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Table of Contents

I. Gothic Architecture
II. Architectural Character
A. Church Plan
B. Materials
C. Pointed Arch
D. Ribbed Vaults
E. Flying Buttress
F. Windows
G. Ornamentation
III. Different Gothic Architecture
A. Gothic Architecture in France
B. Gothic Architecture in the British Isles
C. Gothic Architecture in Germany and Central Europe
D. Gothic Architecture in Low Countries
E. Gothic Architecture in Spain and Catalan Countries
F. Gothic Architecture in Italy
IV. Gothic Revival
V. Bibliography

I. Gothic Architecture

Gothic Architecture originated from France and the style continued into the 16th century and was commonly known as the "French Style". Materials The types of materials that were used in construction during the earlier periods heavily depend on their local availability and accessibility. abbeys and churches in Europe. Scandinavia. brick was much preferred for buildings and because of the widespread and varied deposits of marble many buildings were faced with it. and the flying buttress. the Netherlands and in the Baltic countries there was a strong tradition of . The Gothic style was initiated by Abbot Suger who remodelled the Abbey of St. having clerestory windows which light the central space. In France. Denis was one of the last great monastic churches to be built. B. England had a coarser limestone. whereas stone was used for fortifications. usually singly. II. Plan of Amiens Cathedral in France The nave is generally considerably taller than the aisles. These features are evident in many cathedrals. a transverse arm called the transept and. several types of limestone were readily available and the very fine white limestone from the Caen area was much favored for sculptural decoration. In Italy. chancel or presbytery. In the South of France there is often a single wide nave and no aisles. but sometimes double. greater height in interior spaces. red sandstone and also a dark green Purbeck marble which took its name from a peninsula in the English county of Dorset from which it was quarried. Gothic Architecture is characterized by the vertical lines of tall pillars and spires. Church Plan The plan for most Gothic churches use the Latin cross or "cruciform" plan. The nave is generally flanked on either side by aisles. rib vaulting. the pointed arch. as at Sainte-Marie in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges. beyond it.. an extension which may be called the choir.Gothic Architecture is an architectural style that emerged in the first half of the 12th century from Romanesque antecedents. Gothic churches of the Germanic tradition often have nave and aisles of similar height and are called Hallenkirche. Architectural Character A. Denis monastery St. and it is known as the cradle of Gothic art. with a long nave making the body of the church. Because local building stone was unavailable in Northern Germany and Poland.

D. architects realized the superiority of the groined vault compared to the barrel vault and started to add ribs. The Gothic arch was a major feature of the architecture of the Middle Ages. As the Gothic era progressed. for example. which were used to support the weight of the vault. up to the level of the springing points. vaulting became increasing (c) Magnus Manske complex and saw the development of more varied Ribbed vault at the forms such as the quatri-partite vault and the Neims Cathedral in France sexpartite vault. and also allowing the vaults to extend higher. The Gothic architects and builders discovered the amazing strength and stability of using pointed arches. C. E. Flying Buttress . Such light. skeletal construction employing cross ribbed-vaults and other thin carrying structures. except that it is reinforced with ribs.building with brick which led to the term "Backsteingotik" in Germany and Scandinavia and the term can be rendered as "Brick Gothic". Cross-ribbed vaulting functions as plain groined vaulting. replaced the massiveness of Romanesque vaults. The walls of Gothic buildings could be thinner because the weight of the roof was (c) Rüdiger supported by the arches rather than the walls. Pointed Arch A Gothic arch is a sharp-pointed arch. Ribbed Vaults By the 12th century. Wölk A façadeflexibility. The vault uses a diagonally reinforced arch resting on thin pillars. which ogivalThe or The use of the Gothic arch gave the builders tremendous pointed arches arch could not only support greater weights but could also span greater distances. The Gothic arch evolved from the round-topped Roman arch. At Amiens. Slender columns and stained glass windows also gave the church a more spacious and heightened effect. The lower part of the arch is parallel sided. and can be made much thinner. This had the revolutionary effect of opening up the interior space of a large building such as a church. allowing vaults to be taller and wider. permitting the walls to be hollowed out . formed of two arc segments. the introduction of an extra transverse rib between the diagonal ribs of the vault allowed for a lighter and more elevated interior.

Gargoyles are also used as ornamentation. and crisp and fine in treatment typical examples consisting of convex curling masses. Carved foliage is conventional. as in Westminster Abbey. The windows were very often filled with stained glass which added a Sainte Chapelle’s Rose dimension of colour to the light within the window building. known as " stiff leaf foliage. taking the place of the axe in the Early Norman period. as well as providing a medium for figurative and narrative art. which was generally placed in hollow mouldings. Sainte Chapelle. Through the Gothic period. the pointed ribbed vault which channeled the weight to a supporting shaft with less outward thrust than a semicircular vault. due to the versatility of the pointed arch.A flying buttress is a specific form of buttressing most strongly associated with Gothic church architecture. and was used in great profusion. It serves to transmit the lateral forces pushing a wall outwards (which may arise from stone vaulted ceilings or from wind-loading on roofs) across an intervening space and ultimately down to the ground. Ornamentation The most characteristic ornament is the dogtooth.a massive vertical masonry block (the buttress) on the outside of the building and a segmental or quadrant arch bridging the gap between that buttress and the wall. the structure of Gothic windows developed from simple openings to immensely rich and (c) Jean-Christophe BENOIST Sainte Chapelle’s decorative sculptural designs stained window like famous wheel or Rose window. and in particular. Windows One of characteristic of Gothic Architecture is the expansive area of the windows. Gargoyles are carved stone grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building. Chisel was generally used. Flying buttress systems have two key components . Many medieval cathedrals included . The increase in size between windows of the Romanesque and Gothic periods is related to the use of the ribbed vault. F. Gloucester Cathedral and Milan Cathedral are examples which use very large size of many individual windows." Flat Dog-tooth moulding surfaces are often richly diapered. G.

Gothic had become the universal style of building in the Western world. however. Gothic rib vaulting appeared sporadically in a number of churches. Originating in northern France. High Gothic. Paris III. It is divided into four styles: Early Gothic. Rayonnant. the empire of Scandinavia.gargoyles. In France. . But it was in the service of the Church that the Gothic style attained its most meaningful expression. The origins of the word 'gargoyle' are derived from the old French word 'gargouille' meaning throat. and they created bridges and hostelries to facilitate communication. and it included many types of structures. In the ambulatory of Saint-Denis. Some gargoyles were depicted as monks. the early 13th century. Gothic architects designed town halls. it spread rapidly across England. A. or combinations of real animals and people. the burial church of the French kings and queens near the outskirts of Paris. Although most have grotesque features. Gargoyles came into Gothic Architecture in Gargoyles in Notre-Dame. royal palaces. the term gargoyle has come to include all types of images. providing the widest scope for the development of architectural ideas and calling forth the best talents. Gothic Architecture in France French Gothic Architecture is a prevalent architectural style in France from 12th to 15 century. the slim columns supporting the vaults and the elimination of the dividing walls separating the radiating chapels result in a new sense of flowing space presaging the expanded spaciousness of the later interiors. for the Church was the most prolific builder of the Middle Ages. courthouses and hospitals. In the 14th century. Gothic style dominated the architecture of Western Europe. and Flamboyant Gothic. the Byzantine provinces of Central Europe and the Near East and the Americas. they fortified cities and castles to defend lands against invasion. Different Gothic Architecture For nearly almost hundred years. during the first half of the 12th century. was initiated in the early 1140s in the construction of the chevet of the royal abbey church of Saint-Denis. The particular phase of Gothic architecture that was to lead to the creation of the northern cathedrals. The most famous examples are those of Notre Dame de Paris. many of which were humorous.

Rather. and replaced the external wall of the triforium with traceried glass. French cathedrals focus in on the rush to the sky and vertical upsweep of walls and flying buttresses in an attempt to again. expanded the window areas. which is the highest of all Gothic Cathedrals and one of the last great High Gothic structures From 1226 to 1270. An example of this is St. The best example of Rayonnant is . known as the Rayonnant. the architects further reduced the masonry frame of the churches. which was the first cathedral to include flying buttresses from the first original plan of the building. containing windows) and above the large gallery over the side aisles. again.Saint-Denis led in the 1160s to the first of the great cathedrals. Of the earlier structure only the ambulatory and the west facade were preserved. Chapelle. both the interior and the exterior of the typical Rayonnant church now more nearly assumed the character of a diaphanous shell. and to a period of experimentation in voiding the walls and in reducing the size of the internal supports. Another attempt at simplifying and unifying the spaces inside the cathedrals was the simplification of the vault sections from sexpartite into quadripartite vaulting. like those of a wheel. consists of a narrow passageway inserted in the wall beneath the windows of the clerestory (upper part of the nave of a church. All these features of the Rayonnant were incorporated in the first major undertaking in the new style. Height was no longer the prime objective. Instead of the massive effects of the High Gothic cathedrals. unite space and light along an upward stretch for heaven. of the enormous rose windows that are one of the features of the style. Notre Dame (begun 1163) in Paris. opening up spaces and dissolving walls. Gothic architecture entered a new phase. where the clerestory was lengthened to such an extreme to form the most of the wall. The triforium opens out into the interior through its own miniature arcade. This style also focused on developing an organic feel of space and light and further simplified the wall elevation style into tripartite elevation. Saint-Denis Cathedral High Gothic started with the construction of Chartres cathedral. the rebuilding of the royal abbey church of Saint-Denis. getting rid of the gallery and lengthening the clerestory. High Gothic started to change the layout of the floor of the cathedral by evolving the early square schematics of Romanesque and Early Gothic into the rectangular bay system. This additional story. The addition of an extra story to the traditional three-story elevation of the interior increased the height dramatically. The word Rayonnant is derived from the radiating spokes. known as the triforium. The most extreme example of this is Beauvais Cathedral.

Late Gothic is most identified by the flamboyant style. which. rising from near the pavement to the arches of the vaults. The size also decreased. For this reason Early English Gothic is sometimes known as the "Lancet" or "First Pointed" style. Early English of the English Gothic started from the late 12th century until midway through the 13th century. Large windows.the Sainte-Chapelle. Although arches of equilateral proportion are most often employed. lightness of stone. are often of earlier. and Perpendicular. The most significant and characteristic development of the Early English period was the pointed arch known as the lancet. and organic forms. where the focus still remained on the inside unity. and a slight Celtic-Germanic style. occupy the entire area between the vaulting shafts. universities. like the medieval cathedrals. lancet arches of very acute proportions are frequently found and are a Westminster Abbey highly characteristic of the style. A notable example of steeply pointed lancets being used structurally is the apsidal arcade of Westminster Abbey. Gothic Architecture in the British Isles The Gothic Architecture in the British Isles or the English Gothic Architecture. B. Another important group of Gothic buildings in England are the parish churches. with many small detailed perforations. are largely built in the Gothic style. Many of the largest and finest works of English architecture. The English Gothic Architecture is divided into three styles: The Early English. palaces. not only in arches of wide span such as those of the nave arcade. Norman foundation. multiple buttressing. Late Gothic leaves many of the primary ideals of High Gothic behind. . The arched windows are usually narrow by comparison to their height and are without tracery. So also are castles. Pointed arches were used almost universally. the spacious palace chapel built by Louis IX on the Île de la Cité in the center of Paris. great houses. which comes from the French term for "flame-like. notably the medieval cathedrals of England. including almshouses and trade halls. Decorated. thus transforming the whole chapel into a sturdy stone framework for the radiant stained-glass windows. naturally evolved from the Romanesque Architecture which known in England as Norman Architecture. but also for doorways and lancet windows. but the sense of space and rush for height and size was entirely lost. and other buildings." The ornamentation is very lacy and flame-like.

Harvey (1978) puts the earliest example of a fully formed Perpendicular style at the chapter house of Old St Paul's Cathedral. Gothic Rose Windows are associated with great Gothic Churches and Cathedrals however some small Rose Windows were featured in the Chapels of Gothic Castles. The innovative use of vaults and buttresses in weight support allowed for the elaborate Rose Windows to be featured in the building as a major entry of light. Gothic Architecture in Germany and Central Europe During the 15th century Germany experimented with their Gothic and Medieval Architecture designs. Rose Windows were a decorative by-product of the development of stained glass. it is also known as International Gothic. that is. which were built with a long section where people could sit. Emphasis was placed on creating hall churches. The Perpendicular style began to emerge c. built by William Ramsey in 1332. churches with apses (a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome). they were situated at both the east and west ends of the building. a shallow gallery of arches within the thickness of inner wall. German Gothic designs used double choirs. German architects worked with Gothic vault structures in an attempt to create the largest possible spaces with ceiling design. which mostly translated into elaborate tracery for windows and paneling. On each side of the nave there was a lower aisle. Martin’s. 1350. German designers experimented with geometrical figures and lines. The Perpendicular Gothic period is the third historical division of English Gothic architecture. Examples of these hall churches in Germany include St. and is so-called because it is characterised by an emphasis on vertical lines. the nave and the isle were fashioned to be the same height. Mouldings used were simple and basic. It was a development of the Decorated style of the late 13 th century and early 14th century.The Decorated Style is characterised by wider windows. Details incorporated into designs were borrowed from Italian Gothic design. It began under the royal architects William Ramsey and John Sponlee. and lasted into the mid 16th century. Part of this is attributed to the fact that brick was an . and fully developed in the prolific works of Henry Yevele and William Wynford. The windows were decorated with tracery and ornamentation. German architects created a large collection of brick buildings in their medieval designs. C. which stands above the nave. the Rectilinear style. Typically. Landshut. or Late Gothic. The most internal distinctive feature of German Gothic design was the great height of the triforium. a collection that is not seen as much in other European countries. called the nave.

Isabelline Gothic is made under the Catholic Monarchs. in the 13th century. Altes Rathaus in Wildeshausen and the Regensburg Cathedral. coastal region of northwestern Europe. also called Benelux Countries. Gothic Architecture in Low Countries Low Countries.easy natural resource for builders. the Netherlands. the Way of Saint James. Some of the most pure Gothic cathedrals in Spain. and Luxembourg. Levantino is characterized by its structural achievements and the unification of space. An example of Isabelline Gothic is the Royal Chapel of Grenada which is a mausoleum that houses the remains of the Catholic Monarchs. Gertude at Nivelles. These designs could assume a delicacy and a degree of fantastic elaboration far beyond the scope of masonry or timber work. The High Gothic arrives with all its strength through the pilgrimage route. This was carried on to the Gothic Period. Although Gothic buildings in Germany possess many universal structures specific of Gothic Architecture. The trademark building of German Gothic are the. the distinct characteristic of the Gothic Architecture in the Low Countries cannot be determined because the relevant structures have disappeared. Gothic Architecture in Spain and Catalan Countries Spanish Gothic Architecture started as a result of Central European influence in the 12th century when late Romanesque alternated with few expressions of pure Gothic architecture. Metal work was the art of the Low Countries. E. Gothic shrine-builders became experts in metal structures. consisting of Belgium. Heidelberg Castle. The most important post−thirteenth-century Gothic styles in Spain are the Levantino & Isabelline Gothic.that supposed a transition to Renaissance. The Low Countries are bordered by Germany to the east and France to the south. D. An example is S. many of the buildings possess a distinct national character that is not found in other European countries. Aside from this. . An example of the Levantino style is the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma or commonly known as La Seu. with German and French influence. were built at this time.

. The plan is usually regular and symmetrical. often adapting the construction techniques to the local traditions. The crossing is usually surmounted by a dome. Italian architects preferred to keep the construction tradition established in the previous countries. and in other European countries. also featuring Antelami's influences.Gothic Architecture in the Catalans grew up and was strengthened during the 13th and 14th centuries a moment of prosperity in trade and of prestige for the monarchy and the church. Gothic Architecture in Italy Cathedral of Santa Maria or also known as La Seu The Gothic architecture appeared in Italy in the 12th century. F. the walls decorated with frescoes and the apse with mosaic. The first Italian Gothic structures were Cistercian abbeys. The distinctive characteristic of Italian Gothic is the use of polychrome decoration. are Chiaravalle Abbey the Parma Baptistery by Benedetto Antelami and the church of Sant'Andrea in Vercelli. The most important Gothic structures in the 12th century include the Chiaravalle Abbey in northern Italy and the Casamari Abbey in central Italy. and where the columns may be painted red. and except in Venice where they loved flamboyant arches. Among the non-Cistercian buildings of this century which were influenced by the Gothic style. There is often a free-standing tower and baptistery. The proportions are generally mathematically simple. military and religious architecture. Colours and mouldings define the architectural units rather than blending them. the favourite narrative medium for the interior is the fresco. although stained glass windows are often found. Aesthetically. in Italy the vertical development was rarely important. Italian cathedrals have few and widely spaced columns. though still presenting important Romanesque features. Italian cathedral façades are often polychrome and may include mosaics in the lunettes over the doors. based on the square. The result was the adoption of characteristic architectural forms and construction methods in civil. The windows are not as large as in northern Europe and. where it had originated. Italian Gothic always maintained peculiar characteristic which differentiated its evolution from that in France. The eastern end usually has an apse of comparatively low projection. both externally as marble veneer on the brick façade and also internally where the arches are often made of alternating black and white segments. and do not usually have a tower. They spread in the whole Italian territory. the arches are almost always equilateral. The façades have projecting open porches and occular or wheel windows.

completed in 1851. is an architectural movement in England which began in the 1740s. The earliest documented example of the revived use of Gothic architectural elements is Strawberry Hill. consecrated in 1846. Its most famous practitioner is English born Richard Upjohn. buildings such as churches and institutions of higher learning were constructed in the Gothic style in England and in the United States until well into the 20th century. Gothic Revival Gothic Revival. Strawberry Hill interior Gothic Revival architecture came to America from England about 1830. interest spread rapidly to the continent of Europe. Upjohn's best known work is Trinity Church in New York City. He designed St. As in many of the early Gothic Revival buildings. which is also known as Victorian Gothic or NeoGothic. The style became widespread for its intrinsic appeal in the third quarter of the 19th century. in contrast to the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time. . a country house with a tower 270 feet high. Its popularity grew rapidly in the early 19th century. His churches served as patterns for countless buildings throughout the country. Paul's Cathedral in Buffalo.IV. when increasingly serious and learned admirers of neo-Gothic styles wanted to revive medieval forms. the home of the English writer Horace Walpole. The Gothic Revival was to remain one of the most potent and longlived of the 19th-century revival styles. Another early example of the tendency toward ornamentation and decoration was Fonthill Abbey. the Gothic was used here for its picturesque and romantic qualities without regard for its structural possibilities or original function. designed by James Wyatt. in Australia. In parallel to the dominance of neo-Gothic styles in nineteenth-century England. South Africa and to the Americas. Although it began to lose force after the third quarter of the 19th century.

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