What Is A Buttress?


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Kath Senior answered
A buttress is a projecting support that stands against a wall to counteract the weight of roofs and towers that bear down on the wall. Without the buttress, the wall would be too weak, particularly if the wall has openings cut into it for windows and doorways.

The walls of Saxon and Norman stone buildings were made very thick with small windows and light timber roofs. They therefore needed little strengthening and have buttresses that are wide but low. Gothic buildings had much thinner walls, larger windows and heavy stone vaults in the roof and so always have lots of buttresses.

During the 13th century, angle buttresses were used at the corners of buildings where they met at 90 degrees. Setback buttresses, which were set back slightly to expose the corner of the building were also used. Less common were the large, square clasping buttresses that enclose the corners of a tower or porch.

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