King's College Chapel
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Architect unknown
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Location Cambridge, England   map
Date 1446 to 1515   timeline
Building Type church, chapel
 Construction System masonry, cut stone
Climate temperate
Context campus setting
Style English Gothic
Notes lacy stone fan vaulting with soaring stained glass windows. linear plan.


Photo, Interior

Photo, Exterior

Photo, Exterior


Elevation Drawing

Plan Drawing

Section Drawing

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Discussion King's College Chapel Commentary

"There are no spatial surprises in King's Chapel, for its open, rectangular interior space is immediately graspable. Yet this narrow, lofty, lengthy chapel is one of the great rooms in architecture. It radiates light: some two-thirds of each of its four walls are of stained glass, which fills all the space between the buttresses. The glass is not of a medieval richness but bright, with considerable clear or opaque panes (grisaille) setting off the figures. (The chapel, dating several hundred years after the High Gothic—and built for a distinguished university—did not need to have its stained glass serve as 'book' for an unlettered congregation.) With the exception of the west window, which was designed in 1879, the glass dates from 1517-47 and was the work of a German-born and a Flemish artist."

— from G.E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. p70.


The interior space is 290 feet long and 40 feet wide.

Sources on King's College Chapel

Werner Blaser and Monica Stucky. Drawings of Great Buildings. Boston: Birkhauser Verlag, 1983. ISBN 3-7643-1522-9. LC 83-15831. NA2706.U6D72 1983. longitudinal section drawing of two bays showing main vessel in elevation, p91. transverse section drawing showing main vessel, p91. plan drawing, p91. — Available at

Howard Davis. Slide from photographer's collection. PCD .1536. PCD .1536. PCD .1536. PCD .1536.

Jaques Heyman. The Stone Skeleton:Structural Engineering of Masonry Architecture. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-521-47270-9. structural significance of fan vaulting explained on p75. (suggested by Alan Symonds).

G. E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3556-2. LC 90-30728. NA200.S57 1990. discussion, p70. interior photo, p71.

Nikolaus Pevsner. An Outline of European Architecture. Sixth, Jubilee Edition. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1960. interior photo of the nave. plate 207, p251.

Richard Reid. The Book of Buildings: A Panorama of Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern Structures. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company, 1980. interior photo of nave, sixth image in introduction in section called enclosure.

John Summerson. Architecture in Britain 1530-1830. London: Penguin Books, 1991. interior photo of screen. plate 5, p30.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about King's College Chapel


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