The Design of Early Gothic Cathedrals

The paper discusses the key magic of numbersand the practical design of Early Gothic cathedrals.

The great cathedrals which are the high points of any cultural tour of Europe are almost all the product of a single century. In the space of about 100 years, beginning about the middle of the 12th century, medieval artisans succeeded in developing the Gothic style from the Romanesque style, and began building some of the noblest testimonials to the human spirit ever created. This effusion was most clearly marked in France, probably because it was the first part of Europe to achieve a national identity and a stable government.

The first Gothic cathedral is generally considered to be that at St. Denis, begun by the Abb? Suger in 1137. Within the next half-century, other notable French cathedrals were begun: St. Etienns at Sens in 1140, Noyon in 1150, Laon in 1160, Notre Dame de Paris in 1163, Bourges in 1199, Rouen in 1202, Rheims in …