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  • Writer's picturechaithanya ganesh

The Architectural Movement: Gothic Architecture


History of styles of architecture make us yearn more to go back in time and witness the masterpiece afresh but like an old saying "As it age, the wine tastes finer".

Architecture is of significant importance and the underlying facts are often an opening door to a world not known much to the wider population.

Features and elements that make a building or any other structure identifiable can be referred to as to the style of that particular architecture.

Innumerable style of architecture is already in existence, we will be looking closely into Gothic Architecture for the day.

Gothic architecture is an architectural style that was particularly popular in Europe from the late 12th century to the 16th century, during the High and Late Middle Ages, surviving into the 17th and 18th centuries in some areas. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture.

Large stained glass windows, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses, and ornate decoration depicts the major characteristics of the gothic style of architecture.


The term Gothic was coined by classicizing Italian writers of the Renaissance, who attributed the invention of medieval architecture to the barbarian Gothic tribes that had destroyed the Roman Empire and its classical culture in the 5th century CE. It grew out of the Romanesque style of architecture where prosperity and relative peace led to cultural development and great building schemes for several years. This was originated in the middle ages and was prevalent in Europe throughout the mid-12th and 16th century.

High buildings, intricate aesthetics, cavernous spaces, and expansive walls are a part of this form of architecture.

Gothic Architecture came into existence because of the common architectural problems like poor lighting, dark and damp spaces, etc, in medieval times. And this form of architecture tried to solve some kind of problems and construct airy and light passing buildings.

This literally transformed dank living environments into majestic, light, and pleasant place of residence.

And back in the medieval time, Gothic architecture was termed as " the modern style". The gothic arch wasn’t just a workhorse. It had an aesthetic value and beauty which influenced many other features of gothic design – most notably the vaulted ceiling.

Below mentioned are the most significant features of Gothic Architecture:

1. The Pointed Arch

Source: Pinterest

The pointed arch is a key characteristic feature of Gothic design, this form distributes the force of heavier ceilings and bulky walls uniform which enables it to support much more weight.

2. The Vaulted Ceiling

Source: Architecture lab

This was an innovation sourced from the arch design, and an irregular vaulted ceiling is another aspect that utilized the technology of pointed arch to spread and uplift force and weight.

3. The grand tall design.


Height lists one of the fundamental characters of gothic architecture.

And making use of techniques like flying buttress makes it possible for the architects to spread weights of taller walls and more.

4. The Flying Buttress


This aspect defines the external characteristic of Gothic architecture. These buttresses act as a platform to spread the weight of the tall walls. The principle support is by transferring the weight to the ground.

These are the major four characteristics of Gothic Architecture. Gothic architecture was popular for a long time and even today inspiration is drawn from these ideals. Gothic revival movement combined modern architecture with an old-fashioned style which has also seen a reemergence in terms of interior design.

"The principle of Gothic Architecture is infinity made imaginable"

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge