The barrel vault—also called a tunnel vault or wagon vault—is an arched, half cylindrical vault dating back to ancient Egypt, though it was the Persians and Romans that popularized the architectural from. Seen in an array of structures from monasteries to castles, cellars to cloisters, the technique was likely developed in response to building with materials like stone and brick when timber was scarce. Now, the style is adored for expanding space and allowing light to filter in. Here are 12 examples of beautifully executed barrel-vaulted ceilings that impart a sense of loftiness.
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