Google+ London Architecture Blog: Week 8/13 Feature #1 St. Paul's Cathedral

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Week 8/13 Feature #1 St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral, City of London. Photograph courtesy Nick Moulds via Flickr.

St. Paul's Cathedral
Architect: Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723)
Date of completion: 1677 (current cathedral)
Location: Ludgate Hill, City of London

The current Cathedral is at least the fourth to stand on the site and was completed in 1711 after the previous building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. 
Old St. Paul's Cathedral.

The first cathedral was built beginning in the 7th century and was replaced by at least two cathedrals up until a great fire destroyed the structure in 1087. The cathedral known as 'Old St. Paul's' was then built by the Normans and took over 200 years to complete. This was then enlarged in 1256 but the condition of the building began to decline during the 16th century and plans for a replacement had already began. 'Old St. Paul's' was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, and Christopher Wren was appointed to design the new cathedral.

Nicholas Hawksmoor assisted Wren in the design of the new cathedral. Five designs were produced, including the first with a round dome entrance and rectangular basilica. The second and third design was based on a Greek cross. The fourth design, the Warrant design was designed in the Gothic style, the dominant style of the time for churches. The final design and current cathedral by Wren is designed in the English Baroque style (see also Greenwich Hospital) and began to be used in 1697. The new cathedral was officially declared open by Parliament in 1711 although minor construction continued and it was not completely finished until the 1720s.

Plan of the cathedral on the floor in front of the South Elevation.
The cathedral is constructed from Portland stone and rises 108m to the cross above the dome. The layout consists of a central space beneath the dome and the nave off of which are three chapels. Inside the dome is the 'whispering Gallery', the 'Stone Gallery' and the 'Golden Gallery'. The design of the dome itself was inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and Mansart's Church of the Val-de-Grâce and is protected by a series of viewing corridors across the city.

Current St. Pauls Cathedral designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Photograph taken in 1896.
The cathedral is Grade I listed and is open to the public for sightseeing (with an admission fee) and continues to be used for worship on Sundays.

Website of St. Paul's Cathedral

1 comment:

  1. One of our favorite works by Sir Christopher Wren both for its quiet, dignified beauty and for the superb blending of eastern and western architectural features.