A blind arch is an arch that has been built within a wall and infilled, as opposed to traditional arches that are left open for use as passageways, windows, and so on. They can be built with solid infill as an intentional design aesthetic, or built as an open arch and infilled later. A blind arch can be used internally and externally, but is most commonly built into the external façade as a form of decoration, or in combination with functional archways which permit access or serve as windows.
Gothic and Romanesque Revival architecture commonly feature blind arches, most typically constructed from masonry or stone. They can also be found, in simulated form, in more modern light frame construction.
The term 'blind arcade' refers to a series of blind arches in a row.
The infill material is often the same as is used for the surrounding wall element. The thickness of the filled section can be the same or differ from that of the wall. A thinner infill can be used to provide the façade with depth and profile. A thicker infill may be found where the arch has been filled for security reasons, or to preserve a structure that is crumbling or otherwise defective.
Some blind arch designs include a rounded top positioned above a standard door or window-sized opening. Other designs, such as in Middle Eastern architecture, may be more ornate and elaborate, with pointed or peaked tops. In Islamic designs, a decorative element known as tracery often covers a blind arch. Tracery is formed by bands of material arranged over a blind arch to create intricate patterned designs.
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