Characteristics

Architecture is the living voice of the past and a window into history that reveals decades of  theology. Gothic Architecture, also known as Medieval architecture, is the product of multiple generations of influence. Characteristics include the pointed arch, ribbed vault and flying buttress. Spanning from the 12th to the 16th century this style, also called "French Style" flourished and peaked during the high and late medieval period. This art form evolved from Romanesque architecture, which later developed into Renaissance design.  

Sainte Chapelle - Paris, France   

Interestingly, the term “Gothic” used to describe this style is misleading because it implies that this genre of architectural design was influenced by the Goths or Visigoth tribes. Realistically, those tribes were wiped out by the 6th century and so there was no influence on this art form. The term “Gothic” used to describe these distinctive architecture designs is just convention.

Influences of this style are seen in castles, palaces, houses, universities and town halls. Its designs are popular all over the world, especially in European countries. No matter where the designs are found, its powerful beauty is pronounced and distinctive and is mysterious at the same time. 

 Features: 

  • Pointed Arch (also known as an equilateral arch)  
  • Ribbed Vaulting
  • Flying Buttress
  • Intricate detail in carvings and paintings
  • Emphasis on increased vertical stature and indoor light to create soaring and open spaces
  • Paintings and ornamentation with aesthetically pleasing colors and details
  • Exceptionally tall naves
  • Expansive area of windows (and rose windows), increasing light internally
  • Large and embellished facades
  • Decorative themes incorporating biblical stories
  • Decorative window tracery
  • Elaborate color and detail on exposed surfaces to emphasize extravagance
  • Use of limestone and colored marble in some buildings

Gothic architects used the flying buttresses to support pointed arches. Basically, this meant that rather than placing the buttress directly next to the arch wall for support, the buttress was attached to the wall with a smaller connecting arch arm, creating support for the walls and rounded arches. This displaced the force from the arch walls and buttress to the foundation. Because of the space the flying buttress created between the walls and the supporting buttresses, windows could be placed lower on walls where the sun could enter and could also be made larger.Additionally, pointed arches were used as opposed to rounded for increased roof support.


Architecture Styles: