The arches of the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral.

Gradefes Convent

An archway with a zigzag (chevron) pattern, at the convent of Gradefes in Spain. The chevron is used to great effect in Durham Cathedral, especially in the late twelfth century Gallilee Chapel

A doorway at Gradefes Convent, Spain, late twelfth century. (For more information about the building see Paradox Place).

The zig-zag pattern, known as the chevron, was common in Norman buildings, and seems to have been an Islamic influence. It appears in numerous places in Durham Cathedral, and is used to great effect in the Gallilee Chapel, built in the 1170s by Hugh le Puiset (see previous image). The chevron's effectiveness lies in its ability to visually break a solid mass, making a building seem lighter.  (It functions in the same way a zebra's stripes do, for example).