Arched Vaults and Domes – Theory

The AVD Theory course covers the structural design and construction of vaulted earthen masonry. It offers an in-depth understanding of various methods of stability analysis for arches, vaults and domes following the principles of Limit Analysis of Masonry. It is one of the few courses globally which combine structural design of AVD with integrated principles of construction. The course focuses on the use of Compressed Stabilised Earth Block (CSEB) as a building material and vault construction methods developed by AVEI (e.g. the Free-spanning technique). Many students take the AVD Masonry course in tandem with this course.

Eligibility: Recommended only for engineers, architects or students. Otherwise strong skills in mathematics and geometry are required.

Duration: Six day course; Classes from 8:30am to 6:15pm.

What to Bring: Laptop with AutoCAD is highly recommended. Otherwise, participants will be provided with drawing materials.

Course content:
The first four days are spent on an in-depth review of structural basics and various analysis methods for the stability of AVD, with lectures, presentations, case studies and practical exercises:
- Symbolism & historical development
- Terminology & Typology
- Basic structural principles
- Diversity of arches
- Diversity of vaults and domes
- Vaults and domes from earth (Video)
- Evaluation of the stability of domes
- Neutralisation of the thrust
- Various details about AVD (acoustic formulas)
- Catenary method (theory only)
- Funicular method (theory and practice)
- Optimisation method (theory and practice)

The second half of the week is spent performing stability studies of vaults/ dome sections (carried out as personal work, with instructor´s supervision and feedback). At the end of each day, case studies are given on the following topics:
- Gaudi’s work in Barcelona
- AVD in Iran
- Dome of the Dhyanalinga temple
- Vaults of the Earth Institute Training Centre
- Equilateral vault
- Bucket pointed vault
- Equilateral groined vault
- Semicircular vault
- Segmental groined dome
- Gayatri dome

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