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Abbey: The Latest Architecture and News

Contemporary Follies Open at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Park

The eighteenth-century English water gardens were often designed with playful intent. Picnicking visitors would be surprised as fountains spouted without notice and perplexed as they stumbled upon mysteriously evocative structures like gazebos and banquet halls. At Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Park in Yorkshire, home to one of the world’s best-preserved water gardens, these historic botanic and architectural follies—or, impractical, playful forms—were once abundant. Today, they’re being reinterpreted through equally whimsical contemporary art installations.

The Cloud by Foster Carter. Image © Charlotte Graham© Charlotte Graham© Charlotte Graham© Charlotte Graham+ 23

AD Classics: Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis / Abbot Suger

The origin of Gothic architecture, a style which defined Europe in the later Middle Ages, can be traced to a single abbey church in the northern suburbs of Paris. The Basilique royale de Saint-Denis (Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis), constructed on the site of an abbey and reliquary established in Carolingian (800-888 CE) times, was partially rebuilt under the administration of Abbot Suger in the early 12th Century; these additions—utilizing a variety of structural and stylistic techniques developed in the construction of Romanesque churches in the preceding centuries—would set medieval architecture on a new course that would carry it through the rest of the epoch.

Félix Benoist (Public Domain). ImageEngraving (1861)Rose Window. Image © Wikimedia user Diliff (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)Tomb. Image © Wikimedia user Myrabella (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)West Façade Portal Detail. Image © Wikimedia user Myrabella (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)+ 9