Gothic Architecture

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade August 2001

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Timeless Cathedrals Many people find Gothic-styled cathedrals very fascinating, and many Catholics and non-Catholics alike flock to partake in their beauty. The Gothic style, which was developed during the end of the twelfth and through all of the thirteenth centuries, can be broken down into two basic groups: interior and exterior.1 The interior group can be further broken down into three other groups: basic floor layout; vaults; and windows, wall ornaments and unique structures. The exterior group can be broken down into the two basic groups: exterior design and exterior ornaments. Many cathedrals have been built in the gothic style that involves the use of many interesting and intricate details.

The interior, which is the inside of the cathedral, has many details that distinguish it from other styles of architecture. Most cathedrals have an interior design that consists of a short, wide layout.2 The short wide layout is easily seen in the Amiens, Notre Dame and Rheims Cathedrals.

One of the most common architectural points of the interior design is the very high ceilings.3 More very common features of the Gothic style are pillars which link supports to the ceiling and other types of braces. Pillars, often ribbed to match the style of the other aspects of Gothic architecture, are vertical beams designed as a means of support for heavy arcs, and roofs.4 Radiating chapels, which are located at the east end of Gothic cathedrals and make a half-circle shape, are built into many Gothic cathedrals.5 Along with the fascinating points of the interior are vaults, which are arc-shaped structures used as the ceiling of a room or other enclosed space or used as supports of ceilings or roofs. Palm vaults, which get their name from their resemblance to a palm branch, contain many teircerons, which are secondary ribs.6...