Pinnacles are an interesting architectural element in Gothic Architecture. They serve the aesthetic purpose of accentuating and filling out the long vertical shapes and towers in Gothic Buildings. But they also serve another purpose.

A pinnacle is an element at the top of a buttress or column. Other than aesthetic elements they also served a necessary function of shifting the weight of a structure. Pinnacles were often lined with lead to make them heavier. They shifted the weight of the structure straight down rather than outward.

In this following picture of Bryn Athyn Cathedral the weight of the roof is pushing outward on the buttress. The pinnacle adds weight right over the buttress. This shifts the force of weight more downward than outward.

In later centuries pinnacles weren't needed for structural reasons but still were used for aesthetics.

Pinnacles also served the important function of weighing down on structural elements. They were often lined with lead to make them heavy and this weight on outer parts of buildings shifting the stresses and forces on buildings down rather than outward.

It's almost counter intuitive to common sense that in order to make a building stronger you add more weight to it. But it is an important architectural fact.


































































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