Thursday, 26 May 2011

Gothic Architecture

Visiting most European cathedrals, abbeys and parish
churches that were built between the 12th century and the
16th century, you will notice the intricate, almost gaudy
structure with its peaks and spires and flying buttresses.

These architectural feats are commonplace for Gothic
architecture. Used also in castles and palaces as well as
government buildings and universities, but lesser found in
private dwellings, as its construction was extremely
costly.

Named not from the historical Goths, but from Giorgio
Vasari to describe the culture that was considered rude and
barbaric. At that time, Italy was building classical
structures and looked to the European buildings as garish
and showy.

The Gothic architecture utilizes local resources such as
various grades of limestone, and colored marble.

Not only was this a new building style, but also architects
were able to utilize new technology. The ogival and pointed
arches were integral in the Gothic architecture.

Emphasizing verticality and light, the inside -walls- were
not solid ones that we commonly know, but looked more like
the skeleton of a building. Clustered columns, pointed
ribbed vaults and flying buttresses were the finished
effect.

The Gothic architecture of cathedrals and abbys were
designed to be landmark buildings and rose high above the
rest of the town’s structures.

Another fantastic characteristic of the Gothic architecture
in these buildings was the enormous towers, pinnacles and
spires that loomed over the town. On the inside, the
pointed arches emphasized the height and helped to enhance
the decoration of the interior.

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