You are on page 1of 103



Lecture Session– 3
Dr. Binumol Tom
Department of Architecture,
College of Engineering, Trivandrum

Gothic Architecture
(12 – 15th century)
Gothic architecture began mainly in France, where architects
were inspired by Romanesque architecture and the pointed arches of
Spanish Moorish architecture.
It's easy to recognise Gothic buildings because of their arches,
ribbed vaulting, flying buttresses, elaborate sculptures (like
gargoyles) and stained glass windows.
Gothic architecture was
originally known as “French Style”. During the period of
Renaissance it fell out of fashion and it was not respected by many
artists. They marked it as “Gothic” to suggest it was the crude work
of German barbarians (Goths).
Examples of Gothic architecture: Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
and St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

Gothic Architecture
• Meaning of Gothic
– “Dark Age”
• Invading barbarians from the north ruined
ancient art and replaced it with their own

– Goths took Rome in 410
• little damage but became known as the first
tribe of barbarians and thus the name

Gothic Architecture • Characteristics – Structural • Skeletal stone structure – Visual • Visual arts were important including the role of light in structures – Symbolic • Scholasticism – Translations of real events into stone and glass • Cathedrals served as an image of heaven .

Structure of a typical Gothic Church .

Characteristics of Gothic architecture • • • • • • airy and bright focus on verticality pointed arches rib vaults flying buttresses large stained glass windows • ornaments and pinnacles .

• • • • • Pointed Arch Gothic architecture is not merely about ornamentation. One important innovation was the use of pointed arches. Earlier Romanesque churches had pointed arches. During the Gothic era. but builders didn't capitalize on the shape. . The Gothic style brought innovative new construction techniques that allowed churches and other buildings to reach great heights. builders discovered that pointed arches would give structures amazing strength and stability.

unbroken arch to the pointed arch – Looked lighter and pointed upward – Exert less thrust than semicircular arch of the same span – Solves geometric difficulty inherent in ribbed vaults • Impossible to arrange all arches and ribs to a common level using exclusively semicircular ribs • With a pointed arch. ribs could easily be made level .Gothic Architecture: The Pointed Arch • Builders turned from the semicircular.

Gothic Architecture: The Pointed Arch .

The Rib Vault • Rib Vaults – Organic metaphor alluding to the role of ribs in anatomy as the body’s skeletal structure supporting tissues – Arches. usually three pairs per rectangular bay. running diagonally • Cross ribs act together with outer frame to create a complete armature of arches along the edges and main folds of the vault .

Earlier Romanesque

churches relied on barrel
• Gothic builders
introduced the dramatic
technique of ribbed
• While barrel vaulting
carried weight on
continuous solid walls,
ribbed vaulting used
columns to support the
• The ribs also delineated
the vaults and gave a
sense of unity to the

Gothic Architecture: The Rib


Gothic architects began using a revolutionary "flying buttress" system. • Freestanding brick or stone supports were attached to the exterior walls by an arch or a halfarch. .Gothic Architecture: The Flying Buttress • In order to prevent the outward collapse of the arches.

such as wind and weight.Gothic Architecture: The Flying Buttress • Flying Buttress – Effected by powerful external arches swung above the side aisles and the ambulatory • Arches rise from colossal freestanding piers – Absorb and channel disruptive forces. safely to the ground – Towering piers could be erected without much affecting the nave or choir interior .

Gothic Architecture: The Flying Buttress .

The stained glass window shown here is from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. • Huge stained glass windows and a profusion of smaller windows created the effect of lightness and space. Gothic buildings could include large areas of glass.Stained Glass Window • Since the walls themselves were no longer the primary supports. .

• Originally. . and hundreds of sculptures. • Since most people in Medieval days could not read. many Gothic cathedrals are heavily ornamented with strange.Gargoyles • Cathedrals in the High Gothic style became increasingly elaborate. the carvings took on the important role of illustrating lessons from the from the scriptures. the sculptures were waterspouts to protect the foundation from rain. • These gargoyles are not merely decorative. builders added towers. leering creatures. pinnacles. • Over several centuries. • In addition to religious figures.


.Gothic Floor Plans Gothic buildings were based on the traditional plan us ed by basilicas. single units were integrat ed into a unified s patial scheme. However.

beyond it. • The nave is generally considerably taller than the aisles. with a long nave making the body of the church. an extension which may be called the choir. Ameins cathedral • The nave is generally flanked on either side by aisles. usually singly. but sometimes double. are of the Latin cross (or "cruciform") plan. having clerestory windows which light the central space. Wells cathedral . There are several regional variations on this plan. chancel.• Most Gothic churches. a transverse arm called the transept and. unless they are entitled chapels.

• While German churches are often similar to those of France. the transept does not project beyond the aisles. as at Salisbury Cathedral.• In some churches with double aisles. as at Florence Cathedral. though this is not the case with lesser churches. • In France the eastern end is often polygonal and surrounded by a walkway called an ambulatory and sometimes a ring of chapels called a "chevet". in Italy. the eastern projection beyond the transept is usually just a shallow apsidal chapel containing the sanctuary. like Notre Dame. • In English cathedrals transepts tend to project boldly and there may be two of them. . Paris.

Gothic Engineering . the concept of divine light was suggested by the airy quality of Gothic buildings.• Medieval man considered himself an imperfect reflection of the divine light of God. dwarfing anyone who stepped inside. • New techniques of construction permitted buildings to soar to amazing new heights. which were much lighter than churches in the earlier Romanesque style. and Gothic architecture was the ideal expression of this view. • Moreover.


Gothic Architecture in France .

rather than rubble masonry of the Normans • Arches and ribs designed with independent curvatures .Gothic Architecture: Gothic Architecture in France • First coherent example of Gothic architecture – Appear in Gothic 12th century Paris – Ile-de-France • Cut stone masonry employed into vaulting.

light. Denis – Definitive turning point in early French Gothic – Space. and geometry create transcendent modernist architectural vision . line.Gothic Architecture in France • Abbey Church of St.

Gothic Architecture in France .

Gothic Architecture: Gothic Architecture in France .


Gothic Architecture: Gothic Architecture in France • Gothic came to be associated with urban settings and the extension of the French King’s political influence • Two important French gothic structures preceding Suger – Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Laon – Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Paris .

Gothic Architecture: Gothic Architecture in France .

Gothic Architecture: Gothic Architecture in France .

reaching some 108 feet from the floor to the crown of the vaults – The clerestories were enlarged around 1225 to bring in additional light – Not as well preserved as at Laon .Gothic Architecture: Gothic Architecture in France • Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Paris – Bishop of Paris began construction in 1163 – A very tall church.

Romanesque Sculpture .Notre Dame Cathedral • Names: Notre Dame Cathedral. France • Date: 1163-1345 • Features: Medieval Stained Glass. Ile-deFrance. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris) • Location: Paris.

• Over the construction period. Saint Etienne basilica. • Between 1210 and 1220. which was itself built on the site of a Roman temple to Jupiter. began in around 1200 before the nave had been completed. • Construction on the current cathedral began in 1163 • Construction of the west front. numerous architects worked on the site. as is evidenced by the differing styles at different heights of the west front and towers. .History of the cathedral • The Notre Dame de Paris stands on the site of Paris' first Christian church. the fourth architect oversaw the construction of the level with the rose window and the great halls beneath the towers. with its distinctive two towers.

the cathedral fell victim to the French Revolution. • During the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV at the end of the 17th century the cathedral underwent major alterations.History of the Cathedral • The towers were finished around 1245 and the cathedral was finally completed around 1345. . during which many tombs and stained glass windows were destroyed. • In 1793. • Many sculptures and treasures were destroyed or plundered • The cathedral also came to be used as a warehouse for the storage of food.

Gothic Architecture: Gothic Architecture in France .

producing six triangles within a bay) Vault is 100ft (30m) high Double span flying buttresses (earliest form) .Double aisles – ambulatories on a bent axial line Transepts not projected beyond the aisle wall High vault – sexpartite vaulting covering double aisles (a ribbed vault whose lateral triangles are bisected by an intermediate transverse rib.

and lit by the round windows) Decorative oculi Small clerestory .• Interior elevation – 4 levels arcade of columnar piers Tribune (originally covered by transverse barrel vault.


North ambulatory looking east .

which was redesigned by Viollet-le-Duc to replace the statues destroyed during the French Revolution. with its two 69meter (228-feet) tall towers. and is where the cathedral's legendary gargoyles (chimères) can be found. The King's Gallery is a line of statues of the 28 Kings of Judah and Israel. The revolutionaries mistakenly believed the statues to be French kings instead of biblical kings. The gargoyles are full of Gothic character but are not medieval . The Galerie des Chimères or Grand Gallery connects the two west towers. Some of the heads were .Gothic Architecture: Gothic Architecture in France The west front of the cathedral is one of its most notable features.they were added during the 19th-century restoration. so they decapitated them.

Dating from about 1220. The main theme of the west rose is human life. The west rose window at Notre Dame is 10 meters in diameter and exceptionally beautiful. featuring symbolic scenes such as the Zodiacs and Labors of the Months. On the exterior. . it is fronted by a statue of the Virgin and Child accompanied by angels.Gothic Architecture: Gothic Architecture in France The beautiful West Rose Window dates from about 1220. Unfortunately. it retains most of its original glass and tracery. the interior view of its colorful medieval glass is now more than half blocked by the great organ.

24 medallions. • Radiating out from a central medallion of Christ.9 meters in diameter and contains 84 panes of glass. quadrilobes. • its general themes are the New Testament.• The south rose window installed around 1260. the Triumph of Christ • The south rose is 12. SOUTH ROSE . and 24 trilobes. it consists of four concentric circles of 12 medallions.

Paris – West front has a solid quality – Triple portals – Gallery of Kings • Represents twenty-eight kings of the Old Testament .Gothic Architecture in France • Notre-Dame.

Anne (the Virgin Mary's mother).• The three west portals of Notre Dame Cathedral are magnificent examples of early Gothic art. and scenes from the life of St. . they depict scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. • Sculpted between 1200 and 1240. the Last Judgment.

Anne .Portal of St.

Gothic Architecture: Gothic Architecture in France .

Interior of Notre Dame cathedral .




Patrick's Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris .St.

stained-glass windows. and is widely praised for its sculpture. and high gothic style.Chartres is one of the most famous cathedrals in France. .

with clerestories and triforiu m under sexpartite vaul ting .Nave in four tiers.

Chapelle .St.

St. In the Flamboyant style wall space was reduced to the minimum of supporting vertical shafts to allow an almost continuous expanse of glass and tracery. Maclou (Rouen) 15-16th . The most conspicuous feature of the Flamboyant Gothic style is the dominance in stone window tracery of a flame like S-shaped curve. Structural logic was obscured by the virtual covering of the exteriors of buildings with tracery.Flamboyant In France the new style evolved about 1280 which was a very decorative phase called the Flamboyant style.

Nicholas (Paris) 15th Century . Severin-St.St.

British Gothic Architecture .

1180−1275) •Decorated (c.English Gothic architecture Historians sometimes refer to the styles as "periods" •Early English (c. and less detailed tracery th an would be used in later buildings. Lancet windows are used throughout. 1380−1520) Early English Gothic The entirety of Salisbury Cathedral (excluding the tower and spire) is in the Earl y English style. 1275−1380) •Perpendicular (c. and a "pure" image is underlined by the relative lack of embellishing as was found in Roman esque buildings. The Early English Period of English Gothic lasted from the late 12th century until midw ay through the 13th British Gothic .

often visible on the exterior of the building. • Through the employment of the pointed arch. width and length. so architects could achieve a more open. • The barrel vaults and groin vaults characteristic of Romanesque building were replaced by rib vaults. . • The high walls and vaulted stone roofs were often supported by flying buttresses: half arches which transmit the outward thrust of the superstructure to supports or buttresses. which made possible a wider range of proportions between height.Characteristics of the style • the pointed arch known as the lancet. walls could become less massive and window openings could be larger and grouped more closely together. airy and graceful building.

This characteristic is seen throughout Salisbury Cathedral where there are groups of two lancet windows lining the nave and groups of three lining the clerestory. • Although arches of equilateral proportion are most often employed.• The arched windows are usually narrow by comparison to their height and are without tracery. lancet arches of very acute proportions are frequently found and are a highly characteristic of the style. • The Lancet openings of windows and decorative arcading are often grouped in twos or threes. • For this reason Early English Gothic is sometimes known as the "Lancet" style. . • A notable example of steeply pointed lancets being used structurally is the apsidal arcade of Westminster Abbey.

etc. quatrefoils. the columns were often composed of clusters of slender. as if aspiring heavenward. emphasising the height of the building. to which they are attached by circular moulded shaft-rings.Characteristics of the style • Instead of being massive. by the decoration of the hollows with the dog-tooth ornament and by the circular abaci of the capitals. or pier. solid pillars. are introduced into the tracery of galleries and large rose windows in the transept or nave • At its purest the style was simple and austere.. • The arches of decorative wall arcades and galleries are sometimes cusped. detached shafts surrounding a central pillar. . • Characteristic of Early Gothic in England is the great depth given to the hollows of the mouldings with alternating fillets and rolls. • Circles with trefoils.

often with floral patterns. or simply "Decorated“ • Traditionally. with elaborately carved windows and capitals. this period is broken into two periods: the "Geometric" style (1250–90) and the "Curvilinear" style (1290–1350). • This period saw detailed carving reach its peak. • The Decorated Period in architecture is also known as the Decorated Gothic.Decorated style(c. in particular the elaborate tracery on the main window. 1275−1380) • The west front of York Minster is a fine example of Decorated architecture. .

• This flowing or flamboyant tracery was introduced in the first quarter of the 14th century and lasted about fifty years. typically including trefoils and quatrefoils. usually up to the level at which the arched top of the window begins.Elements of the Decorated style • Decorated architecture is characterized by its window tracery. • The style was geometrical at first and flowing in the later period. intersecting to fill the top part of the window with a mesh of elaborate patterns called tracery. owing to the omission of the circles in the window tracery. • The mullions then branch out and cross. This evolution of decorated tracery is often used to subdivide the period into an earlier "Geometric" and later "Curvilinear" period. • Elaborate windows are subdivided by closely spaced parallel mullions (vertical bars of stone). .

• Vaulting became more elaborate. initially for structural and then aesthetic reasons. with less depth in the hollows and with the fillet (a narrow flat band) largely used. • Arches are generally equilateral.Elements of the Decorated style • Interiors of this period often feature tall columns of more slender and elegant form than in previous periods. . • The foliage in the capitals is less conventional than in Early English and more flowing. and the mouldings bolder than in the Early English Period. with the use of increasing number of ribs.

Perpendicular Gothic • The interior of Gloucester Cathedral conveys an impression of a "cage" of stone and glass. • Elaborate Decorated style tracery is no longer in evidence. or Late Gothic. it is also known as International Gothic. • is so-called because it is characterised by an emphasis on vertical lines. and the lines on both walls and windows have become sharper and less flamboyant. typical of Perpendicular architecture. the Rectilinear style. .

Features of the style • This perpendicular linearity is particularly obvious in the design of windows • Windows became very large. and the upper portion is subdivided by additional mullions and transoms. • wall surfaces are likewise divided up into vertical panels. with slimmer stone mullions than in earlier periods. . known as panel tracery. forming rectangular compartments. sometimes of immense size. allowing greater scope for stained glass craftsmen. • The mullions of the windows are carried vertically up into the arch moulding of the windows.

• Inside the church the triforium disappears. or its place is filled with panelling. which are often the finest features in the churches of this period. and greater importance is given to the clerestory windows. the spandrels being filled with quatrefoils or tracery.Features of the style • Doorways are frequently enclosed within a square head over the arch mouldings. • Pointed arches were still used throughout the period. but ogee and four-centred Tudor arches were also introduced. • The mouldings are flatter than those of the earlier periods • Some of the finest features of this period are the magnificent timber roofs .

St. Maclou Added beginning of 16th .

Its characteristic feature is the fanvault .Perpendicula r: Gloucester (choir) The Perpendicular style is a phase of late Gothic unique to England.

Gloucester The Choir The Tower .

Gloucester Vaulting in the nave Vaulting in the cloisters .

Britis h Gothi c Westminste r Abbey in London is one of the world's most .

• An abbey (from Latin abbatia, abba,
"father”) is a Christian monastery or
convent, under the authority of an Abbot
or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual
father or mother of the community.
• The term can also refer to an establishment
which has long ceased to function as an
abbey, but continues to carry the name —
in some cases for centuries (for example,
Westminster Abbey).



North Entrance of Westminster Abbey .


 E: Fountain Court. H: Banqueting House. with marked reference points referred to on this page. B: Base Court.Hampton Court palace. J: Great Hall. O: Cardinal . G: South Front. D: Clock Court. M: East Gardens. A: West Front & Main Entrance. K: River Thames. F: East Front. C: Clock Tower. London Hampton Court Palace.

7 miles (18. in 1529. The palace is located 11. as Wolsey fell from favour. While the palace's styles are an accident of fate. a unity exists due to the use of pink bricks and a symmetrical. domestic Tudor and Baroque. Work halted in 1694. and the historic county of Middlesex. It was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. balancing of successive low wings. leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles. circa 1514. who enlarged it. Greater London. the palace was passed to the King. albeit vague. • The following century. a favourite of King Henry VIII. William III's massive rebuilding and expansion project intended to rival Versailles was begun. .8 kilometres) south west of Charing Cross and upstream of central London on the River Thames.• Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. it has not been inhabited by the British Royal Family since the 18th century.

northern Italy. • It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world.Italian Gothic Architecture • Milan Cathedral (Italian: Duomo di Milano) is the cathedral church of Milan in Lombardy. . • The Gothic cathedral took five centuries to complete.

5 metres (215 ft) • Spire height 106.5 metres (349 ft) • Materials Brick with Candoglia marble .• Length 157 metres (515 ft) • Width 92 metres (302 ft) • Width (nave) 16.75 metres (55 ft) • Height (max) 45 metres (148 ft) • Dome height (outer) 65.

• The cathedral's five broad naves. are reflected in the hierarchic openings of the facade. The roof of the cathedral is renowned for the forest of openwork pinnacles and spires. and the apsidal windows are 20. set upon delicate flying buttresses. • The nave columns are 24.7 x 8. faced with marble • The height of the nave is about 45 meters. crossed by a transept and then followed by choir and apse.5 metres (68 x 28 feet). divided by 40 pillars.• The plan consists of a nave with four side-aisles.5 metres (80 ft) high. • The huge building is of brick construction. • The roof carries spectacular sculpture that can be enjoyed only from top. the highest Gothic vaults of a complete church. • Even the transepts have aisles. .

. a baroque gilded bronze artwork.The famous "Madonnina" atop the main spire of the cathedral.

1386-1577.Milan Cathedral (Duomo) The biggest and greatest late gothic architecture in Italy. west front 1616-1813 .

The cathedral as it appeared in 1745. . The Cathedral in 1856.

Milan Cathedral Flying Buttress .


.The Cathedral of Santa Eulalia (also called La Seu) in Barcelona is both Gothic and Victorian.

many of the major churches are without transepts and some are without aisles. and those in Germany and Belgium that were strongly influenced by them. is their height and their impression of verticality. having three portals surmounted by a rose window.Regional variations . with slight or no projection of the transepts and subsidiary chapels.France • The distinctive characteristic of French cathedrals. • They are compact. • The east end is polygonal with ambulatory and sometimes a chevette of radiating chapels. and two large towers. • In the south of France. • The west fronts are highly consistent. • Sometimes there are additional towers on the transept ends. .

the long straight trees were running out. for example.Regional differences . by the 1400s. did not get its marble facade until the 1800s. but got much harder when the air and rain got on it. But in England. • In Italy. there were many tall straight trees that were good for making very large roofs. It was good for building because it was soft to cut. It was usually a pale grey colour.limestone. Florence Cathedral. • England had coarse limestone. • In some parts of Europe. The architects had to think of a new way to make a wide roof from short pieces of timber. Some churches have very rough brick facades because the marble was never put on.Building materials • France . many buildings have fronts or "facades" decorated in coloured marble. limestone was used for city walls and castles. France also had beautiful white limestone from Caen which was perfect for making very fine carvings. Because Italy had lots of beautiful marble in many different colours. red sandstone and dark green Purbeck marble which was often used for architectural decorations like thin columns. Many of the trees were used for building ships. That is how they invented the hammer-beam roofs which are one of the beautiful features seen in many old English churches. but brick was used for other buildings. .

• and its object is to transmit the weight and thrust of the roof as low as possible in the supporting wall . repeated at intervals.• Hammer-beam roof: consists of a series of trusses.


but it may take a completely different form. particularly the capitals. • The distinctive English east end is square.) • The West window is very large and is never a rose window. • The west front may have two towers like a French Cathedral. which may have a big spire. • There is nearly always a tower at the middle of the building.Regional variations -British • The thing that makes English cathedrals different from the others is that they are long. Both internally and externally. and look horizontal • English cathedrals nearly all took hundreds of years to build. the stonework is often richly decorated with carvings. or none. and every part is in a style that is quite different to the next part. . (Only Salisbury Cathedral was not built in lots of styles.

Regional variations -Italy • The plan is usually regular and symmetrical. • With the exception of Milan Cathedral which is Germanic in style. the arches are almost always equilateral. • Colours and moldings define the architectural units rather than blending them. • The proportions are generally mathematically simple. . and except in Venice where they loved flamboyant arches. based on the square. Italian cathedral façades are often polychrome and may include mosaics in the lunettes over the doors. Italian cathedrals have few and widely spaced columns.

Italy • Italian Gothic cathedrals use lots of colour. • The facades often have an open porch with a wheel windows above it. • The bell tower is hardly ever attached to the building. • On the inside. the facade is often decorated with marble. because Italy has quite a few earthquakes. the walls are often painted plaster. . • There is often a dome at the centre of the building. • On the outside. the favorite way of decorating the churches is fresco (wall painting). • The columns and arches are often decorated with bright coloured paint. • There are also mosaics with gold backgrounds and beautifully tiled floors is geometric patterns. • The windows are not as large as in northern Europe and. although stained glass windows are often found. both outside and inside.

although stained glass windows are often found. and where the columns may be painted red. . The eastern end usually has an apse of comparatively low projection. The distinctive characteristic of Italian Gothic is the use of polychrome decoration. the favourite narrative medium for the interior is the fresco. the walls decorated with frescoes and the apse with mosaic. and do not usually have a tower.Regional variations -Italy • • • • The façades have projecting open porches and occular or wheel windows rather than roses. There is often a free-standing tower and baptistry. both externally as marble veneer on the brick façade and also internally where the arches are often made of alternating black and white segments. The windows are not as large as in northern Europe and. The crossing is usually surmounted by a dome.

Venice Milan Cathedral.Revision . London Doges Palace.Examples to study • • • • • Notre Dame. . Paris Westminster Abbey Hampton Court Palace.