Gothic Architecture

  1. Abbot Suger

    Abbot Suger (1081 – 1151) is referred to as the father of Gothic architecture and design. Suger came from a humble knightly family and grew into one of the most influential church and statesman during the Middle Ages in France. In 1091 at the young age of 10, Suger was sent to the abbey of St.Denis to begin his education in religion.

    It is said that there, he befriended the future king Louis VI of France. By 1106 Suger became the secretary to the head of the monastery of Saint-Denis, and eventually over his career Suger became the head of the monastery of St.-Denis.

  2. Classic Gothic Architects

    Classic Architects and Artists:

  3. Ribbed Vault

    The ribbed vault was used by Gothic architects to give the buildings flexibility in roof and wall engineering. These vaults were easier to construct when comparing them to the barrel vault, and they were also stronger and more flexible. Moreover, the vault was lighter, easier to build, economical and more enduring.

     Ribbed Vault

  4. Pointed Arch

    Pointed arches were used in Gothic architecture to help support the overhead weight of vaulted ceilings. Rounded arches previously used could not support the increased height, width and weight of new building designs. The concept of the pointed arch operates in a similar manner as two leaning objects.

  5. Flying Buttress

    The flying buttress was used as an external support structure and it transferred the thrust of the roof outwards and down. This design allowed for the creation of open-spaced, light-filled cathedrals and buildings in the medieval period and operated as “slender extended finders holding up the walls” (Art Through the Ages, 12th edition).

  6. Buildings and Structures



  7. Gates

    Many of the Gothic architectural designs used during the Medieval had military purposes and served to improve building strength and efficiencies, in addition to bringing elaborate creativity and designs. Aside from its influence on general building design, Gothic architecture also played a large role in the development of gates and bridges. Architects of the time attached great importance to the development and design of these structures, just as they understood the importance of tower and vault innovation.

  8. Castles

    Castles are academically defined as a private fortified residence occupied by lords, nobles and their kin during the medieval period. Typically, castles were built and owned by feudal lords for themselves and/or for their monarchs. Gothic castles and their distinctive architectural designs emerged as a stark contrast to earlier fortress designs.

  9. Bridges

    Gothic design also introduced the drawbridge, which consisted of a wooden platforms suspended by chains to cross-beams. The principle used to construct these designs was similar to the functioning principles of a see-saw. When lowered, the bridge created a passage across the moat. The bridge was raised by depressing the inner ends of the lever-beams, which then pivoted, thus bringing the platform up vertically against the front of the building.

  10. Italy Gothic Architecture

    Gothic Architecture in Italy, as with other European countries, adopted English styles of art. However; Italian artists created a few distinctive features in their work. Marble veneer was utilized on brick, which allowed architects to create alternating patterns and designs. Some arches were designed with an alternating black and white pattern, which appeared as a superficial segmentation.


Subscribe to Gothic Architecture