Jack Arch Roofing

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Example of Jack arch roof


A jack arch is classically defined as a structural element in masonry construction that provides support at openings in the masonry. Alternate names are ‘flat arch’ and ‘straight arch’. Unlike regular arches, jack arches are not semicircular in form. Instead, they are flat in profile and are used under the same circumstances as lintels. This name has also been used to describe another roofing system that involves a series of smaller sized, yet elongated vaults that are supported on intermediate beams. This is termed as a jack arch slab roof type, and the series of vaults are usually filled on the upper surface with cement concrete to provide a plane surface above, that can serve as a floor to another level, a terrace or the protective covering for the building. This particular approach can be very cost effective and applicable to a wide range of requirements. Again to create this kind of roof innovations such as the use of hollow blocks and precast beams can be utilized.


This type of roof maybe built with materials such as brick, steel, concrete and clay-gypsum mortar. The roofing technique which can be seen in auroville is that of ' Jack Arch roof with Terra-cotta hollow blocks and Precast reinforced concrete beams'

Details and experiences

Roofing with terra cotta hollow blocks and pre-cast reinforced concrete beams

Jack arch roof construction where trapezoidal reinforced concrete beams are used at intervals between which hollow terra cotta blocks form small elongated multiple vaults. Above them concrete fill is laid providing a level surface upon which the flooring finish can be, if there is another level in the structure. Otherwise the top of the building can be waterproofed and any relevant terrace surface material such as china mosaic tiling used for the finished roof.

Jackarchroof2.jpg Example of jack arch roof Example of jack arch roof

Where in Auroville??

Tibetan Pavilion, Bharat Niwas, swayam housing project


Back to: Roofing Technology in Auroville