Gothic Style in Modern Architecture: Bringing the Middle Ages to the 21st Century
Gothic Style in Modern Architecture: Bringing the Middle Ages to the 21st Century

Gothic architecture used to be the most popular time for quite a while. We usually underestimate how long the middle ages were. The style has emerged during the high and late middle ages and has remained a popular choice for buildings ever since.

Even if it has fallen a bit out of practice due to cleaner, cheaper, and arguably simpler architectural styles, it still has its cult following. Not only is the Gothic subculture engrained with the music, but it’s also really into the architectural style as well!

Gothic architecture has remained popular for a while and still is to an extent. We’ve seen a sudden surge in popularity of the Gothic revival movement, which seems to combine modern architecture with the old style. It has also seen a reemergence when it comes to interior design, especially in high-end homes.

But how is an architectural style which has emerged centuries ago still influences modern architects and designers? To get to the bottom of this, we first need to get into a little bit of history.

The Rise and Fall of Gothic Architecture

The Gothic architectural style has evolved from Romanesque architecture and has been a staple of Europe for a significant period of the middle ages. It was later succeeded by the Renaissance movement, which also boasts a considerable influence to this day.

This architectural style has seen a split into a couple of different styles, which are different in several details. While these styles all have their particular and defining features, they’re all following the preset that the original early Gothic style has provided.

This form of architecture sees its implementation to this day in the form of Christian Churches. The Catholic church still prefers this style and has been using it to this day. Most of the famous cathedrals around the world are projected and designed in this style, most notable of which is the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Gothic architecture has fallen out of use in the late 16th century and was replaced by a variety of different movements and styles. But it never died out, unlike most other architectural styles. Its complexity makes it one of the most sought after methods for high-end buildings.

The features that define this architectural style are the rib vault and flying buttress. These allowed the weight of the roof to counterbalance outside the building, making them magnificently high and spacious. Another prominent feature is stained glass.

This feature is most notable when it comes to places of worship or religious buildings in general. The last point that Gothic architecture embeds within itself is the use of realistic statues in the design. The use of figures within buildings and building complexes has existed as far back as architecture – but this style brought it to the building itself.

The buildings are often ornamented with a lot of different, intricate shapes and statues, to enhance their theatrical appearance. Some of the most notable buildings and structures which were projected in this style are the Abbey of Saint-Denis, Noyon Cathedral, Laon Cathedral, Notre Dame de Paris, Chartres Cathedral, Bourges Cathedral, and Amiens Cathedral.

The Persistence and Reemergence of Gothic Architecture

While the Gothic architectural style might have fallen out of fashion by the late century, it has remained for quite a while. It’s also notorious for being very sturdy, and since it has seen its primary use in places of worship, it’s persistence isn’t surprising.

One thing that the catholic church isn’t big on is demolishing their churches. This stands as one of the reasons that this style has persisted throughout the years. The churches, cathedrals, and buildings have stood for ages, and continue to hold to this day.

They have served as an inspiration to quite a lot of different architects, which has caused a reemergence of the style. Gothic Revival or Neo-Gothic has risen in the 18. Century, they are spreading the architectural style to a lot of new different things.

While the original style has been mostly implemented within religious places, the Neo-Gothic movement wasn’t exclusive to it. While there are cathedrals and churches which are styled in this manner, the Neo-Gothic movement was so widespread that its influence is visible to this day.

The buildings that were styled in the new version of the style were universities, streets, houses of parliament, and even residential buildings for wealthy individuals. When it comes down to the technique itself, it just picked up where Gothic architecture had left off.

The defining traits of Neo-Gothic architecture are the same as the classic Gothic architecture, with only minor details defining the movement. These defining features are the arabesque, ornamentation, and the addition of color into the interior of the buildings themselves. Not that the classic Gothic buildings didn’t have color, it was just less available at the time. Think of Neo-Gothic as an adaptation of the old style to the then-current times.

The Influence of Gothic Style in Modern Buildings

The aforementioned Neo-Gothic movement has never really fallen out of fashion, and is still in use today, to an extent. It is severely overshadowed by the much more straightforward modern architecture style, which is defined by simplicity, opacity, and symmetry.

But, even if the old style isn’t implemented nearly as much as it used to be, it doesn’t mean that the influence is gone – far from it. The impact that this form of architecture has on the modern-day building is far more significant than many imagine.

Modern-day churches are still being constructed in the original Gothic architectural style, and residential homes have quite a lot of influence on them. If you’ve ever seen anything that is riddled with intricate ornaments, it’s most likely inspired by the style.

The style emerged within the music scene and has been one of the defining genres for over four decades. Due to this, the experimentation with this architecture and style has been around for a while.

Sadly, parliamentary buildings and universities aren’t styled this way anymore, as much as we would like them to be. The issues that the Gothic style has with itself rest mostly with the price. While the form is extravagant, sophisticated, and gorgeous, it’s also costly and labor-intensive to accomplish.

This reason is why the modern Gothic architectural style is mostly reserved for residential mansions. Private mansions, especially the high-end ones, are heavily influenced by medieval architecture. Because the style is expensive and extravagant, people tend to take it as a status symbol.

Most high-end residential mansions have some form of Gothic style within their architecture, and that’s a fact. They might not be styled with a flying buttress or stained windows, but other aspects are notably present.

Every time you see a statue, arabesque, elaborate ornamentation, or high ceilings combined with large windows – you can thank Gothic architecture for the sight.