditional design and construction adapted to contemporary architecture.

Masonry vaults have a long design history, with examples to be found as far back the first kingdoms in Ancient Greece, Egypt and Persia. The structures we are interested do not require any formwork. Due to their shape they are structurally self-supporting during construction and they work in pure compression when completed.

We work primariliy with two types of vaults, namely tile-vaults (also known as timbrel vaults, Guastavino vaults, bóvedas tabicadas) and Ladrillo Recargado (also known as bóveda de Bajío). We design contemporary buildings using these techniques, including Mapungubwe National Park Interpretation Centre in South Africa and the Earth Pavilion in London.