Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Romanesque Architecture

Romanesque meaning “romanlike” can be seen in the barrel and groin vaults based on the round arch resembling Roman architecture. This distinguished them from earlier medieval timber-roofed structures and Gothic churches with vaults resting on pointed arches. Although Romanesque architecture varied, most architectures has stone vaults. Almost all Romanesque buildings manifest a new, widely shared methods of architectural thinking, a new logic of design and construction. While being constructed with ashlar masonry combining two traditions. French Romanesque architecture uses large blocks of stone to construct the walls of their buildings and used timber for the roofs. They also used brick and brick like blocks of stone to cover the nave and aisles with vaults. In the Ottonian era, the wooden roofed churches were three story high. Motifs that were exclusive to the Romanesque architecture were vegetal ornaments, lions and other quadrupeds. Wooden roofs were replaced with masonry vaults in 1060 to keep the fire hazard down. Cylindrical piers support barrel vaults in the nave’s axis. Separated by the transverse arches, the nave’s are in bays. In Vignory , the aisles are almost as tall as the nave and are covered by groin vaults that help buttress the barrel vaults. The vaults were placed geometrically precise to support the weight of the towering roof above. Most of the Romanesque buildings were very dark due to lack of light from the barrel vault construction. Thanks to the Vikings, the Normans quickly developed a distinctive Romanesque architectural style that became the major source of French Gothic architecture.

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