A bay is a unit of form in architecture which has several meanings relating to the space between architectural elements, or a recess or compartment. The word bay has historically been used to define, in general terms, the size of a building.
Definitions of bay in architecture and construction
Bay comes from "...Old French baee "opening, hole, gulf..."
- The spaces between posts, columns, or buttresses in the length of a building, the division in the widths being called aisles. This meaning also applies to overhead vaults (between ribs), in a building using a vaulted structural system. For example, the Gothic architecture period's Chartres Cathedral has a nave (main interior space) that is "seven bays long." Similarly in timber framing a bay is the space between posts in the transverse direction of the building and aisles run longitudinally.
- The number of windows in a wall. For example in Georgian style, at Mulberry Fields, the building is described as a "5 bay by 2 bay facade," meaning a "5 windows by 2 windows" exterior.
- A recesses in a wall giving name to a bay window.
- A division of space such as an animal stall, sick bay, or bay platform.
- The space between joists or rafters, a joist bay or rafter bay.
- An embankment or dam to retain water.
- "Bay" Online Etymology Dictionary. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=bay&searchmode=none accessed 3/10/2014
- "Bay", n.3. def. 1-6 and "Bay", n.5 def 2. Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) © Oxford University Press 2009
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