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word of the week: BARREL VAULT

2010 April 11
by Caroline Nye Stevens

photo by Jeremy Atherton

BARREL VAULT: A vault is an arched structure forming a ceiling over an enclosed space. A barrel vault is the simplest form of a vault consisting of a continuous surface of semicircular sections.

Compare the deeply coffered ceiling of the Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica (far left), to the intricate mosaic that decorates the ceiling of Marshall Fields (below) — both barrel vaults.

CNS 2010

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