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Can Keystone Architecture Be Part of Modern Homes?

Keystone Architecture is an architectural element important for constructing an arch or a vault. A keystone is a wedge-shaped stone at the arch’s apex or vault that locks all the other stones in their places. Keystone architecture is well-defined by the types of arches built for various purposes. The structure or the arches long preserved have the best keystone designs at their center. Keystone architecture was invented by the Romans and played structural and aesthetic roles for them. Roman architecture was identified due to its strong and efficient keystone architecture. Keystone architecture was used to build doorways, huge openings, decorative ceilings, dams, and bridges. However, in modern homes, keystone architecture can be seen in the windows, main doors, the gates inside the homes, and partition walls, creating false screens for décor. Keystone architecture can be used as a traditional element in modern architecture.

Keystone Architecture
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Why use keystone?

Element of Support

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An arch is a self-supported structure. It is built of stone or brick masonry most of the time. The construction of the arch takes place by planning two low wall sections of equal height as legs. A structure of semi-circular wood is planned according to the curve of the arch, and the pieces of stone in their places are the keystones. The balance of the arch is maintained by placing the keystone in the center. As it becomes the element that supports the arch structure after the wooden structure is removed, it becomes the main element for an arch.

Element of Decoration

Keystone Architecture
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During ancient Roman times, keystone architecture could be seen in every other place and structure, as their architectural language consisted of arches. Arches can never be formed without using keystones. Hence, the keystone became the element of vision in every building, making it necessary to look prominent. Hence, adding carvings or murals to the keystones became the point of the décor for a keystone.

Element of great strength

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During ancient Roman times, when aqueducts were built, they were the huge structures that brought water to the city. They are made of a series of arches that run along for 30 miles; this structure hence requires an enormous amount of strength that is given by the use of keystones.

Keystone Architecture
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Keystone architecture was formed during the Roman Empire, near the 4th century, when they invented the arches in their constructions. Arches became the elements of structural supports as well as the décor elements in churches, cathedrals, and bridges. Also, with the help of keystones, the Romans were able to build freestanding arches that added to their architecture. Keystone architecture, hence, came into practice with the practice of building arches in a building. Due to this, the use of keystones became prominent as a structural and decorative element. When the Romans built the aqueducts, the arches they formed had their strength from the use of keystones.

Keystone Architecture in Modern Homes

Projects By: Design Salt Studio

Looking at today’s designs, one can use the keystone architecture in many ways, but at a smaller scale and proportions. As time has evolved, construction techniques have also evolved according to the needs of users. Keystone architecture in the buildings of today is used for its purpose as an aesthetic element that adds to the overall look of the structure. The characteristics of a keystone are used in various ways. Various materials in which the keystone can be used are stones, brick, and concrete, which are modern-day cost-effective and time-efficient materials. Using keystone architecture in modern homes would always give them a traditional and intrinsic feel. A home that has a theme that relates to ancient architecture can adopt keystone architecture in its designs.

Using keystone as an element of expression

Keystone Architecture
Projects By: Design Salt Studio

Keystone, being an architectural element that was used for support of the arches in greater buildings, has now turned into a small element of expression on the facades of the houses. This element acts as a support in the arches that are built above the windows but also gives a hint of décor with its appearance.

Using Keystone as Lintels of the houses

Projects By: Studio Bipolar

When one wants to give their houses or elevations the look of Gothic architecture or build mansions with massive feels, keystones can be used above the windows or large openings. This would make the houses look elegant and huge. Using keystones in the lintels of the windows can also act as structural support.

Using Keystone as Internal Gateways

Keystone Architecture
Projects By: Studio Bipolar

One can design the partitions in the house as arches where keystones can be used. This will give a very different and unique aesthetic look to the inside of the house. The arches can be designed according to the rest of the furniture in the house. For example, if one has used wood in the overall theme of the house, the arches can be wooden with wooden keystones.

Using keystone as an element of décor on main entrances

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In modern homes, keystones can be part of the main entrances. They can either be a simple, plane element used to form the lintel or they can be very decorative, symbolising the beliefs of the residents. Keystones vary in size with the proportion of the houses and the aspirations of the users. Designers can use various materials depicting the keystone over the main entrances to define the nature of the entrance.

Using keystone in the roofs creating passageway

Keystone Architecture
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A keystone is not just used in the arches but also in the roofs of the structures. Generally, the keystone is called the stone that holds the structure together. A small passageway of arches where the keystone is visible can be made inside a building. This can be another way to create the interior of the building that showcases the importance of keystones aesthetically.

Looking at the various use of keystone architecture in the modern homes or buildings we can see how time evolves the uses and construction techniques of architectural elements. Keystone architecture used a lot of time and money in ancient times. Using keystones in construction can cost more than the normal construction cost as it requires precision and proper amount of formwork. Constructing lintels with keystones costs higher than the normal lintels while taking more time than usual.

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Looking at the various uses of keystone architecture in modern homes or buildings, we can see how time evolves the uses and construction techniques of architectural elements. Keystone architecture used a lot of time and money in ancient times. Using keystones in construction can cost more than the normal construction cost as it requires precision and a proper amount of formwork. Constructing lintels with keystones costs more than normal lintels and takes more time than usual.

Content Writing And Research By: Ar. Rajeshwari Pandya Modi

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