Sir Christopher Wren’s Towers of London: The Affordances of ArcGIS Spatial Analysis for Studying Visibility in the Early Modern London Skyline with the Spire of St. Bride’s Church

Loading...
Thumbnail Image

Date

2022

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats

26
views
30
downloads

Abstract

After the Great Fire of 1666 decimated London, Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to oversee the reconstruction of parish churches, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and numerous infrastructure and architecture projects in the city. Though his plan for the city’s layout was rejected, Wren’s work on parish churches and the city cathedral stamped his mark on the urban fabric of London. His steeples, towers, and domes elevated English Baroque architectural features into the skyline. Wren is one of the most well-known and biographed British architects; yet while his London parish churches have been extensively studied by architectural historians, there is little scholarship of how his churches were spatially situated and observed from the ground level in the early modern period. The Wren parish churches have instead been discussed within the historical context of the arrival of Renaissance treatises and knowledge in England, as well as the urban history of London’s reconstruction after the Great Fire. This project is localized to St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, and asks how its steeple was viewed and experienced in the early modern period. To this end, the neighborhood around St. Bride’s was schematically recreated in ArcGIS Pro to enable spatial analyses. The results of these analyses indicate that the visibility of St. Bride’s was impeded along Fleet Street in the eponymous parish by the ad hoc spatiality of in the early-modern period, as it continues to be in the contemporary day; instead, St. Martin and St. Paul’s were visible. Furthermore, the spatial analyses revealed that the steeple of St. Bride was observable from Ludgate in the neighboring parish of St. Martin. This thesis discusses these results as interparish visibility, and evaluates what these analyses suggest about the early modern neighborhood surrounding St. Bride’s.

Description

Provenance

Citation

Citation

MacCary, Katherine (2022). Sir Christopher Wren’s Towers of London: The Affordances of ArcGIS Spatial Analysis for Studying Visibility in the Early Modern London Skyline with the Spire of St. Bride’s Church. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/26896.

Collections


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.