NICHOLS, A. B. and PAUL, V. L.
Texas A & M University, Department of Architecture
Texas A & M University, Department of Construction Science


The design of Narbonne Cathedral constructed in the 13th century followed the Rayonnant Gothic style of cathedrals in the north of France, rather than the regional style of south-central France. The structure has been carefully measured and recorded in order to identify the design issues and decisions made by the builders from the characteristic details. One unusual detail is the arrangement of the buttressing, including an arched horizontal flyer from the inner to the exterior piers of the choir. This investigation models the structural behaviour of the buttressing system with consideration of the high coastal wind effects, the presence of a western wall constructed at the transept of the uncompleted structure, and an unusual exterior pier construction, among other details, while considering the properties of the masonry material and elements. The static and dynamic finite element analysis is evaluated with respect to the measured deformations, and the probable intentions of the builder for the design and corresponding design changes are presented.

Key words
Historic masonry, stone masonry, medieval construction, structural analysis, design