- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 14 Jan 2019
In classical architecture, the term ‘arcade’ refers to a series of arches supported by columns or other vertical elements such as piers. This can be used to form a passageway between arches and a solid wall, or a covered walkway providing access to commercial buildings or markets. Arcades are structurally very strong, and so can carry large loads and stretch for large distances.
Arcades were first developed by the Romans, who took inspiration from ancient aqueduct designs. They used arcades to construct large wall structures; the most famous example being the Colosseum in Rome which has 80 arcaded openings on its first three storeys.
Roman arcades came to be distinguished by the use of pilasters that were attached to piers carrying an entablature. The form developed to become arches resting on the capitals of a row of columns. This style was also adopted during the Gothic period as a decorative element used to divide a church’s nave wall into three horizontal parts.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Barrel vault.
- Blind arcade.
- Classical orders in architecture.
- Difference between pillars and columns.
- Elements of classical columns.
- Flying buttress.
- Roman Colosseum.
Featured articles and news
Exploring local assets of community significance. Book review.
Wood-burning stoves should not be used in thatch-roofed buildings.
Servitisation, smart systems and connectivity.
What happens to the Construction Products Regulation if there is no Brexit deal.
The first step to long-term prosperity.
The status and rights of employees in construction
Continuing to share environmental best practice
The employee assistance programme EAP
HMRC's Construction Industry Scheme
What 'net-zero emissions' means for civil engineers
The meaning of Rw and Dw/DnTw