Looking at Buildings

Home | Types | Styles | Construction | Cities | Timeline | Glossary | Reference | Using the Site | About LAB

This is document 'The exterior', within the 'Cities' section of the website. 
See a list of all the pages in this section, or look at the sitemap.

The exterior

London, St Martin Ludgate, exterior

The highly varied exteriors of the City churches owed much to their constricted sites. Few were completely free-standing. Many church walls backed onto houses or private courtyards, or narrow alleys where architectural display would have been inappropriate. St Martin is now sandwiched between houses, with no side elevations at all; the back wall is plain brick, facing a private garden; the west wall was originally exposed too. The main front is composed symmetrically, with giant windows lighting the entrance lobby. Big curly scrolls (called volutesGlossary Term) make a visual link to the tower, and help the transition to the elaborate spireGlossary Term of lead. This was designed and built as part of the whole, but at other City Churches decades passed before money was allotted to add a spireGlossary Term above the tower parapetGlossary Term.

London, St Martin Ludgate, exterior, lower part

Decoration of the lower parts is concentrated on the openings. The vocabulary is fully classicalGlossary Term, though a full orderGlossary Term - that is, columns or pilasters - is absent. Even so, the front would originally have seemed dignified by comparison with the plain houses alongside, without appearing to compete with the magnificent west front of St Paul's Cathedral, at the top of the hill to the right.

Find out more (links to come: please revisit)