- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 23 Aug 2021
The term ‘corbel’ refers to an architectural member that projects out from a wall and acts as a type of bracket to carry weight, such as that imposed by a balcony above. Corbels are built into walls to a depth that allows the pressure on the embedded portion to counteract the load on the exposed portion. Traditionally, they are made of stone, timber or metal.
The technique of corbelling has been used since Neolithic times and is common in Medieval, classical, gothic, Chinese and Hindu architecture. Traditionally, corbels were often elaborately carved and decorated.
Consoles are similar, S-shaped structural members in which the upper part is larger than the lower. These are applied to the structure as a separate element as opposed to being built in as part of the continuous masonry course.
The technique is also used for corbel arches, which consist of two opposing sets of overlapping corbels meeting at a peak. In this way they resemble inverted staircases. When these arches are used in a series they are known as a corbel vault. Both corbel arches and vaults were common elements of Babylonian and Mayan architecture, where curved structures were yet to be developed.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
So why not write something?
LETI publishes guidance for energy efficient home retrofits.
Predictions about adequate post-pandemic IAQ in non-domestic buildings.
Government publishes plans to 'build back greener'.
The contentious nature of claims associated with cladding, fire safety and EWS1 forms.
ECA comments on low-carbon heating systems initiative and Heat and Buildings Strategy.
Cinders and other forms of domestic rubbish created filth but also generated great wealth.
CIC 2050 Group requests input to find out priorities for future industry leaders.
IHBC publishes response to consultation.