“Remembered landscapes are left in me/the way a bee leaves its sting…” ~ Charles Wright, Appalachia
If I were seeing this photo for the first time, I would guess that it was taken in Mexico. The boveda ceiling is a huge hint. Boveda is the Spanish word for arch. The Spanish language, however, often has many definitions for one word. Boveda is also used for the “dome of the sky” or the “inside of a bowl” style ceiling above the altar of old churches or the vault that encloses a casket in the cemetery. Here it is used in relation to the rows of brick laid in an arch that form the ceilings of many houses, churches, and public buildings in Mexico.
The success of the boveda ceiling depends on basic rules of physics. The ancient Romans developed the theory (in building the aqueducts) that an arch (one that is correctly built, that is) becomes stronger under pressure. Not every mason has the expertise to build boveda ceilings. In Mexico it’s considered art. This is one of the many arched ceilings at the lovely Hotel Lunata on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen.
Click HERE for more examples and information about the art of boveda.