If you've ever seen a picture of Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument near Salisbury, England, you'll recognize the structural system known as post and lintel. It consists of two upright blocks -- the posts -- with another block -- the lintel -- spanning the gap between them. This was the earliest type of structure used to span open space. The trouble was, the widest distance you could span with a post and lintel was limited to the size of the biggest stone lintel you could get your hands on -- not to mention lift into place. Hence, even the grandest ancient buildings under roof -- Egypt's vast temple at Karnak, for instance -- were little more than forests of stone columns with narrow passages left over in between. The invention that finally overcame this problem was the arch. ...
Get Inman via Facebook Messenger
Our top headlines delivered once a day.