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University of Maryland Gothic Europe Building Architecture Discussion Paper

  1. complete the assignment as detailed below:

During the Gothic period, churches became the center of activity for many towns and cities. New building techniques were created to construct these buildings. The sculpture on the exterior, and interior, continued to play an important part as a religion teaching mechanism as well as decoration of churches (as they had in Romanesque times). The practice of the Christian religion also went through some changes in the Gothic period–the focus shifted from the “fire and brimstone” of the Romanesque to a “kinder and gentler” deity. The Virgin Mary becomes more important to peoples’ devotions and more prominent overall including in representations.

For this assignment is to become a Master Builder or Master Sculptor. First, choose whether you are working in the Early, High, or Late Gothic period. Select what city and country your church is located in (it doesn’t have to be in France) and be sure to include regional details. Then get creative. You should introduce your project then describe it in detail.

Become a Master Builder and design a church building. Walk us through the structure from west to east detailing the architectural plan/footprint of the church, the type of transcept, choir, apse and nave elevation. Describe and explain the overall architecture and the exterior and interior details you have included and why you have done so. Include a minimum of one innovation, consist with your chosen period/city/country, and explain why you included it.


Become a Master Sculptor and design a sculptural program for a new church. Describe in detail your design for 3 portals on the Western façade of a new church. You do not need to design the church, just the sculptural figures that will be on it. For each of the 3 portals describe the timpanum, truneau and jamb figures. Be specific about iconography and style of the figures. You are not limited to these required areas of the portals.


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