Key Characteristics of Gothic Architecture

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What architectural changes were necessary in the shift from Romanesque to Gothic cathedrals in Europe and what inspirational changes influenced these changes?

A. Plan of Investigation
This investigation’s purpose is to analyze the changes in the architectural technique of the Romanesque style of architecture and come to a conclusion as to whether the shift in technique led to the rise of the more grandiose Gothic architecture in Europe. All art is inspired and the influences that caused the change in technique will also be investigated. In order to come to a conclusion I read books on the two styles I compared, studied some examples of each form of architecture through photographs, and listened to a few podcasts on the topic. Many of the
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Flying buttresses such as the ones featured in the Chartres cathedral provided additional support outside of the building. The walls of Gothic cathedrals were relatively thin and the buildings themselves were hollow. With the much more slender skeleton, architects were able to add larger windows to the buildings. The insides of Gothic cathedrals were very well-lit due to the abundance of large stained glass windows. Gothic cathedrals were known for the light that was let in as it made them “look like heaven.” (
“People during both the Romanesque and Gothic period were obsessed with heights. Buildings were desired to reach the limit of their heights.” (Tripathi) Both had the goal of reaching the heavens and being grander than the previous wooden-roof churches. The answer medieval architects came to was to build a stronger support system made of arches. What differentiated the two was how the architects implemented the arches.

C. Evaluation of Sources
One of the sources used is the book A Concise History of Western Architecture by R. Furneaux Jordan. The book was published in the US in 1970 with the purpose of providing a reference and putting together information about the different types of architecture in the West. A limitation of this source is that it is not an up-to-date source having been published over 40 years ago. The value, however, comes from the fact that it had the ability to
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