Medieval Architecture • During the Medieval period a great deal of money was spent on building first monastic communities and then churches and cathedrals – The Schematic Plan for the Monastery at St. Gall (below) shows the ideal Early Medieval monastic community. – A council devised the standard plan which was to be used and adapted for each community – The focus is on the church, which is the biggest component of the plan. – The community was designed to meet every need the monks had – it was not designed with the lay (non-religious) congregation in mind – Everything the monks needed was found in the monastic community so that they would not have to leave the safety of monastic walls and venture into the sinful “real” world where temptation awaited around every corner and where they could fall prey to sin. – The plan is an ideal and no community was ever built that matches it exactly, not even St. Gall. • During the Romanesque period the focus shifted away from monastic communities to building churches in cities and towns. – First because the world had not ended with the first thousand years of Christianity. – Second many churches needed to be rebuilt because they had been destroyed by fires and/or invading armies. • The new churches needed to meet the following criteria: – They had to be big enough so the regular congregation and the pilgrims could move around easily – They had to be solid and fireproof – They needed to have good acoustics • The church of St. Sernin (plan below) in Toulouse, France is an example of a Romanesque church – The large size reflects the popularity of pilgrimages in the Romanesque period – St. Sernin was a major stop on the pilgrimage road through southwest France.
Plan of the Abbey of St. Gall , 819, Early Medieval, Red ink on parchment