The recent renovations on the interior and exterior of the chevet of Saint-Germain-des-Prés have revealed one of the more important and successful spatial experiments in early Gothic architecture. Identification of the original elements and precise analysis of their visual role in the chevet design reveal a pattern of progressive decorative enrichment culminating in the main vessel and clerestory, as well as a systematic definition of three different architectural spaces. Each chapel is articulated as a separate, centrally focused, individual unit of space, and the ambulatory is simultaneously a series of repeating units and a continuous longitudinal corridor of space. In the main vessel the individual architectural members are subordinated to the unity of this principal liturgical space. Finally, analysis confirms that the flying buttresses on the chevet exterior are later additions and not part of the original conception.

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