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Cathedrals: The Latest Architecture and News

Gothic Construction Techniques Inspire ETH Zurich's Lightweight Concrete Floor Slabs

With the intention of maximizing available space and avoiding steep construction costs, researchers from ETH Zurich’s Department of Architecture have devised a concrete floor slab that with a thickness of a mere 2cm, remains load bearing and simultaneously sustainable. Inspired by the construction of Catalan vaults, this new floor system swaps reinforced steel bars for narrow vertical ribs, thus significantly reducing the weight of construction and ensuring stability to counter uneven distributions on its surface.

As opposed to traditional concrete floors that are evidently flat, these slabs are designed to arch to support major loads, reminiscent of the vaulted ceilings found in Gothic cathedrals. Without the need for steel reinforcing and with less concrete, the production of CO2 is minimized and the resulting 2cm floors are 70% lighter than their typical concrete counterparts.

via Block Research Group via Block Research Group via Block Research Group via Block Research Group + 5

Italian Cistercian Architecture Through The Lens of Federico Scarchilli

In his latest photographic collection, Federico Scarchilli captures Cistercian order in the form of Abbazia di Fossanova, Casamari, and Valvisciolo. Simple and utilitarian, Cistercian architecture reflects the transition between the Romanesque and Gothic periods. During this time, many religious authorities felt excessive ornamentation was a distraction to spiritual studies.

Abbazia di Valvisciolo Abbazia di Casamari Abbazia di Valvisciolo Abbazia di Casamari + 14

How a Novel Saved Notre-Dame and Changed Perceptions of Gothic Architecture

This article was originally published by Common Edge as "It’s a Book. It’s a Building. It’s a Behavioral Intervention!"

A few years ago, while visiting, or rather exploring, Notre-Dame, the author of this book found, in an obscure corner of one of the towers, this word carved upon the wall:

'ANÁΓKH

These Greek characters, black with age, and cut deep into the stone with the peculiarities of form and arrangement common to Gothic calligraphy that marked them the work of some hand in the Middle Ages, and above all the sad and mournful meaning which they expressed, forcibly impressed the author.

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

Gaudí's Sagrada Família To Reach Another Milestone

The Basilica of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona have laid out their planned milestones for the forthcoming year, visualising it in a short film that begins to piece together Antoni Gaudí's incredible vision. The Sacristy and Raking Cornice will be constructed between this year and next, while new stained glass windows will be installed flooding the interior spaces with evermore coloured light.

How Did Filippo Brunelleschi Construct the World's Largest Masonry Dome?

More than 500 years after it was built, Filippo Brunelleschi's dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy, remains the largest masonry dome ever built. Leaving no plans or sketches behind, some of the secrets of its construction that Brunelleschi pioneered are still an enigma today. This short animation, presented by National Geographic and created by Fernando Baptista and Matthew Twombly, gives an idea of how the dome of the Duomo might have been built. Demonstrating the complexity of the task, made harder due to poor construction prior to Brunelleschi's commission, this film serves as a reminder of just how long it can take to create something timeless.