Monday, February 21, 2011

BP6: Florence and Amiens

Florence Floor Plan

Amiens Floor Plan
When comparing the Florence cathedral in Italy and the Amiens cathedral in France, a regional distinction is obvious. Both of the cathedrals are very dominating structures, giving a sense of power and authority of the churches.

The Florence Cathedral
Sectional View of Dome
Inside the Florence Cathedral
The Florence cathedral was originally designed in a gothic style and was to be the largest Roman Catholic Church in the world. It was worked on by a number of architects, over a long period of time. The structure has a more embracing feel to it because of the smoother lines and colored marble that alternates between vertical and horizontal bands on the exterior walls. The central area of the church is the massive dome that sits on the opposite side of the main entrance. It was the first octagonal dome to be built without a supporting wood frame; architects looked to the pantheon to figure out the structure and came up with a double dome plan (right). This plan was the solution to the support problem and also made the appearance, both inside and out, seem to be symmetrical. The roof and dome was made of brick, which matched the surrounding roofs of other houses and structures, showing that it was a local and public place but at the same time held the power. The interior of the church is cavernous and gives an empty impression (left); this is thought of as a relation to the way and life of the people and their religion in the Middle Ages and early renaissance.

The Amiens Cathedral

Amiens Labyrinth
Outside Sculptures
The Amiens Cathedral in the tallest complete cathedral in France and also has the greatest interior volume. From the outside the cathedral visually seems to be rigid and a statement of power, possible to its attackers. The cathedral was constantly faced with the potential of being destroyed because of the wars that went on around it. The structure is massive in scale due to the thought that it was also a safe place for citizens to go when war was upon them. The cathedrals exterior is elaborately decorated with sculptures (right). However, the interior of the cathedral is simple in its design; vertical lines stretch up to the ceiling, directing the eyes toward the heavens. The floor is tiled in multiple geometric patterns that lead to a labyrinth pattern in the center of the nave(left). The labyrinth shows possible relations to the life their god (Jesus) lead and then defeated death, or possibly the maze that one must go through while seeking for faith.