Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Got Buttress?

If you turn slightly to the right after taking the picture I posted yesterday, this is what you see. That, ladies and gents, is a real live flying buttress. The building is the Unitarian Memorial Church in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Fairhaven has a population of about 15,000 persons. But we've got Chartres quality buttresses. I wonder if many people appreciate that.

I doubt it. The church is little used, from what I can gather. There never seems to be any activity there when we're around, and the only persons we ever saw exit that magnificent pile of stone came out of there the day we took this picture, and they were young men wearing flip-flops. The person that paid to have this elaborate and substantial building built, probably saw it as a manifestation of a substantial strain of thought and piety.

In the long run, he was wrong.

I'm grateful for the flying buttresses, just the same.


Pastor_Jeff said...

Flying buttresses, gothic arches, and ribbed vaults are indeed fascinating because they gave medieval architects the tools to move beyond thick Romanesque walls with round arches and necessarily small windows.

By transferring the weight of the building outside the walls themselves, builders could incorporate much more glass and thus bring much more light into the church. Churches went from dark and heavy to bright and open.

One of my favorite examples is the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. You are looking at what is nearly a solid wall of exploding color and shimmering beauty. Church interiors could now soar to heaven, draw one's gaze upward in awe, and reflect heavenly glory.

Flying buttresses were part of a Copernican revolution in architecture. I, for one, join you in appreciating them. Thanks for the photos.

reader_iam said...

Gosh, Pastor Jeff--is that picture of you as a kid?

I did double-take--that is eerily, eerily close to how my little brother looked as a small kid. (I wasn't kidding about the double-take.) And I know we're not related.

Pastor_Jeff said...


Yes, that is me circa 1969. Everyone seems to be going with the retro look, so I thought I'd join in.

And I'm sure you're right about there being no relation. I never had any sisters.

Where's your cute toddler photo, by the way?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Do you think the fact that the church is Unitarian lends to it being "little used"?

Was there a place to sit down--a butt rest--in there?

RIA was the first I recall having the kiddy pic. I vote she changes it back again. Just like us cool kids.

SippicanCottage said...

Ruth Anne- Yeah.

Universalist: n. One who forgoes the advantage of a Hell for persons of another faith.

reader_iam said...

XWL was the first (of this group).

Eh, maybe I'll see if I still have that up on Flickr.

reader_iam said...

Baby Reader Is Back.


Ruth Anne Adams said...

You goo, Girl!

Ron said...

Isn't that Flying Bootytress in the modern idiom?

SippicanCottage said...

Oh, that's marvelous, Reader.

reader_iam said...

And without skipping a beat or missing a step in the relay, Ruth Anne grabs the boo-ton!

Goo-ed going, yourself, girl!

SippicanCottage said...

Ron, I believe the modern version is flying Boutros Boutros-Ghalis.

I may be wrong about that.