A wall niche or wall niche describes a recess in a wall and is also known as a "wall recess". If the niche width is very small, it is called a "wall slot". Niches can be semicircular or angular and take up the entire height of the wall or only parts of it. Niches can be integrated into the wall (often with mihrabs ), but they can also be recognizable from both sides of the wall - as indentations and bulges.
Wall niches are either created during the construction phase or broken out of the wall later. In the latter case, the structural engineer must check that the niche does not impair the load-bearing capacity of the wall too much. Load-bearing masonry walls must have a certain minimum thickness.
However, wall niches can also arise more accidentally during later renovations: If, for example, a window or a door in the relatively thick outer wall of an old building is only closed with a thin wall that is flush with the outside, a niche remains on the inside, which is either through a another wall closed, or by installing shelves or similar. can be exploited.
In order to avoid disruptive installation lines (pipes, cables, lines) of the building services in living rooms, wall niches are included in the planning or when renovating old buildings . These wall niches are later closed and can no longer be distinguished from the rest of the wall surface.
Wall niches serve either as a design feature to make a wall surface visually more interesting, as space for furniture or for radiators or for setting up figures or crosses, vases etc. If a niche is covered by an arch at the top, one speaks of a "niche arch".
Wall niches are almost as old as the art of wood, clay and stone architecture itself; they occur in almost all (high) cultures. Of particular importance are in Judaism , the Torah alcove in the synagogues and in the Islam of the mihrab in the mosques .
- Norbert K. Peter: Lexikon Bautechnik , 2nd edition, CF Müller, Heidelberg 2005, ISBN 3-7880-7763-8