Design Through Time

Gargoyles


Gargoyles are those weird, creepy things peering at you from over the edges of old buildings. They might seem a bizarre addition to what would otherwise seem like a beautiful building, especially when on cathedrals and castles, but they have a double purpose, and they’re ugly for a reason.

Gargoyle comes from the French word for throat (and it’s also where we get the word ‘gargle’ from), because the gargoyle’s design is purely to divert water from the rooftops of buildings! Gargoyle always project outwards on a building and their mouths are always open, acting as a spout for the water to drain from. This outward projection stops water from falling down the sides of the building and damaging the stonework or the building’s foundations.

The reason they are ugly is based on old superstitions… their ugly faces are said to ward off evil spirits and bad energies!

You can find many examples of these types of Gargoyles as you are walking around the city. Try looking up at some of the older buildings such as churches, cathedrals, and the old Chamber of Commerce building in Meadowside the next time you are walking around the city centre, but be careful of traffic whilst you’re on your gargoyle hunt.

Words and research by Dark Dundee