ARCH-itecture At Its Best
There are no shortages of
arches in Latin American architecture, especially in churches, just the same as in Europe (especially anything that was built during the Renaissance and Baroque eras). These rounded portals are not just for looks – arches are fundamental to a building’s structural integrity. Ancient Romans widely implemented arches – an architectural feat they learned from the Etruscans.
Without getting too technical, arches (along with supporting columns) help to distribute a building’s weight (also known as “thrust” – the outward force or pressure exerted by one part of the structure on another) so that the entire structure doesn’t collapse!
Here are some photos of rounded arches that I snapped while traveling through Central America:
The taller the structure = the thicker the columns + a wider span of the arch.
I went a little arch-crazy and decided to save some inspirational photos of arches used in residential design. An arch can really “shape” a space into something special, but it can also look out of place when it’s the only rounded portal in a space.
Here are some examples of arches that caught my eye:
By the way, I also LOVE pointed arches (woo-hoo for Gothic-style!), but that’s a post for another day.
Here are some TIPS on HOW TO implement rounded arches into your space:
- USE REPETITION – repeating an arch more than once makes more of an impact in a hallway and visually balances a longer space. If adding an arch to a room with more than one entrance, considering repeating the arch on all doorways. Repetition is a great design principal when used properly.
- HIGHLIGHT A SPECIAL AREA – on the other hand, you can use an arch to highlight a special reading nook, a sitting area, or a single entrance into a grand room.
- TO MOULD OR NOT TO MOULD?! – using decorative moulding as trim can give the impression that a space beyond an arch is important, but be sure to choose a style of moulding that compliments the overall design and architectural details of your house. (I.e.: if you’re dealing with a contemporary or modern space, be weary of adding ornate moulding that could look out of place if the moulding is not repeated elsewhere in the space.)
- THE ROLE OF COLOUR - painting the trim around an arch a different colour from the wall will help you further highlight the archway. For a more subtle effect, opt to paint the wall and the arch trim the same colour. For a bold and modern look, try painting the underside of a trim-less arch a different colour – this will look like a floating ribbon of colour.
Do you have an interior with a rounded arch? Are you a fan of rounded arches? What do you think about some of the arches in these photos?
Let’s start an arch-tastic conversation going in the comments below…