Plan of Saint Gall Abbey

Plan of Saint Gall Abbey

Date from the 820 CE original

Movement Early Medieval | Carolingian

Medium Ink on parchment

Dimensions 28 x 44.125″

Housed at Stiftsbibliothek, St. Gall, Switzerland

Drawn for the abbey of St. Gall, this plan became something of a standard for future monasteries. Monasteries were meant to be self-sustaining, and this plan would have allowed for all inhabitants, and even visitors, to thrive. The church was the center of the monastery; as it was built to accommodate monks and not a lay congregation, its structure had to be altered—it has two apses and multiple entrances. A modular system was used (in multiples of 2.5’) so as to impose a sense of orderliness.