Arcade (architecture)

An arcade (from the Latin arcus, bow ' ) is in the strict sense a supported by pillars or columns arc. The sheet allows for much larger spans than a architrave.

In a broader sense Arcade also refers to a series of arches, a sequence of several arcades. For this, however, the plural arcades is better suited or even the term arcature, which can, however, also refer to the totality of all arcades of a building.

The course, whose side is bounded by a series of arches is, in turn, often referred to simply as arcade; precise the notion portico or arcade.

Colloquially also colonnades are often referred to as arcades.


Arcades are already known from the early days of the architecture in Mesopotamia and Egypt. In the ancient Western architecture colonnades were first used in Greek architecture, so props consequences with straight beams (see architrave ).

The Roman architecture used then, increasingly, arcades, both in prestigious buildings such as city gates as well as in civil engineering works such as aqueducts.

In the early Christian church and in the Romanesque arcades were also in the interior increasingly used in centralized buildings between the main room and dealing in basilicas between nave and aisle. The interiors have been subdivided in this way and remained the same acoustically and optically interconnected.

Combinations of terms

  • Arcades arch: colloquial misnomer for Arcade ( term doubling )
  • Arcade windows: structured by arcades window opening
  • Arkadengesims: cornice above a row of arcades
  • Arcade: courtyard, surrounded by mostly multi-storey arcatures
  • Arcaded wall: wall with blind arcades
  • Blind arcade: ornamental arcade without a wall opening
  • Arcade sound: sound also Luke, arcades opening in the bell tower, often with sound lamellae

Image examples

Alsterarkaden in Hamburg

Münzhof in Munich, an arcaded courtyard

Renaissance arcaded courtyard of Schloss Güstrow

Neumarkt in South Tyrol

Arcades in the cemetery of Čakovec, Croatia

Gostiny Dvor in Saint Petersburg

Shopping centers

In the English -speaking world and, by extension, sometimes in German-speaking countries, the term is used arcade (English arcade ) as a term for malls. Early forerunners of today's shopping malls, such as the Burlington Arcade in London ( 1819) or the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (1867 ), actually still had an embossed by arcades in the true sense architecture. By pars pro toto, the name was arcade on the whole complex of buildings transferred, it came in English here at a shift in meaning. The terms penny arcade (USA) or amusement arcade ( UK ) for large gambling halls are derived from it.

Examples of the name of a shopping center as arcades are the " Münster Arkaden" in Münster or the " Potsdamer Platz Arcades " in Berlin. Few of these commercial buildings have arches in the architectural sense; the name is usually chosen for marketing reasons.