Lintel

Last updated
Structural lintel Linteau.medieval.png
Structural lintel
Lintel above a door from Paris P1250123 Paris XIV rue Lecuirot n11 rwk.jpg
Lintel above a door from Paris

A lintel or lintol is a structural horizontal block that spans the space or opening between two vertical supports. [1] It can be a decorative architectural element, or a combined ornamented structural item. It is often found over portals, doors, windows and fireplaces. In the case of windows, the bottom span is instead referred to as a sill, but, unlike a lintel, does not serve to bear a load to ensure the integrity of the wall. Modern day lintels are made using prestressed concrete and are also referred to as beams in beam and block slabs or ribs in rib and block slabs. These prestressed concrete lintels and blocks are components that are packed together and propped to form a suspended floor concrete slab.

Contents

Structural uses

In worldwide architecture of different eras and many cultures, a lintel has been an element of post and lintel construction. Many different building materials have been used for lintels. [1]

In classical Western architecture and construction methods, by Merriam-Webster definition, a lintel is a load-bearing member and is placed over an entranceway. [1] Called an architrave, the lintel is a structural element that is usually rested on stone pillars or stacked stone columns, over a portal or entranceway. An example from the Mycenaean Greece cultural period (c. 1600 – 1100 BCE) is the Treasury of Atreus in Mycenae, Greece. It weighs 120 tons, with approximate dimensions 8.3 × 5.2 × 1.2 m, [2] one of the largest in the world.

A lintel may support the chimney above a fireplace, or span the distance of a path or road, forming a stone lintel bridge.

Ornamental carved lintel over Mandapa entrance at Chennakesava Temple, in the Hoysala architecture tradition of southern India Belur2 retouched.jpg
Ornamental carved lintel over Mandapa entrance at Chennakesava Temple, in the Hoysala architecture tradition of southern India

Ornamental uses

The use of the lintel form as a decorative building element over portals, with no structural function, has been employed in the architectural traditions and styles of most cultures over the centuries.

Examples of the ornamental use of lintels are in the hypostyle halls and slab stelas in ancient Egypt and the Indian rock-cut architecture of Buddhist temples in caves. Preceding prehistoric and subsequent Indian Buddhist temples were wooden buildings with structural load-bearing wood lintels across openings. The rock-cut excavated cave temples were more durable, and the non-load-bearing carved stone lintels allowed creative ornamental uses of classical Buddhist elements. Highly skilled artisans were able to simulate the look of wood, imitating the nuances of a wooden structure and the wood grain in excavating cave temples from monolithic rock. [3] In freestanding Indian building examples, the Hoysala architecture tradition between the 11th and 14th centuries produced many elaborately carved non-structural stone lintels in the Southern Deccan Plateau region of southern India. The Hoysala Empire era was an important period in the development of art and architecture in the South Indian Kannadigan culture. It is remembered today primarily for its Hindu temples' mandapa , lintels, and other architectural elements, such as at the Chennakesava Temple.

The Maya civilization in the Americas was known for its sophisticated art and monumental architecture. The Mayan city of Yaxchilan, on the Usumacinta River in present-day southern Mexico, specialized in the stone carving of ornamental lintel elements within structural stone lintels. [4] The earliest carved lintels were created in 723 CE. At the Yaxchilan archaeological site there are fifty-eight lintels with decorative pieces spanning the doorways of major structures. Among the finest Mayan carving to be excavated are three temple door lintels that feature narrative scenes of a queen celebrating the king's anointing by a god. [5]

Radiation protection

Lintels may also be used to reduce scattered radiation in medical applications. For example, Medical linacs operating at high energies will produce activated neutrons which will be scattered outside the treatment bunker maze with a dose rate that depends on the maze cross section. Lintels may be visible or recessed in the roof of the facility, and reduce dose rate in publicly accessible areas by reducing the maze cross section. [6]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 "Glossary of Medieval Art and Architecture - Lintel". University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 2007-06-25.
  2. Dodwell, Edward (1819). A Classical and Topographical Tour Through Greece: During the Years. Rodwelland Martin.
  3. Keay, John (2000). India: A History. New York: Grove Press. pp. 124–127. ISBN   978-0-8021-3797-5.
  4. Mayan Ruins http://www.mayan-ruins.org/yaxchilan/ . Retrieved 24 November 2020.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. Simon Martin; Nikolai Grube (2000). Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens . London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. pp.  117, 125. ISBN   978-0-500-05103-0.
  6. Morgan, Helen (2006). "NCRP Report 151 Structural shielding design and evaluation for megavoltage x-and gamma-ray radiotherapy facilities". Journal of Radiological Protection. 26 (3): 349. doi: 10.1088/0952-4746/26/3/B01 .

Related Research Articles

Column Structural element that transmits weight from above to below

A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is a compression member. The term column applies especially to a large round support with a capital and a base or pedestal, which is made of stone, or appearing to be so. A small wooden or metal support is typically called a post, and supports with a rectangular or other non-round section are usually called piers.

Hoysala architecture The building style developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries, in the region known today as Karnataka, in India

Hoysala architecture is the building style in Hindu temple architecture developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries, in the region known today as Karnataka, a state of India. Hoysala influence was at its peak in the 13th century, when it dominated the Southern Deccan Plateau region. Large and small temples built during this era remain as examples of the Hoysala architectural style, including the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura. Other examples of Hoysala craftsmanship are the temples at Belavadi, Amruthapura, Hosaholalu, Mosale, Arasikere, Basaralu, Kikkeri and Nuggehalli. Study of the Hoysala architectural style has revealed a negligible Indo-Aryan influence while the impact of Southern Indian style is more distinct.

Post and lintel

In architecture, post and lintel is a building system where strong horizontal elements are held up by strong vertical elements with large spaces between them. This is usually used to hold up a roof, creating a largely open space beneath, for whatever use the building is designed. The horizontal elements are called by a variety of names including lintel, header, architrave or beam, and the supporting vertical elements may be called columns, pillars, or posts. The use of wider elements at the top of the post, called capitals, to help spread the load, is common to many traditions.

Pilaster Decorative architectural element giving the appearance of a supporting column

In classical architecture, a pilaster is an architectural element used to give the appearance of a supporting column and to articulate an extent of wall, with only an ornamental function. It consists of a flat surface raised from the main wall surface, usually treated as though it were a column, with a capital at the top, plinth (base) at the bottom, and the various other column elements. In contrast to a pilaster, an engaged column or buttress can support the structure of a wall and roof above.

Corbel

In architecture, a corbel is a structural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall to carry a superincumbent weight, a type of bracket. A corbel is a solid piece of material in the wall, whereas a console is a piece applied to the structure. A piece of timber projecting in the same way was called a "tassel" or a "bragger" in England.

Relief Sculptural technique

Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term relief is from the Latin verb relevo, to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane. What is actually performed when a relief is cut in from a flat surface of stone or wood is a lowering of the field, leaving the unsculpted parts seemingly raised. The technique involves considerable chiselling away of the background, which is a time-consuming exercise. On the other hand, a relief saves forming the rear of a subject, and is less fragile and more securely fixed than a sculpture in the round, especially one of a standing figure where the ankles are a potential weak point, especially in stone. In other materials such as metal, clay, plaster stucco, ceramics or papier-mâché the form can be just added to or raised up from the background, and monumental bronze reliefs are made by casting.

Architrave Lintel beam element in Classical architecture

In classical architecture, an architrave is the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of columns.

Treasury of Atreus

The Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon is a large tholos or beehive tomb on Panagitsa Hill at Mycenae, Greece, constructed during the Bronze Age around 1250 BC. The stone lintel above the doorway weighs 120 tons, with approximate dimensions 8.3 x 5.2 x 1.2m, the largest in the world. The tomb was used for an unknown period. Mentioned by the Roman geographer Pausanias in the 2nd century AD, it was still visible in 1879 when the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the shaft graves under the "agora" in the Acropolis at Mycenae.

Discharging arch

A discharging arch or relieving arch is an arch built over a lintel or architrave to take off the superincumbent weight.

This page is a glossary of architecture.

Yaxchilan Lintel 24 Ancient Maya limestone carving from Yaxchilan in modern Chiapas, Mexico

Lintel 24 is the designation given by modern archaeologists to an ancient Maya limestone carving from Yaxchilan, in modern Chiapas, Mexico. The lintel dates to about 723-6 AD, placing it within the Maya Late Classic period. The text of Maya hieroglyphics indicates that the scene depicted is a bloodletting ritual that took place on 5 Eb 15 Mak, 709 AD. The ruler, Shield Jaguar, holds a torch while his consort, Lady Xoc, pulls a rope studded with what are now believed to be obsidian shards through her tongue in order to conjure a vision serpent.

Corbel arch

A corbel arch is an arch-like construction method that uses the architectural technique of corbeling to span a space or void in a structure, such as an entranceway in a wall or as the span of a bridge. A corbel vault uses this technique to support the superstructure of a building's roof.

Architecture of ancient Sri Lanka

The architecture of ancient Sri Lanka displays a rich diversity, varying in form and architectural style from the Anuradhapura Kingdom through the Kingdom of Kandy (1469–1815). Sinhalese architecture also displays many ancient North Indian influences. Buddhism had a significant influence on Sri Lankan architecture after it was introduced to the island in the 3rd century BC, and ancient Sri Lankan architecture was mainly religious, with more than 25 styles of Buddhist monasteries. Significant buildings include the stupas of Jetavanaramaya and Ruwanvelisaya in the Anuradhapura kingdom and further in the Polonnaruwa Kingdom. The palace of Sigiriya is considered a masterpiece of ancient architecture and ingenuity, and the fortress in Yapahuwa and the Temple of the tooth in Kandy are also notable for their architectural qualities. Ancient Sri Lankan architecture is also significant to sustainability, notably Sigiriya which was designed as an environmentally friendly structure.

Ancient Maya art

Ancient Mayan art is about the material arts of the Mayan civilization, an eastern and south-eastern Mesoamerican culture shared by a great number of kingdoms in present-day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Many regional artistic traditions existed side by side, usually coinciding with the changing boundaries of Maya polities. This civilization took shape in the course of the later Preclassic Period, when the first cities and monumental architecture started to develop and the hieroglyphic script came into being. Its greatest artistic flowering occurred during the seven centuries of the Classic Period.

Indian rock-cut architecture

Indian rock-cut architecture is more various and found in greater abundance in that country than any other form of rock-cut architecture around the world. Rock-cut architecture is the practice of creating a structure by carving it out of solid natural rock. Rock that is not part of the structure is removed until the only rock left makes up the architectural elements of the excavated interior. Indian rock-cut architecture is mostly religious in nature.

Bhaja Caves

Bhaja Caves is a group of 22 rock-cut caves dating back to the 2nd century BC located in the city of Pune, India. The caves are 400 feet above the village of Bhaja, on an important ancient trade route running from the Arabian Sea eastward into the Deccan Plateau. The inscriptions and the cave temple are protected as a Monument of National Importance, by the Archaeological Survey of India per Notification No. 2407-A. It belongs to the Hinayana Buddhism sect in Maharashtra. The caves have a number of stupas, one of their significant features. The most prominent excavation is its chaitya, a good example of the early development of this form from wooden architecture, with a vaulted horseshoe ceiling. Its vihara has a pillared verandah in front and is adorned with unique reliefs. These caves are notable for their indications of the awareness of wooden architecture. The carvings prove that tabla – a percussion instrument – was used in India for at least 2300 years, disproving the centuries-held belief that the tabla was introduced to India by outsiders or from Turko-Arab. The carving shows a woman playing tabla and another woman, performing dance.

Dah Parvatiya

Da Parbatia is a small village very close to west Tezpur, in the Indian State of Assam. In the village there are significant architectural remnants of an ancient temple of the 6th century overlying the ruins of another Shiva temple built of bricks during the Ahom period. Archaeological excavations done here in 1924 have unearthed a sixth-century antiquity in the form of a stone door frame with extensive carvings. The ruins of the temple built during the Ahom period are built over the ancient temple's foundations and are in the form of a stone paved layout plan of the sanctum sanctorum and a mandapa. This complex is under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India and its importance and notability is recorded under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958.

Cultural Development of Kamarupa

Kamarupa was most a powerful and formidable kingdom in Northeast India ruled by three dynasties from their capitals in Pragjyotishpura, Haruppeshwara and Durjaya. From these three capitals, its culture and influence spread over the entire region.

Tomb of Clytemnestra

The Tomb of Clytemnestra was a Mycenaean tholos type tomb built in c. 1250 BC. A number of architectural features such as the semi-column were largely adopted by later classical monuments of the first millennium BC, both in the Greek and Latin world. The Tomb of Clytemnestra with its imposing façade is together with the Treasury of Atreus the most monumental tomb of that type.

Buddhist caves in India

The Buddhist caves in India form an important part of Indian rock-cut architecture, and are among the most prolific examples of rock-cut architecture around the world. There are more than 1,500 known rock cut structures in India, out of which about 1000 were made by Buddhists, 300 by Hindus, and 200 by Jains. Many of these structures contain works of art of global importance, and many later caves from the Mahayana period are adorned with exquisite stone carvings. These ancient and medieval structures represent significant achievements of structural engineering and craftsmanship.