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date: 22 October 2019

Centering [ formwork]locked

  • Lynn T. Courtenay



The support for the total dead load of an arch, vault or dome during construction. In its most primitive form, centering for vaults involved the use of tamped earth, but generally timber was the primary medium in historic buildings before the use of steel, comprising—structurally and economically—an essential component of masonry, brick or concrete structures. Thus, the precision of execution, rigidity and ease of removal of this temporary structure played a key role in overall stability. This framing, which also determined the profile of the soffit of the arch, remained in place until the arch or vault was completed by the closing of the keystone at its apex and could stand on its own. While in use, however, the wooden centering had to resist deformation as loads were applied. In large-scale construction, such as in Roman imperial architecture, powerfully built frames composed of large-sectioned timbers were necessary, proportional to the scale and particularly the span of the masonry....

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