Gothic architecture was popular in Europe from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the 17th century. Prevalent in churches and universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, gothic architecture is defined by three basic elements:
- Pointed, or ogival, arches: A narrow steeply pointed ogival arch is sometimes known as a lancet arch. The vertical stress lines of the pointed arch direct the weight down to the supporting pillars. This provided a structural advantage over the semicircular arches of Roman architecture and formed the basis of all other aspects of Gothic architecture.
- Rib vault: Gothic architects used the rib vault because they were easier to construct compared to the barrel arch; were stronger and more flexible and they were more economical to build.
- Flying buttress: This is basically a specific type of buttress that extends from a separate column to form an arch with the wall that it is supporting.
The Gothic Revival began in England during the second half of the 18th century and extending throughout the 19th century. While neo-gothic architecture retained the elements of the Gothic style, their arrangement was uniquely modern.
Horace Walpole's Gothic Castle at Strawberry Hill, built in 1749, is located in the affluent neighborhood of Richmond in West London. Domestic and highly decorative, it helped to make the style fashionable. Other examples of neo-gothic architecture in London include The Palace of Westminster, St. Pancras Railway Station, 33-35 Eastcheap, and Tower Bridge.
Canada is home to several dozen specimens of Neo-Gothic architecture, from Catholic Cathedrals, government buildings, and institutes of education. The Parliament buildings, overlooking the Ottawa River, officially opened in 1866 and comprise a complex of three separate buildings, are a fantastic example of Neo-gothic architecture
A rather eclectic example of Neo-Gothic architecture, also in Canada, is the Ottawa Normal School. Designed by Walter R. Strickland, the structure is characterized by a symmetrical facade, a projecting center, and side pavilions with gabled entrances. The Second Empire-style roof bears a spired belfry, turrets, and ornamented ridges.
In the United States, the largest and most celebrated Neo-Gothic-style structure is St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan. Capable of accommodating 3,000 people, St. Patrick's was fashioned from brick and clad in marble quarried from Massachusetts and New York. Designed by James Renwick, Jr., it was constructed to replace Old St. Patrick's Cathedral in Lower Manhattan. While the cornerstone was laid in 1858, the Civil War halted progress for 20 years. The building was completed in 1878.
Germany is host to the archetypal fairytale castle in the form of Castle Drachenburg in Konigswinter. Belgium, Brazil, Australia, Denmark, France all have impressive collections of structures from the era, and even Indonesia, Barbados, and India have more examples than you might expect.
As you can see there are several places around the world you can find this interesting architecture style. Artist Nomads should definitely check these areas out if they have any interest in this style.