- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 07 Mar 2019
|A triple-apsed, polygonal termination of a church in Tredos.|
Apses were first used in pre-Christian Roman architecture, often as a niche to contain the statue of a deity. They were also used in the thermae – the large bath complexes of imperial Rome.
From the fourth century onwards in Christian architecture, the basilica (an important church with rectangular plan) would sometimes be terminated at one end (normally the liturgical east end) with an apse – a semi-circular or polygonal recess. Sometimes the apse would be topped by a hemi-spherical or quarter dome that would often be vaulted on the inside. However, the roof might also have been flat or sloping.
Apses were to become common in Byzantine architecture, as well as in France, Germany and Italy. In a cruciform church or cathedral plan, whether in Western Romanesque or Gothic, apses would later be used to terminate the transepts and nave whether as single or multiple-apsed ends. They could also be used as a chapel or part of the chancel.
Apses underwent a revival during the Victorian period with its Greek-, Roman- and Gothic-revival periods.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
70 buildings from 70 years of Concrete Quarterly. Book review.
Conserving the iron roof at the Albert Dock.
Delivering an infrastructure revolution.
The admissibility of evidence.
How many can you name? 37 anyone?
CIOB respond to the points-based system.
When is the weather considered 'exceptionally adverse'?
ECA backs call for a rolling programme of rail electrification.
What does 'curtilage' mean and why does it matter?
Our duty to prevent harm and protect each other.
A quality perspective.