Going Half Circle: A Brief Review of Arched Top Doors

Arched Top DoorRectangle seems to be the unspoken standard of door shapes, and for good reason. They are easy to build and operate—practical across all four of its corners. But, there are homeowners who wish to distance themselves from the typical door definition; they want a fixture that is unique, stylish, and still practical. Fortunately, builders from centuries ago have already done the experimenting, saving people the trouble of attempting to narrow all alternative options to the arched top door.


Whether installed standalone or as a 2-panel entrance, along interior or exterior pathways, arched top doors offer a more inviting alternative to the plain rectangle door. Their graceful curve makes for an unconventional yet familiar household fixture. They are also adaptable to various architectural styles, much like their four-cornered counterparts, so finding an arched top door to match your home will be no problem.

Rise and Fall

Arched top doors supposedly originated from ancient Rome, where most of the architecture sported barrel vaults, or pathways with semi-cylindrical arched surfaces. The same architectural style exists in countless structure in Europe, where dome shapes were prevalent in anything from the smallest chapels to the largest coliseums. Unfortunately, barrel vaults come with their own structural shortcomings, specifically the weakness of the arch shape itself, prompting future architectural movements to drop the trend altogether.


There have been, however, advances in building that made arched pathways viable once more. In the case of doors, specifically, methods such as adding lunettes have allowed architects to emulate the classical appeal of barrel vaults without having to construct a hallway per se.

Strong and stylish are adjectives no longer hard to come by in terms of door manufacturing, even for its oldest shapes and forms. In a way, arched top doors are the culmination of centuries’ worth of engineering advancements, reviving an architectural style formerly deemed unviable, yet perpetually enviable.