Friday, May 27, 2011

Feelin' Very Petit

Oh what a day! So it is day number 2 of our class, and boy was it eye opening!!! We first went to Bibliotheque Nationale Rue Richelieu, which was a miss communication, but I loved the staircase, so that made up it! I am a sucker for stair cases, especially spiral ones. From there walked through the streetsof Paris, which commenced much conversation about Medieval streets in Paris. I found it very interesting that the construction of these buildings consisted of stone masonry on the foundation to first floor, and then heavy timber construction throughout the rest of the building. This caused the buildings to bow out and or lean back away from the street. It almost reminded me of trees; the buildings were all different sizes and heights, based on when they were built and in what era, and towered over the street. Especially since the streets are so narrow, the buildings really are like a forest that needs to be navigated. You can't see around them or over them and it gave me a feeling of being minuscule in comparison. Most of the buildings we have seen here have given me that feeling, especially in the Gothic style, Notre Dame, which was our next stop. The only objects in that cathedral that are to human scale are the chairs facing the altar. The windows, arch ways, columns, ceiling heights, statues, artwork, and doorways areall of monumental size. Scale is important to architecture. We often refer to it when describing a space, and in the case of Notre Dame it can only be described as 'godly'. The verticality of the space made me feel minuscule, which is similar to the way the church views God. He is above, and we as sinners are below, small in comparison. I had very strong emotions in the cathedral, I felt lost and small, even though there was a crowd of people, I felt somber and even sad, it was like the building's interior set my mood. Over all, the day generated many emotions and feelings, the idea of my size in comparison to the buildings, which can feel threatening as well as breathtaking at the same time.

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