The Four-story elevation in First Gothic architecture

Patricia Elizabeth Anne Cairnie
One of the principal elements in First Gothic architecture of northern France was the appearance of the four-story elevation as a means of achieving spacial expansion in height. The parti was characterized by a uniform scheme - main arcade, tribune, triforium and clerestory collected in a single elevation - but was treated in various ways with respect to its structural, spacial and decorative aspects. In the chevets of Noyon, Saint-Germer and Laon the four-story elevation was employed in rapid
more » ... employed in rapid succession, in closely connected centers, based on common concerns; still, each stands as a singularly experimental manifestation of the First Gothic desire for lofty volumes. While the four-story elevation has been discussed in general architectural histories of the period and in monographic studies of the individual monuments, it has never been examined in an independent context and as a central feature of First Gothic architecture. The role of the four-story elevation in the realization and expression of First Gothic principles remains to be clarified. The objective of this paper is to investigate the underlying principles in the early stages of the parti, by way of an examination of the chevets of Noyon, Saint-Germer and Laon. The sources for the general scheme of the four-story elevation in First Gothic are found in monuments of the Romanesque period. In the second stage of First Gothic the Romanesque thin-wall and thick-wall techniques were adopted and revised in accordance with the newly felt concern for vertical expansion. Hence, the widespread utilization of the scheme. However, the bases of the individualized treatments of the four-story elevations in the chevets of Noyon, Saint-Germer and Laon were not ruled by shared aesthetic considerations. In each structure the disposition of the stories and the organization of the bays, the penetration of the wall in depth and the articulation of the wall on its surface was determined by long, local traditions and contemporary, extra-local influences. In the final anal [...]
doi:10.14288/1.0100262 fatcat:zhrulbgpdvfrzno5ipvlvsoini