The Comparison of the Sears Tower and the Amiens Cathedral research paper

My research paper deals with two masterpieces of past and present architecture: French Amiens Cathedral andChicagoSearsTower. I’m going to point out what makes them similar and alike. I’d like to begin with general information.SearsTowerwas designed by Skidmore, Owings, and Merill. Its construction belongs to the International architectural period. It is the third tallest building in the world with 110 stores (Building Info, 2007).

It is1,700 feethigh. Certainly, Amiens Cathedral can’t be compared withSearsTowerby height, because it wasn’t important for architects to make it tall. Nevertheless, its nave vaults (42,30 metershigh) are the tallest ones inFrance.

The Amiens Cathedral was constructed by Renaud and Thomas de Cormont, Robert de Luzarches and reconstructed by Etienne-Hippolyte Godde, because of the fire in the old cathedral (Nicola’s Janberg Structurae, 2007). The first labyrinth on the cathedral’s floor keeps memory about people, who played the most important role in the history of the building. The huge building was finished in 88 years, which was a relatively short period for those times.SearsTower, however, was built in 6 years (1968-1974), which was obviously faster. The reason for this was that the Gothic Amiens cathedral had amazingly complicated design.

The common feature between the Amiens Cathedral and theSearsToweris that while theAmienscathedral surpassed French cathedrals in size, while theSearsTowerproved to be the tallest skyscraper inNorthern America.

The architects of theAmiensrejected to use traditional massive stone blocks, instead he’s chosen more elegant columns. Triforium was adjusted by stained glasses and created an upper elevation part with clerestory, making it look like a two-storied.Arcadeand tier with top windows of the central nave were not equal to each other. Its façade has many sculptural elements, mostly above the doors.

What were the greatest achievements of two buildings?

The sequence of brilliant architectural achievements begins with the precise building plan, and escalation of the buildings. A peculiar thing is thatAmiensmasters started creating the building from the middle (Southern transept), hoping that in a distant future they will manage to add main façade, choir and Northern transept. The interior of the cathedral creates an effective impression if to look at it from the side of main portal. This peculiarity was ranked as the most outstanding achievement of the architects, because the work began from the Southern transept, not Western façade.

As forSearsTower, its achievements are universal style and space. There is a modern quotation: “Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space”.SearsTowerhas the second largest space in the whole world after the Pentagon. From its observation deck it is possible to seeIllinois,Indiana,WisconsinandMichigan. Its style is modernistic, anti-historic, anti-ornamental, functional and exclusive from the technological point of view, which distinguishes it from theAmienscathedral.

While Gothic style always had mainly religious meaning (Male, 1972), modern style appeared as an urge for convenience.SearsTowerbelongs to the style of high technologies. It is the synthesis of new techniques, daring dimensional decisions and expanding human knowledge. From the first sight, all skyscrapers seem to be far from human needs. In reality they were first constructed exactly for this purpose.SearsTower, as well as other buildings of this kind, has plain external design, in comparison with earlier architectural examples, including Gothic Amiens cathedral, but their main purpose is to make it functionally convenient for people. So its characteristic is functional esthetics. It is admitted that modern architecture rejects using flat walls. In early times nature was pictured on the walls, nowadays defeated nature is grown inside the buildings: on roof of the skyscrapers, and between the floors. The construction ofSearsToweris released from ornamental elements; it has plain geometrical forms instead.

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