Flying Buttresses

Flying Buttresses with Roses

View of roses in the garden and flying buttresses at the back of Notre Dame.

This week, we’re going to look at architecture from a traveller’s perspective. A tour of world architecture, if you will.

Something I didn’t know before going to see the Notre Dame was that there’s a beautiful garden out back. So not only do you have the most interesting element – those amazing buttresses – but you also have hundreds of roses. But we did flowers last week.

Wikipedia has this to say about flying buttresses:

A flying buttress is a specific form of buttressing most strongly associated with Gothic church architecture. The purpose of any buttress is to resist the lateral forces pushing a wall outwards (which may arise from stone vaulted ceilings or from wind-loading on roofs) by redirecting them to the ground. The characteristic of a flying buttress is that the buttress is not in contact with the wall all the way to the ground; so that the lateral forces are transmitted across an intervening space. Flying buttress systems have two key components – a massive vertical masonry block (the buttress) on the outside of the building and a segmental or quadrant arch bridging the gap between that buttress and the wall (the ‘flyer’).

Now, amazingly, nowhere on the page is there mention of Notre Dame. There is a delicate, yet very sturdy, look to flying buttresses that takes hold of me. I could just sit and stare at them for long minutes (who really sits and stares at anything for hours?). They remind me of banyan trees, spiderwebs and yoga poses.

Yesterday: Dream Carnation
Tomorrow: Hungarian Parliament

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