from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Section through the nave of Reims Cathedral : Above the aisles, two buttress arches lying one above the other absorb the thrust of the central nave vault and direct it to the buttresses in the outer walls
Buttress on the nave of Chartres Cathedral
Buttress on the nave of Reims Cathedral
Gargoyles and buttresses in the buttress of Amiens Cathedral
Buttress on the south wall of the St. Martin monastery basilica in Landshut
Stepped wall template on the Sireköpinge kyrka
Support pillars on the west wall of the village church of Beenz, a district of the town of Lychen

The buttress (rare buttress apparatus ) is a central structural and design element of the Gothic cathedral . It is made up of buttresses and, if necessary, buttresses . The buttress serves to derive the vault thrust and the wind load from the central nave of a basilica and the high choir near the ambulatory choir .

Along with ribbed vaults and pointed arches , the buttress is one of the three popular stylistic features of Gothic sacred buildings. Today its emergence is explained in particular from the development of the interior, which meant the replacement of solid walls with transparent window surfaces:

“The 12th century of the early Gothic in northern France can be seen as the testing of structural engineering. It is essentially a question of how the architect should best counter the pressure on the vaulted walls of the tall nave when the pressure on the inside of the room increases. […] The specifically Gothic solution lies in the fact that all support points for the wall are moved outwards, […] The technical apparatus that the Gothic has developed for this is referred to as "brace". [...] The history of the open buttress clearly shows that the idea of ​​the Gothic interior was first brought to bear, and only then was the construction technology used to give the cathedral space the necessary material support from the outside. "

A variety of artistic forms developed from the "necessary material support" in the 13th century. The result was a spatial structure which “helped to determine the effect of the exterior of the cathedral”, which “envelops the core structure like a transparent shell of deep layers.”


The open buttress, with buttresses stretched freely over the side aisles, was developed step by step in Gothic architecture and gradually formed. In order to transfer the vault thrust and wind load to the buttresses integrated in the outer wall, transverse walls were first erected above the belt arches of the aisle vaults, for example in Durham Cathedral . These remained invisible under their pent roofs. In the 12th century, the vaults of the aisle galleries also served to brace the central nave.

An open buttress, with visible buttresses above the roof surface, developed from 1160/1170 onwards, initially at parish choirs in Normandy and the Ile-de-France ( Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris after 1160). Since around 1190 it has also been used in the nave ( cathedral of Paris 1180/1200 fundamentally changed from 1230, Noyon 1179 / 1180–1200, Laon 1180/1190). This open buttress was seldom taken up in southern France and the Mediterranean countries, but it spread to England and Germany ( St. Georg in Limburg around 1200/1225, nave of the Bonn Minster 1210/1220, St. Gereon in Cologne 1219/1227).

The Cathedral of Chartres (construction started in 1194) is an important step . With the elimination of the aisle galleries, the height of the central nave wall increases. Buttresses and buttresses are not only used technically, but also artistically designed. At Reims Cathedral (construction started in 1211) the cladding of the building with buttresses is taken up and the components are formed. In this respect, Reims meant “the completion of what began with Chartres” for the exterior.


A buttress is not necessarily understood to be part of a buttress. Wall templates standing at right angles to the building's outer wall (stepped, "removed"), without buttresses, are also called this. If this wall template is beveled instead of removed, the term buttress wall can also be found .

The Gothic buttress initially shows itself as a raw constructive form and gradually experiences a creative structure. First by a step configuration of the outer edge, accompanied by Kaffgesimsen by pediments and finials , niches for decorative figures, to column and tracery -Verblendung and pinnacles .

While the static significance of the steps is understandable, that of the load function through pinnacles is controversially assessed in recent research. In contrast, a decorative function as a crown is undisputed.

Example see: House with buttresses (Pondaurat)


The buttress arch, also known as a high nave brace or, in older literature, a flying brace , is inclined between the high nave wall or choir wall and buttress, or between pillars standing one behind the other. It transfers the horizontal loads from the arched load and the wind pressure to the outermost buttresses as end supports .

The Gothic strut arch can be divided into the actual strut body and the arch that supports it, also based on the joint pattern . The top fighters stone of a strut arc has sometimes support from a small column, the use of which, however, after 1300 abandoned.

Buttresses are often arranged one on top of the other, the lower one serving to pass on the vault thrust, the upper one to pass on the wind load, but this also acts on the lower one. In this respect, the upper buttress starts near the eaves , the lower one between the eaves and the base of the inner vault ribs.

From around 1230, flying buttresses were also used to drain water. A recess on the top guides the water to a gargoyle prominently placed on the front of the buttress .

Web links

Commons : Strebewerk  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. so Strebeapparat . In: Günther Wasmuth (Hrsg.): Wasmuths Lexikon der Baukunst . Berlin 1929–1932 (4 volumes)
  2. a b c d e f sentence after Günther Binding: What is Gothic? Darmstadt 2000, IV.5.Strebewerk , pp. 107-108
  3. ^ A b Hans Jantzen: Art of the Gothic. France Classic Cathedrals Chartres, Reims, Amiens . In: Gotische Raumidee and Strebewerk , Rowohlt, 1957/1968, p. 85
  4. Quote from Hans Jantzen: Art of the Gothic. Classical cathedrals of France Chartres, Reims, Amiens , Rowohlt, 1957/1968, p. 91
  5. Hans Sedlmayr: The development of the cathedral . Graz 1976, amended edition from 1950, Chapter 86, p. 260
  6. Quoting from Hans Sedlmayr: The emergence of the cathedral , Graz, 1976, supplemented edition from 1950, chapter 90, p. 268
  7. a b cf. Hans Koepf , Günther Binding : Picture Dictionary of Architecture (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 194). 4th, revised edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-520-19404-X , picture of the Lemma Strebewerk
  8. ^ Sentence after buttress . In: Günther Binding: What is Gothic? Darmstadt 2000, pp. 124-126
  9. Buttresses . In: Günther Binding: What is Gothic? Darmstadt 2000, p. 124 with reference and referencing of other secondary sources.
  10. ^ Synonyms after flying buttresses . In: Hans Koepf, Günther Binding: Picture Dictionary of Architecture . 4th edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2005
  11. a b c d sentence after Günther Binding: Strebebogen . In: What is Gothic? Darmstadt 2000, pp. 108-121
  12. Flying buttresses . In: Günther Binding: What is Gothic? Darmstadt 2000, pp. 108-109 with a more detailed presentation, reference and referencing of other secondary sources.
  13. Flying buttresses . In: Günther Binding: What is Gothic? Darmstadt 2000, pp. 110–111 with more detailed presentation, reference and referencing of other secondary sources.