Catenary Vault

The construction of this vault aimed various things:
•    Use the window frame as a formwork at the beginning of the work, so as to save a shuttering. This was the opportunity to find a way to build on a formwork which was narrower than the block thickness, which means on an inadequate support.
•    Find ways to build a bull eye and a lunette without any formworks.
•    Create openings at the apex of the vault, so as to get sky lights.

Catenary vault under construction

Catenary vault for the training centre of the Earth Institute

This vault has been built in 1999 with the free spanning technique (with vertical courses) and it welcomes the kitchen of the trainees at the Earth Institute. It has been built in about 3 weeks with 4 masons and presents these features:
•    6 m span, 3 m rise, 4.5 m long, 14 to 7 cm thick
•    Bull eye of 70 cm diameter, catenary lunette     of 104 cm span and 211 cm rise
•    Sky light done in 2 different ways
•    Stabilised earth waterproofing

Starting the vault on the window frame as a centring
Starting with steps

Steps to give a lateral inertia to the arches of the vault
Sticking a block near the apex

Removing the window frame, when the vault is wide enough on top
Vault under progress

Starting the bull eye

Laying keys of the bull eye to link it with the vault
Blocks corbelling for the bull eye

Blocks corbelling further for the bull eye
Laying the keystone with 3 blocks stuck together
Building the bull eye by stepped courses
Closing the bull eye
Completed bull eye in 3 days
Keys of the bull eye
Plotting on a board the catenary for the lunette
Starting the lunette with blocks corbelling
Laying a block of the vault on the key of the lunette
Building the lunette with corbelling courses
Horizontal key of the lunette

Key of the lunette with an angle

Keys of the lunette, to be loaded by the vault
Laying the keystone

Building the lunette with radial courses and by step
Building the lunette by step

Lunette completed in 3 days

Lunette from inside with keys to link it to the vault
Raw construction of the catenary vault completed
Kitchen of the training centre

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