Vassar’s Andrew Tallon and Columbia’s Stephen Murray have recently unveiled their digital project to document the architectural monuments of 12-13-century France, entitled “Mapping Gothic France”. This is an open-source, open access project available on the web at: www.mappinggothicfrance.org
The site consists of hundreds of dynamic, panoramic images, mapped to each monument, and accompanied by contextual materials including historical texts, time-lines, interactive maps, and biographies of scholars. It also contains tools for comparative study.
From the site:
“Whereas pictures can be satisfactorily represented in two dimensions on a computer screen, space — especially Gothic space — demands a different approach, one which embraces not only the architectonic volume but also time and narrative. Mapping Gothic France builds upon a theoretical framework derived from the work of Henri Lefèbvre (The Production of Space) that seeks to establish linkages between the architectural space of individual buildings, geo-political space, and the social space resulting from the interaction (collaboration and conflict) between multiple agents — builders and users. “
The site is currently in beta mode, but functioned well in Firefox when we used it. The project uses the dimensions of space, time and narrative to structure the project. Very detailed information pages about churches, such as the Cathedrale de Notre-Dame in Amiens, include various images, floor plans, further architectural description and information about each church’s political significance. Not all entries have the same level of detail, some have only images and floorplans. The comparison tool allows churches to be compared using dimensions and construction dates. The time dimension merges the churches on the project’s map with existing maps showing contemporary geopolitical divisions.