HomeThe Gothic structures: in pursuit of balance

The Gothic structures: in pursuit of balance

Les structures gothiques : à la poursuite de l’équilibre

Leur stabilité et leurs confortations à l’époque médiévale

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Published on Friday, October 23, 2015 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

Raised from 1242 to replace the Romanesque choir, the choir of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai (Belgium) is resolutely an exemple of Gothic architecture the most advanced in the French royal domain. Besides a number of reasons, the verticality and slenderness of the construction, the fasciculated pillars, the buttressing thrown outward shows this well. Without participating in the rivalry of the first half of the 13th century to build the tallest cathedral, it plays nevertheless on the extremely lightweight of the construction, which was trying to reach on other contemporary sites. Beauvais is the most famous case, but it is not unique. In Tournai, as elsewhere, important stabilizing work was needed on these monuments that had « exceeded the limit ».

Announcement

Argument

Raised from 1242 to replace the Romanesque choir, the choir of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai (Belgium) is resolutely an exemple of Gothic architecture the most advanced in the French royal domain. Besides a number of reasons, the verticality and slenderness of the construction, the fasciculated pillars, the buttressing thrown outward shows this well. Without participating in the rivalry of the first half of the 13th century to build the tallest cathedral, it plays nevertheless on the extremely lightweight of the construction, which was trying to reach on other contemporary sites. Beauvais is the most famous case, but it is not unique. In Tournai, as elsewhere, important stabilizing work was needed on these monuments that had « exceeded the limit ».

In our case, the pillars were reinforced, the vaults deposited and reconstructed, while the buttressing had to be redesigned ; the structural geometry was heavily modified, but the internal spatiality was essentially preserved.

As part of the preparation of the restoration of the choir, the latter is the subject of several previous studies focused on stability and should lead ultimately to the diagnosis and proposals necessary for the restoration project. Understanding the original geometry of the monument and its sometimes brutal evolution are critical in this process and are the subject of much attention. The important work carried out in the late Middle Ages and the 19th century are being investigated, enjoying a complete record by 3D scan executed by the Service Public de Wallonie.

Beyond the « micro-archeological » analysis, interpreting its results and those of the stability analysis requires a solid historical and archeological contextualization.

The Heritage Department of Service Public de Wallonie (SPW / DGO4) therefore proposes to organize in begining of 2017 a conference on the problems of stability of the great Gothic buildings from the mid-13th century and especially on important work that they needed in the late Middle Age on some of them. We will thus trying to assess the diagnoses that were posed at the time, and the solutions that were chosen, and thus to approach the technical thought of the time.

Cases considered, including: Beauvais Cathedral, the collegiate church of Saint-Quentin, the abbey Saint-Germain of Auxerre.

Submission guidelines

Proposals for papers, title and summary (maximum 15 to 30 lines) are to be returned with a brief Curriculum Vitae (maximum 2 pages, with complete contact information for the author), and in Word format as an attachment

before 15th November 2015

to the email address : yves.felix.desmet@spw.wallonie.be. The lectures, a maximum of 20 to 25 minutes, may be submitted in French, Dutch or English.

The proposals of papers will be reviewed by the scientific committee in the month following. The proposals that have not been accepted by the committee, however, may be presented by their authors in the form of posters on the premises of the conference.

The costs of transport, accommodation and housing for the outsiders to Tournai will be borne by the organizers.

Scientific committee

  • Laurent Deléhouzée (Service public de Wallonie DGO4)
  • Vincent Brunelle (Architecte en chef de Monuments historiques)
  • Arnaud Timbert (Université de Lille 3)
  • Françoise Duperroy (Service public de Wallonie DGO4)

Places

  • Auditoire du Séminaire - 28 Rue des Jésuites
    Tournai, Belgium (7500)

Date(s)

  • Sunday, November 15, 2015

Keywords

  • architecture, gothique, stabilité, restauration, conservation, technique, chantier

Contact(s)

  • Yves Desmet
    courriel : yves [dot] felix [dot] desmet [at] spw [dot] wallonie [dot] be

Information source

  • DGO4 Département du Patrimoine Service Public de Wallonie
    courriel : yves [dot] felix [dot] desmet [at] spw [dot] wallonie [dot] be

To cite this announcement

« The Gothic structures: in pursuit of balance », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, October 23, 2015, http://calenda.org/341966