Words of Wisdom:

"The truth doesn't tarnish from being repeated." - Boo


  • Date Submitted: 03/12/2015 04:34 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.5 
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To many tourists and historian alike, the most representative monument of the Gothic Style is the Cathedral of Chartres (Figure 1). It is the only French cathedral to have survived in nearly complete form from the early thirteenth-century, with sculpture decorating every portal, with a full array of stained glass giving the interior a deep, vibrant color (Branner 69).*
The particular aesthetic and inherent efficiency of the construction of Gothic architecture demonstrates the focussed attention of the builders to the transfer of thrusting forces. Thus, part of the grandeur of Gothic cathedrals is in the consolidation of tremendously high ceilings with a relatively unobtrusive structure. It is clear that the builders were interested in maximizing glass to wall ratio.   The achievement of thinner walls is made possible by taking structural members outside of the interior in the form of exterior wall buttresses and flying buttresses. Aside from taking the work of load transfers outside of the building’s interior, a series of flying buttresses on either side of the aisles transforms the exterior elevations (Figure 2).* This helps differentiate Gothic style from the Romanesque style. Moreover, Chartres Cathedral is known as the defining monument of Gothic architecture, the start of Flying buttresses. In addition to flying buttresses, rows of ribbed vaulting, particularly quadripartite vaulting, transfers loads through arches around the wall surfaces (Figure 3).* Sheer amount of glass is greater thanks to this technological innovation of the flying buttress which they didn’t have back in the 12th century. This allows for penetrations of light through clerestories, especially at great heights, which almost makes the roof seem unsupported. Furthermore, the cathedrals all sought to bring forth a new, transcendent metaphor for Christ (Ingersoll and Kostof, 345).* Thus, the pinnacles usually found in great numbers on Gothic cathedrals, which crown the towering buttresses,...


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