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English Medieval Architecture:
A Model for Design Process Analysis

About the Project

North West Aerial Southwell This project will explore the extent to which later medieval ecclesiastical architecture in England is determined by the fact that it is typically an addition to a pre-existing physical structure and how it is a response to cultural issues such as program, patronage and external stylistic influences. Multi-dimensional dynamic digital models will be developed for this investigation, which will be available on the web for those with an interest in the specific case studies as well as scholars concerned with developing new methodologies for research in architectural history.

Project Status

The project is currently in its first year of development and focused on its initial case study: Southwell Minster. Southwell Minster is typical of many English medieval churches in combining building fabric from a variety of periods. At Southwell, the Norman east end was replaced by Archbishop Walter de Grey of York (1216-55), an ambitious architectural patron who may have sought to increase the prestige of Southwell though the construction of a larger and more up to date east end.

The database is under construction. With the model, I anticipate comparing the proportions governing the design of each part of the building and giving clear visible articulation of the proportional system of each part. Comparison of the system for the nave and that of the choir, for example, will show if there is any relationship between the two or continuity from the earlier to later design. Wall thickness, form and measurements of details, the elevation and other specific features of the building will also be compared as part of analyzing what impact, if any, the Romanesque fabric had on the later medieval choir.