flying buttress love

flying buttress


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An arched masonry support serving to bear thrust, as from a roof or vault, away from a main structure to an outer pier or buttress.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun architecture a buttress that stands apart from the structure that it supports, and is connected to it by an arch (flyer).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a buttress that stands apart from the main structure and connected to it by an arch


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  • In architecture, a flying buttress, or arc-boutant, is usually on a religious building, used to transmit the thrust of a vault across an intervening space (which might be an aisle, chapel or cloister), to a buttress outside the building. The employment of the flying buttress means that the load bearing walls can contain cut-outs, such as for large windows, that would otherwise seriously weaken the vault walls.

    The purpose of a buttress was to reduce the load on the vault wall. The majority of the load is carried by the upper part of the buttress, so making the buttress as a semi-arch provides almost the same load bearing capability, yet in a much lighter as well as a much cheaper structure. As a result, the buttress flies through the air, rather than resting on the ground and hence is known as a flying buttress.


    February 6, 2008