• 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
Airy & bright
Gothic architecture emphasised
light, bright windows and airy
interiors, transforming castles
and churches into more pleasant
and majestic environments.
Focus on Verticality
• In the times before gothic
architecture, Early Medieval
architects struggled to spread
the weight of heavy stone walls.
• One of the fundamental
characteristics of gothic
architecture was its height. New
building techniques (such as
the flying buttress, detailed
below) enabled architects to
spread the weight of taller walls
and loftier towers.
• It allowed churches and other buildings to
reach great height.
• Exert less thrust then semicircular arch
of same span.
• Solves geometric difficulty in ribbed vaults.
• It was impossible to arrange all arches and
ribs to a common level using
• With pointed arches, ribs could easily be
• Gothic builders introduced the
dramatic technique of ribbed
• Ribbed vaulting used columns
support the weight.
• The ribs also delineated the
vaults and gave a sense of unity
to the structure.
• It is placed at right angles to
the length of wall.
• It takes collected pressure of
the ribbed vaults and to
transmit it to the ground
• They gave extra support to
the roof and thinner walls.
• Walls could be opened with
Large stained glass
• Since the walls themselves were no
longer the primary supports, Gothic
buildings could include large areas of
• Huge stained windows and a profusion
of smaller windows created the effect of
lightness and space.
A pinnacle is an architectural
element originally forming the
cap or crown of a buttress or
small turret, but afterwards used
on parapets at the corners of
towers and in many other
• Gothic ornamentation is inspired by
nature. Columns sprout leafy capitals;
vines twist along screens.
• Humanity has its place too, with statues
ornamenting facades and corbels
carved with human heads.
• In addition to the practical function of
projecting water away from a
• Gargoyles were also intended
to symbolism 'guardianship' of the
building and to ward off evil spirits.
• Their open mouths were symbolic of
them devouring giants.
General plan of Gothic Architecture Church
The plan of most medieval Gothic churches
is in the form of the Latin cross or
“cruciform.” This means the body of the
building is made up of a long nave that runs
on an East-West axis crossed. The front of
the building is referred to as the “West
The nave is usually tall and has clerestory
windows that provide light. On either side of
the nave are aisles that generally have
lower ceilings than the nave, but not always.
The architectural features of the East End
vary greatly from country to country and
may contain the choir, presbytery, a
projecting chapel and smaller chapels, or an