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Gothic Architecture (1140-1500)

Is a style of architecture which flourished in

Europe during the high and late medieval
Originated in France in 12th c., it was known
as "the French Style" (Opus Francigenum),
with the term Gothic first appearing during the
latter part of the Renaissance as a stylistic
Expressed most powerfully in great churches,
cathedrals and in a number of civic buildings;
Appealed to the emotions, with a strongly
religious and transcendental character.
Known for its verticality, lightness, illumination
and majesty.
With most churches dedicated to the Virgin
The epitome of Medieval architecture.

Basic Elements of Gothic Architecture

1. Ribbed Groin Vault

Origin of Gothic Architecture

Abbot Suger - friend and confidante of the

French Kings, Louis VI and Louis VII,
decided in about 1137, to rebuild the great
Church of Saint-Denis, and who literally
invented Gothic architecture.

Church of Saint-Denis (Ile de France)

originally of Carolingian faade, was
transformed to the first Gothic church in
1137 and completed in 1144.

2. Compound Piers

Church of St. Denis

Ile de France

3. Flying Buttress

Pointed Arches
5. Skeletal framework

4. Pointed Arches
6. Stained Glass windows

Noted Gothic Cathedrals/Churches


St. Denis Church (France) -1140

Laon Cathedral (Paris, France)- 1160
Notre Dame de Paris - c. 1163 1210
Chartres Cathedral (France) c. 1143
Reims Cathedral (France) c. 1211
Amiens Cathedral (France) c. 1220
Salisbury Cathedral (England) c. 1220
Milan Cathedral (Italty) 1386
St. Elizabeth (Hamberg, Germany)
c. 1223

Salisbury Cathedral

Notre Dame de Paris

St. Elisabeth (Hamburg, Germany)

Conclusion: Gothic Architecture

Inspired by Scholastic Philosophy (harmonious relationship between reason

and faith, exterior with interior);
Primary building type: City Cathedral
Openness which allowed to interact with
the city;
Emphasized verticality reflecting
transcental character (obsession for
height, e.g. towers and spires);
Height and luminosity were the criteria by
which they were judged
Gave an impression of lightness due to
the exo-skeletal structure;

Reims Cathedral