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Journal Article

Structural Experimentation: The Lintel Arch, Corbel and Tie in Western Roman Architecture

Janet DeLaine
World Archaeology
Vol. 21, No. 3, Architectural Innovation (Feb., 1990), pp. 407-424
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/124838
Page Count: 18
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Structural Experimentation: The Lintel Arch, Corbel and Tie in Western Roman Architecture
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Abstract

The paper investigates the origins and development of the lintel arch, corbel and metal tie in Roman architecture, concentrating on the structural principles involved and the structural and constructional advantages of each, as a means of investigating the processes of Roman architectural innovation outside the normal parameters of the 'concrete revolution'. All three devices are seen to derive ultimately from the tradition of Roman ashlar construction, but were subsequently developed by exploiting the specific properties of both stone and metal within an otherwise concrete architecture. While the corbel was used as a support for concrete vaulted balconies creating a new aesthetic motif, the lintel arch and tie-bar were structural devices developed to perpetuate a traditional trabeated aesthetic in a situation where the local materials were structurally inadequate, or the combination of columnar order and concrete vault threatened the stability of the structure.

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