Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reading Comprehension 3-Gothic Cathedrals

Amiens/Salisbury
The construction of the Salisbury Cathedral took place well before the city around it was formed.  I feel this left the design of the building to be more open, since it did not need to be compared and relate to other buildings around it.  It would have also been much easier to construct having the open land and access around the building during construction.  There is also much more open space with the Salisbury Cathedral.

The construction of the Amiens Cathedral took place while the City around it was already crowded.  This building likely involved the demolition of other buildings that stood at the location to make room for it.  The building is much more constrained, and congested.  There is no open space around the building, and it is likely the building design was somewhat limited to the looks of the buildings around it.  Therefore the construction took place with a lot of verticality to bring in the Gothic style and utilize the vertical space since the horizontal was limited.  The verticality brings us back to the relationship between man and God, this architectural style diminishes man in God’s eyes, and enhances God’s power over man.

Amiens/Cologne
With the Amiens Cathedral and the two tower entry, it is of similar design and construction to other cathedrals in France.  The site, size, and shape of this cathedral very closely resemble the design of the Cologne Cathedral.  Having been to both cathedrals, there are definitely strong similarities between them.  There are Gothic details that seem to be standard between the two.  Except for the fact that the Cologne architectural details are more Roman inspired.  What I mean by this, is there are more curves and round details among the decorations.  Being these two regions are very close to each other, it is inevitable to notice that they all have been inspired by the same master plan of the great church government power.

The Cologne Cathedral design was based very closely to the design of the Amiens Cathedral.  The width to height proportion of the central nave is almost identical.  The flying buttresses of the Cologne are also very similar to typical French design and the Amiens. 

France being a Roman Catholic country, it is definitely inspired by Roman architecture, and very rooted in the Catholic religion.  Having grown up in a Catholic country I have seen two tower churches all my life, and it is no surprise to see that every major cathedral in France is a two tower cathedral, and I would not have it any other way.

Amiens/Florence (Duomo)
In both of these cases, the construction of the two cathedrals is very similar.  Although they were built in different time periods, the design was difficult to build.  Many of the aspects of these two buildings were new for their time, and had not been constructed prior.  In one case we hear of the building collapsing on several occasions, due to design changes, however on the Florence many large scale models were built to try to avoid that.  By introducing changes during construction in these times must have been very difficult.  We see, even today, issues with design changes affecting the construction process.  Many times these changes are not thought through, and they end up being knee jerk reactions that cause the construction process to stop, or in this case completely fail.  There are many lessons to learn from this situation.  The importance of forward thinking and the use of scale models to have the designer virtually work through the potential changes before implementing them on the full scale works out bugs and problems before a catastrophic failure.  Another major lesson to learn from this is to communicate the changes with all parties involved; to be sure all the bases are covered.  I can only speculate on what happened in this incident, but I would bet there was a lack of communication and follow through on the design changes, and they were not fully thought through before finding out they did not work, when the building collapsed.


West vs. East page Digest…

It is very interesting the advances that were made with the structure of this building.  It is apparent that this was a turning point in history as it relates to structural design.  The advances made on the structure of this building helped shape the structural design of future buildings for years to come.  It is also very interesting how this buildings structure helped shape the advance of stained glass in the western world. 
It is a fact that this was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years.  This building changed the history of Architecture forever.  The design of this building opened up many options from an architectural standpoint.  Up until this point, walls and columns were huge, due to the load that was being applied, but with this new structural invention, the walls could be much smaller.  With this came the introduction of glass into buildings that was not feasible until this.  This design also eliminated many columns and allowed rooms to be much more open, and larger. 




2.)  A Medieval Home Companion – The Middle Ages is between late imperial Rome and the rebirth of classicism during the Renaissance.  Invasions, social instability and political unrest made a society of fear and constant moving.  There was religious conflict galore, and there were also artistic changes during this turbulent time that turned people to religion.  Ecclesiastic Architecture developed, Gothic style brought lightness and verticality, and the dematerialization of everything that was known to man as far as construction was concerned.  In the noble interiors there were textiles for warmth and color with pattern to show status.  Furnishings were portable due to the fact that small kingdoms hold the power until Church held the power and brought stability to a troubled society.  In these manors there was no privacy; it was one whole communal space with little comfort and little visual variety. 
As we come to this manor at the end of the rolling green hills, we walk through the heavy wood door into a dark, cold and smoky space.  We are immediately greeted by Mary who is preparing dinner along with her sisters.  As our eyes glance around the room, the only room!, we see exposed beams in the ceiling stained by the heavy smoke of the fire pit in the middle of the room.  As people begin to crowd the room, sleeping, eating, living, family envisions are all in one great hall.  As we look to the left we see a tall narrow window with gothic arches adorning it, and almost cozy window seat.  There is wainscot paneling around the hall, and as we look toward the end we see a big tapestry hanging tall with many colors, reds, browns, and yellows depicting a picture of a Lording lady.  Lord Edward and his family sit comfortably in a tall back chair in front of it, as if they were viewing a play that was unfolding right before their eyes.  And as we exit the house we see a smile brightening Lord Edward’s face as the musicians begin to play and the lady’s begin to dance.