The Nubian Arch/Vault

A similar promise symbolized by the Nubian Arch/vault, an inverted catenary curve, occurred in ancient Africa 6,000 years ago.

Structural reciprocity in Egyptian society was the moral code governing social interactions and exchange. In the long run, it developed trust, affection, and cooperation, which created social capital, allowing individuals, families, and groups access to more extensive social networks.

The Nubian arch/vault, predicated on the structural reciprocity of its mud bricks, produced spaces and forms expressing its social determinate.

These spaces and forms acted as guided imagery and gestalt, symbolizing the spatial representation of the community's wealth of ethical behavior and commercial success to others.


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It found its most extensive acceptance as an expression of social capital - access to networks - among potters and kiln makers, and through their solidarity, the in-group knowledge spread worldwide, shaping ceramics, sculpture, housing, storage facilities, and burial chambers.

While the promise of the compass and straight edge has reached its abstractive end, the promise of structural reciprocity has yet to be fulfilled entirely. Hampered by a lack of strength of materials and construction techniques, the Nubian arch/vault has remained relatively obscure. But those hindrances are no longer an issue.

It's time for structural reciprocity in space and form to find again their place in the urban landscape to advocate for a social narration that redefines constructs like family, freedom, play, sexual equality, and democracy.