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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Aqueducts

Even though the Romans or the Etruscans did not invent the rounded arch, they used it the most both as a structural element and for design purposes.  Possibly the greatest culmination of the arch is in aqueducts. Aqueducts were huge water transporting structures supported by a series of arcades (arches placed side by side) that could span over 30 miles, as the Pont du Gard does in Nîmes, France.  The engineering that goes into creating such a massive structure is all about weight distribution with each arch buttressing the arches around it.  Although the aqueduct suggests Rome’s power to control the environment to provide for its people, it also suggests an extreme balance and harmony in its engineering.  Frontinus wrote a notable manual on aqueducts.


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