The Medieval World, C. 400–1300

Romanesque Europe

What is a ribbed vault?

Unlike the rounded barrel vaults so closely associated with the Romanesque style, ribbed vaults are more structurally effective than thick walls, allowing cathedrals like Durham to reach new heights, and ushering in the Gothic age. Looking much like the human ribs, a ribbed vault is composed of a fanning framework of piped masonry that supports the weight of the ceiling and walls of a building.


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