The original structure took over 100 years to complete between 1160 and 1260. It has suffered damage and repair several times over the centuries. One feature that has always fascinated me were the flying buttresses, which were installed to keep the walls from spreading under the weight of the roof. They are one of the more distinctive architectural features of the building but were a quick fix during the construction.
Detail of the buttresses.
No, they were not a "quick fix".
The flying buttress was an absolutely standard feature of gothic construction, permitting very tall stone structures with a lot of windows in them to be supported with a minimum of stonework and a minimum degree of blocking of light to the interior. The French church architects were the leading exponents of the technique. I quote Wiki:
"The advantage of such lateral-support systems is that the outer walls do not have to be massive and heavy in order to resist the lateral-force thrusts of the vault. Instead, the wall surface could be reduced (allowing for larger windows, glazed with stained glass), because the vertical mass is concentrated onto external buttresses. The design of early flying buttresses tended to be heavier than required for the static loads to be borne, e.g. the Chartres Cathedral (ca. 1210), and around the apse of the Saint Remi Basilica, which is an extant, early example in its original form (ca. 1170). Later architects progressively refined the design of the flying buttress, and narrowed the flyers, some of which were constructed with one thickness of voussoir (wedge brick) with a capping stone atop, e.g. the Amiens Cathedral, the Le Mans Cathedral, and the Beauvais Cathedral.
Edited by exchemist, 17 April 2019 - 03:29 AM.