An aisle is, in general, a space for walking with rows of seats on either side or with rows of seats on one side and a wall on the other. Aisles can be seen in certain types of buildings such as churches, synagogues, meeting halls, parliaments and legislatures, courtrooms, theatres, and in certain types of passenger vehicles.
Aisles can also be seen in shops, warehouses, and factories, where rather than seats they have shelving to either side. In warehouses and factories aisles may consist of storage pallettes and in factories aisles may separate work areas. In health clubs, exercise equipment normally is arranged in aisles.
Aisles have certain general physical characteristics.
| In architecture, an aisle is more specifically the wing of a house, or a lateral division of a large building. The earliest examples of aisles can be found in the Basilica Ulpia (basilica of Trajan), which had double aisles on either side of its central area. The church of St. Peter's in Rome has the same number.
Cathedral architectureIn cathedral architecture, an aisle (also known as an isle, yle, or alley) is more specifically a passageway to either side of the nave that is separated from the nave by colonnades or arcades, a row of pillars or columns. Occasionally aisles stop at the transepts, but often aisles can be continued around the apse. Aisles are thus categorized as nave-aisles, transept-aisles or choir-aisles. A semi-circular choir with aisles continued around it, providing access to a series of chapels, is a chevet.
In Gothic architecture, the roofs of the aisles are lower than that of the nave, allowing light to enter through clerestory windows. In Romanesque architecture, however, the roofs are at roughly equal heights, with those of the aisle being only slightly lower than that of the nave. In Germany, churches where the roofs of the aisles and nave are the same height, such as St. Stephen's, Vienna, the Wiesenkirche at Soest, St. Martin's, Landshut, and the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in Munich are known as Hallenkirchen.
Chichester Cathedral, Milan Cathedral, and Amiens Cathedral all have five aisles, and Antwerp Cathedral and Paris Cathedral have seven. Cordoba Cathedral has nineteen aisles. In the United Kingdom, cathedrals only have one aisle on each side, with Chichester Cathedral and Elgin Cathedral being the only two exceptions.
In Japan, the aisle in a Western-style or Christian wedding ceremony, as followed by the bridal procession, is called the "virgin road".
In supermarkets there are two types of aisles, food aisles and checkout aisles.
Food aisles are where goods are displayed. At the end of food aisles may be found crown end displays, where high-margin goods are displayed for impulse purchase.
In retail stores that do not primarily sell food, aisles containing products would be referred to either generically as merchandise aisles, or by the particular products contained in the aisle, e.g., "the gardening aisle", "the sports equipment aisle".
Checkout aisles contain cash registers at which customers make their purchases. Regardless of the type of merchandise the establishment sells, it is common to display a range of "impulse buy" items along the checkout aisle, such as cold beverages, magazines, and candy.
SignageFor customer convenience, supermarkets and retail stores commonly number the aisles and have signs indicating both the aisle number and the types of products displayed in that aisle.
Churches, courtrooms, legislatures, and meeting halls may identify individual rows, seats or sections but do not normally assign aisle numbers or display signs regarding aisles.
Libraries are commonly divided into several areas:
The spaces between rows of book shelves in the "stacks" area are called aisles and desks in the reading area are frequently arranged in rows with aisles.
|Films, stage plays and musical concerts ordinarily are presented in a darkened facility so the audience can see the presentation better. To improve safety, often the edges of the aisles in such facilities are marked with a row of small lights. The markers frequently are strings of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) because LEDs are durable, have low power consumption and use low voltages that are not subject to electrical codes. To provide a higher level of light focused downward, lighting fixtures referred to as luminaries are often built into the side of the seat facing the aisle.|
The Americans with Disabilities Act sets certain standards for building access and other design considerations in all new construction and major renovations in the U.S. An architectural barrier is any feature that makes access or use of a building difficult, unreasonably dangerous or impossible. This can include aisles that are too narrow for easy access by a wheelchair. Often, the only way to get from a row of chairs, shelves, workstations, etc., to an exit is by an aisle. Over the years, many deaths and serious injuries have occurred due to fire, inhalation of smoke or noxious fumes, etc., because blocked or partially blocked aisles prevented persons from promptly leaving a dangerous area.
Regulations applicable to public carriers transporting passengers often require aisles to be completely clear in vehicles, such as airlines, buses and trains. Many insurance companies have requirements regarding minimum aisle width, unrestricted aisles and easy access to exits, and will refuse to insure companies that do not meet their requirements or will increase the premiums on companies that frequently violate the requirements.