An aisled basilica intercepted by a deep transept terminated by an aisless chevet plat. There is a cluster of towers (as seen at the cathedral of Laon), two wedged in the angle between transept arms and nave and turrets in the western frontispice.
The abbey located at the western end of the plateau, resulted from the reform (1122) introduced to a college of canons at the instigation of the bishop of Laon (Barthélemy de Joux) and organized by Saint Norbert.
Built in three phases: (1) third quarter of the 12th century the wooden-roofed church was laid out. Forms reflect dependence upon Cistercian prototypes. (2) After a fire at the end of the 12th century the church was transformed with the installation of vaults and rebuilding of the transept which was originally lower. (3) Late 13th century western frontispiece and upper parts of towers of transept towers.
Saint-Martin, a Premonstratensian church, is one that registers both the Cistercian simplified plan and elevation and molding types, but also reflects the impact the cathedral itself.
Chauvin, B., "Le plan bernardin: réalités et problèmes," Bernard de Clairvaux- Histoire, mentalities, spiritualité: Colloque de Lyon-Cîteaux-Dijon, Paris, 1992, pp 307-348
Clark, W., "Cistercian Influences on Praemonstratensian Church Planning: Saint-Martin at Laon," Studies in Cistercian Art and Architecture, Kalamazoo, 1984, 161-188
----, Saint-Martin at Laon: Prima Filia Praemonstratensis, Masters essay, Columbia University, 1964
Fritsch, J., "Quelques remarques sur l'architecture de l'église Saint-Martin à Laon," Mémoires de la Féderation des Sociétés d'histoire et d'archéologie de l'Aisne, 25, 1980, 67-81.
-----, "Laon: l'église abbatiale Saint-Martin," Congrès archéologique de France, 1994, 395-412.
Sandron, D., Picardie gothique, Paris, 2001, 215-227