The intent of this project is to evaluate how the Christian church changed in the Middle Ages. Talking in the grand scheme of history, the change in the Christian church to what is known as Gothic architecture was heavily influenced by Islamic architecture. Making elaborate churches in its own right, Gothic churches had a great deal to do with leading into the Renaissance as well. In this investigation, the project is going to be focused on the structure of Gothic cathedrals and analyzing the changes that were made into the transition to Gothic architecture, as well as touching upon how it lead into the Italian Renaissance. The two main sources for this investigation are ...view middle of the document...
The cathedrals are also typically very vertical, with the Amiens Cathedral in France, example, extending to over 138 feet.
Reaching deeper into the structure of these cathedrals, there is something that cannot be unnoticed as a Gothic cathedral is entered: windows. The cathedrals have giant walls of glass, with most depicting stories and scenes from Christian literature. Depicting scenes form the Holy Scriptures, these glass works of art have a clear purpose of educating the illiterate masses, and literally bring light to the purpose in which these cathedrals were created. Stepping aside from the art-oriented majesty, these glass walls beg an important question. As phrased by NOVA, “Gothic engineers built thin, super-tall walls, made, not of stone, but mostly of glass. And somehow, these walls of windows support towering ceilings of stone. How did… medieval builders pull off such a dramatic transformation?” The answer lies in the structure of the Gothic cathedrals. Where stones start running diagonally instead of just vertically, gravity creates a stress line. Pointed arches, which are common in Gothic cathedrals, have the advantage in which the stress line is redirected towards the ground, allowing engineers to build higher. Even with this clever design, they still face another problem. The location in which the curved part of the arch meets the vertical columns is pressed outwards. Gravity works against the cathedral, and the arches have the danger of collapsing. A defining architectural attribute of Gothic architecture, the flying buttress, is necessary. While flying buttresses can commonly be mistaken for exterior decoration, the thrust of the vaults is transmitted through these, to the ground. The windows, pointed arch, and flying buttress are all defining parts of the Gothic Christian churches.
Building the Great Cathedrals, directed by Scott Tiffany (2010; Boston, MA: WGBH Education Foundation), DVD.
Building the Great Cathedrals is a NOVA documentary directed by Scott Tiffany, and as such is a secondary source. It doesn’t have a specific origin; while it was created in Boston, Massachusetts, it features a variety of art historians, engineers, scientists, and architects from various places around the world, which each give their own point of view. It was released as a documentary in 2010. Being NOVA, the documentary was created with the purpose to inform the watcher about late Middle Ages cathedrals. While Scott Tiffany himself has little qualifications for architecture, the other guests that appear on the show have a lot of knowledge about the Gothic cathedrals. This source has many values. There are various computer systems used to model the cathedrals, so as a result, the structures and the effectiveness of them can be analyzed. There are also historians, artists, and architects from various areas of the world and professions, so this documentary has multiple points of view. ...