Saturday, October 10, 2009


Triforium, in architecture, space in a church above the nave arcade, below the clerestory, and extending over the vaults, or ceilings, of the side aisles. The term is sometimes applied to any second-floor gallery opening onto a higher nave by means of arcades or colonnades, like the galleries in many ancient Roman basilicas or Byzantine churches. The triforium became an integral part of church design during the Romanesque period, serving as a series of openings to light and ventilate the roof space as well as an open passageway.Often it was covered with a quarter-circle vault to partially transmit the thrust of the nave vaults to the outer walls (Saint-Sermn, Toulouse, begun 1096).

With the development of the Gothic vaulting system in France, the triforium diminished in size and importance. Reims (begun 1220) and Amiens (1220— 47) both have trifona of little relative height but with rich arcading.
The more horizontal English Gothic shows an important development of the triforium as a decorative element (Angel Choir, Lincoln cathedral, completed 1282), but the gallery is relatively much higher than in France, often almost equalling the pier arcades. By the end of the 13th century the triforium was usually replaced by greatly heightened clerestory windows. Andrew Collier


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