Squinch

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This article is about an architectural feature. For square-inch analysis, see Square-inch analysis.
Squinches supporting a dome in Odzun Basilica, Armenia, early 8th century

A squinch in architecture is a construction filling in the upper angles of a square room so as to form a base to receive an octagonal or spherical dome. Another solution of this structural problem was provided by the pendentive.

Construction[edit]

Squinches may be formed by masonry built out from the angle in corbelled courses, by filling the corner with a vise placed diagonally, or by building an arch or a number of corbelled arches diagonally across the corner.

History in the Middle East[edit]

Squinch in the Palace of Ardashir the Sassanian king

The squinch was probably invented in Iran.[citation needed] It was used in the Middle East in both eastern Romanesque and Islamic architecture. It remained a feature of Islamic architecture, especially in Iran, and was often covered by corbelled stalactite-like structures known as muqarnas.

History in Western Europe[edit]

It spread to the Romanesque architecture of western Europe, one example being the Normans' 12th-century church of San Cataldo, Palermo in Sicily. This has three domes, each supported by four doubled squinches.

Etymology[edit]

The word "squinch" comes from the Persian word "سه+کنج) "سکنج) (sekonj).

In popular culture[edit]

The science fiction novel Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams uses squinches as an example of parts of a structure whose construction is implied and made necessary to facilitate the construction of other parts; areas of a created world or universe which are implied (and thus created) as a by-product of the creation of other areas.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Squinches at Wikimedia Commons