Project #158386 - Gothic Cathedral Discussion

History Tutors

Subject History
Due By (Pacific Time) 12/07/2016 12:00 am

The NOVA/PBS documentary Building the Great Cathedrals (2015) explores the construction and symbolism of the great cathedrals built during the Gothic period in Europe. Given the building materials and technology of the time, these buildings are extraordinary achievements.  That they stand at all (and they did not always!) is testament to the ability of Medieval architects and engineers to devise effective new building strategies like the pointed arch and flying buttresses. No less extraordinary is the profound symbolism of these buildings, which sought to manifest "heaven on earth" for communities mired in decidedly humble circumstances. As explored in the film, this symbolism was communicated not only through narrative art (for example, stained glass windows) but also through the design and scale of the building itself.


Watch the film Building the Great Cathedrals. Answer the following prompt with an original comment (250 words min.).


The NOVA/PBS film Building the Great Cathedrals describes several ways in which Gothic Cathedrals were designed to symbolize heaven on earth. Identify at least two of these ways, and explain how you think this symbolism (the "meaning" of the building) would have been legible to those who visited these cathedrals.


Do buildings have meaning in the same way that a painting or a sculpture has meaning? How do visitors to a building experience its meaning?


Complete your discussion by bringing in one example of a building from our own time that you think has meaning or symbolizes an idea and compare it to Gothic Cathedrals. If possible, use a building that you have actually visited. 


Include an image of your modern example in your post.




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