Gothic Architecture Characteristics

Published: 2017-12-28
Gothic Architecture Characteristics
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Religion Arts Architecture
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 381 words
4 min read

An Architectural System that Enables Light to Penetrate into the Gothic Cathedral Building

The Cathedral buildings are some of the buildings that have been designed using the finest architectural designs. To allow for more light into the building, the walls are designed in such a way 10% of the walls is glass (Courtenay, 26). In order to enable penetration light the builders adopted the architectural design of using the Gothic Arches, the rose window and the nave elevation with the pointed glass windows. Glass was essential in the designs because of the way it refracts and reflects light.

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The rose window was used by masons who designed the Reims Cathedral (1211-1275). The Rose window is one of the earliest architecture to be used in France. It comprised of round and pointed Gothic Arches. The Gothic Arches on the other hand, is a Gothic architectural design that was used to allow the opening up of the walls for better entry of light into the church buildings. This architecture is featured in cathedrals such as York Minster, Sainte Chapelle, and Glouccester. The pointed arch was the key to the Gothic architecture which builders used because it could hold more weight. Some of the famous arches used in the Gothic architecture were the lancet arches which were thin and tall. Sometimes these lancet arches were found paired and at times they were in triplets. The Arches was then mounted with glass and lead (Courtenay, 56).

These Gothic arches were among the first to be created, but as Europe became prosperous, the decorations flourished, and this created room for new designs that allowed more light into the Cathedral buildings. The walls became thinner due to the use of the arches, and this meant that more glass could be used to light the building. In addition, the nave elevation was also used to enable light to penetrate the cathedral buildings. These were noticeable in the Durham Cathedral and St. Stephen of Vienna. The nave is flanked by aisles and they hold the clerestory windows which help in lighting the central space of the building.

Work Cited

Courtenay, Lynn T. The Engineering of Medieval Cathedrals. Aldershot, Hampshire, Great Britain: Ashgate, 1997. Print.

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