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Home : Design Is History. Church Architecture: An Overview. Many of Europe’s medieval cathedrals are museums in their own right, housing fantastic examples of craftsmanship and works of art.

Church Architecture: An Overview

Additionally, the buildings themselves are impressive. Although architectural styles varied from place to place, building to building, there are some basic features that were fairly universal in monumental churches built in the Middle Ages, and the prototype for that type of building was the Roman basilica. Prototype: The Ancient Roman BasilicaIn ancient Rome, the basilica was created as a place for tribunals and other types of business. The building was rectangular in shape, with the long, central portion of the hall made up of the nave.

Here the interior reached its fullest height. The Medieval Church Plan Although medieval churches are usually oriented east to west, they all vary slightly. The entrance foyer is called the narthex, but this is not found in all medieval churches. Transept Salisbury Cathedral Ambulatory, Gloucester Cathedral. Graphics Atlas: Guided Tour. Notes on this view: This is a book illustration by Gerard van der Gucht (ca. 1695-1776) depicting Joan of Arc.

Graphics Atlas: Guided Tour

Notice how the various line densities create depth. This variety in density is created by a common etching technique known as progressive stopping out. The technique begins with a wax-coated plate. An etching needle is used to scratch away portions of the wax (known as a ground).