Building arched roof without concrete or steel

First of all, credit goes to Owen Geiger for finding this and putting it on his blog.
Timbrel vaults, aka Catalan vaults, seem like magic to me, method and history here. But they work really well in massive European cathedrals (and have lasted for 100s of years) as well as amazing
The World Famous Oyster BarImage by Skunkworks Photographic via Flickr
American urban buildings, like the NYC Gustavinos, built by Rafael Guastavino Moreno. Somehow thin tiles are layered into a vault and form gorgeous roofs that don't fall down. Great explanation and documentation here.

From Low-tech magazine,
Cohesive construction also proved to be very durable. During the restoration of Ellis Island in the 1980s, only 17 of almost 29,000 tiles had to be replaced. And of course, several churches are living proof of the achievements of timbrel vaulting in the Middle Ages.
English: Ellis island Immigration Museum hall,...Image via WikipediaHere is a link to a well-documented build in Ethiopia where the affordable materials at hand are dirt and rocks. Building the SUDU
It's also being done in South Africa.
Can this be used here? It's been done recently in England for a home.

Here is a short video showing the building of a demo roof and the effort to bring it to failure. Found here, warning, turn down the volume.
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rob grom said…
That is incredible! I think the roofing in ottawa comes pretty close to those pictures..

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