it is impossible to prescribe any general rules in such a subject as this, but the following table will explain to a certain extent the ratio of the area to the points of support in sixteen of the principal buildings of
|Hypostyle Hall, Karnac||94,437||46,538||.496||One-half.|
|St. Peter's, Rom||227,000||59,308||.261||One-fourth.|
|Sta. Maria, Florence||84,802||17,056||.201||One-fifth.|
|St. Paul's, London||84,311||14,311||.171||One-sixth.|
|Ste. Geneviève, Paris||60,287||9,269||.154||One-sixth.|
|Paris, Notre Dame||64,108||7,852||.122||One-eighth.|
|Temple of Peace||68,000||6,928||.101||One-tenth.|
|St. Ouen, Rouen||47,107||4,637||.097||One-tenth.|
the world. As far as it goes, it tends to prove that the satisfactory architectural effect of a building is nearly in the inverse ratio to the mechanical cleverness displayed in its construction.
At the head of the list stands the Hypostyle Hall, and next to it practically is the Parthenon, which being the only wooden-roofed building in the list, its ratio of support in proportion to the work required is nearly as great as that of the Temple at Karnac. Spires only wants better details to be one of the grandest edifices in Europe, and Bourges, Paris, Chartres, and Salisbury are among the most satisfactory Gothic cathedrals we possess. St. Ouen, notwithstanding all its beauty of detail and design, fails in this one point, and is certainly deficient in solidity. Cologne and Milan would both be very much improved by greater massiveness: at York the lightness of the supports is carried so far that it never can be completed with the vaulted roof originally designed, for the nave at least; and the Temple of Peace is so clever a piece of engineering, that it must always have been a failure as an architectural design.
- The numbers in the table must be taken only as approximative, except 2, 4, 6, and 7, which are borrowed from Gwilt's "Public Buildings of London."