Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gothic Light

The emphasis of light in late medieval architecture transcribes into the Gothic style. Beginning in France this style was about creating a new house of God, one that could reach the heavens and internally glow. Cathedrals became mighty structures that reached higher and higher into the sky. With this new height came new building methods as well. Flying Buttresses were used as external support for the rising walls; they also served as unique decoration. The internal groin vaults in the ceiling gave extra depth to the inner corridors but also helped distribute the ceilings weight. Other technique that’s serviced function and beauty was the new use of ‘punch outs’. As the cathedral walls grew higher engineers started to take the inside of stacking arches out, and inserting glass. The glass inserts became the main attraction for Gothic lightness. They allowed more sunlight inside which before was insignificant. Builders also had the new knowledge of stained glass which added color. Overall the great height and open airy quality of Gothic cathedrals really turned them into a renovated house of God, as both the physical height and flooding of light are symbolic with European religion.

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