11 Feb

Architecture was the most important and original art form during the Gothic period. The principal structural characteristics of Gothic architecture arose out of medieval masons’ efforts to solve the problems associated with supporting heavy masonry ceiling vaults over wide spans.They worked to achieve a better system, and thus changing the building style from that point forward. One on the first innovations they developed was a ribbed vault, in which arching and intersecting stone ribs support a vaulted ceiling surface that is composed of mere thin stone panels. Thus the weight was then greatly reduced  of the ceiling vault, and since the vault’s weight was now carried at discrete points (the ribs) rather than along a continuous wall edge, separate widely spaced vertical piers to support the ribs could replace the continuous thick walls. The round arches of the barrel vault were replaced by pointed (Gothic) arches which distributed thrust in more directions downward from the topmost point of the arch, and allowing for larger spans of spaces and everything else that goes along with being able to build higher, wider, and thinner. Flying buttresses also allowed for taller and thinner walls to be built, because instead of using the heavy masonry of the Romanesque period they were able to incorporate the extra support of the flying buttresses. Flying buttresses are now a key characterisitic of Gothic architecture, as are the ribbed vault and pointed arches.


Ideal Gothic Church by Viollet le Duc

Vaulting, Pointed Arches

Vaulting Techniques

Flying Buttresses

Gothic Window Types


Gothic architecture is also accentuated by the rose window!

Rose Window

Arundel Cathedral

 Gothic Chair

Gothic Bed

Gothic Cheval Mirror

 Gargoyle at Castle of Carcassonne

Gargoyles at Quito Cathedral, Ecuador

Gargoyles at Notre Dame de Paris


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