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Gothic Style Architecture

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Flying Buttresses and High Walls
Exterior flying buttress supports Sainte-Chapelle in Riom, France, a masterwork of Gothic design

Modeled after Louis IX's palace chapel in Paris, the Sainte-Chapelle in Riom, France is a masterwork of Gothic design.

Photo © Delius / iStockPhoto

In order to prevent the outward collapse of the arches, Gothic architects began using a revolutionary flying buttress system. Freestanding brick or stone supports were attached to the exterior walls by an arch or a half-arch.

In this view of the Sainte-Chapelle in Riom, France (1248), you can see the broad masonry buttresses extending from the stone pillars to the main wall of the cathedral. The Sainte-Chapelle in Riom is modeled after Louis IX's palace chapel in Paris.

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