Essay about La Sainte Chapelle in Paris

Sainte Chapelle, built in April of 1248, in Paris, France was an architectural innovation within the Gothic style of architecture. Within the gothic style there are distinct attributes that define it, these being; a light and airy interior space, flying buttresses, pointed arches, vaulted ceilings, and a grand tall design (fig 2)¬¬¬¬. Evolving from the Romanesque style the Gothic pushes towards the sky in a more freeing and uplifting space. Romanesque is known for features such as; large towers, forms in decoration, sturdy piers, thick walls, and overall massive qualities (Fig 1). This feeling of airiness is achieved through many innovations that lead to a more open design within Gothic cathedrals (Fig 2). Sacred space within the cathedrals had a lot of angles, planes, and a strong contrast between light and shadows. The sanctuary of Sainte Chapelle is a sacred place because it demonstrates requirements for the design of sacred space through its manipulation of light, spatial arrangement, and structure.Within designing a sacred space the quality, manipulation, and effect the light within the chapel is very important in creating a spiritual atmosphere. Light has a real significance other that the amount of light let it but, as a spiritual power, capable of exercising influence and inspiring architectural form (Fig 3) (Jantzen, Pg. 67). As Shiner describes, when designing sacred space you much consider the concept of profane space and sacred space in light of the analysis of human spatiality (Shiner, Pg. 425). The essence of Gothic architecture most importantly has to do with revealing the properties of light for not only its decorative properties but, also its symbolic properties (Aldrich, Pg. 24). Due to the vaulting w…

…ay with the morning coming through the apse and throughout the day slowly moving to the back rose (fig 8). Providing this light to the altar gives a more heavenly feel and connects your close to god. Since the sermons are in the morning the most divine light coming from the apse directly onto the altar makes it the ideal location.Sainte Chapelle exemplifies the structure of gothic architecture and really shows what all of the structural innovations can do to create an open atmosphere within the chapel. Within a sacred space its structure needs to have a very light feeling in order to convey the sense of spirit as stated by Shiner; “It uses the products of the machine to triumph over the merely mechanical and functional, to reinstate the spirit of the waters, of the earth and woods, and to shelter and give free space for the spirit of the man.” (Shiner, Pg. 431).

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