Classic Elements

While the Gothic style can vary according come location, age, and kind of building, the is often defined by 5 an essential architectural elements: large stained glass windows, spicy arches, ribbed vaults, paris buttresses, and ornate decoration.

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Large Stained Glass Windows

While stained glass home windows are found in countless places the worship, lock are an especially prevalent in Gothic cathedrals. Featuring meticulously reduced colored glass, this kaleidoscopic windows—which are commonly either tall and also arched ‘lancet" windows or ring ‘rose" windows—are larger than those discovered in other varieties of churches. This permitted them come let in an ext dazzling light.

Interior that Sainte-Chapelle, Paris (Photo: Jean-Christophe BENOIST (Own work) , via Wikimedia Commons)

Gothic stained glass windows additionally frequently attribute tracery, a decorative kind of rock support, and also detailed scene from Biblical stories.

Photo: WikiImages

Pointed Arches

A primary function of many religious structures, ample archways can be discovered in many Gothic churches and cathedrals. Fairly than the wide, rounded arches characteristic of Romanesque buildings, however, architects working in the Gothic style adjusted the tall, slim pointed arcs found in Islamic architecture.


Photo: WikiImages

This silhouette accentuated every cathedral"s height, symbolically pointed towards the sky, and accommodated similarly-shaped vaulting.

Ribbed Vaults

In order to incorporate higher ceilings and also taller windows right into their designs, Gothic architects made use of a new method of structure support referred to as ribbed vaulting. Ribbed vaulting involves the use of intersecting barrel vaults—arches placed parallel come one another in order to assistance a rounded roof.


Photo: NakNakNak

In enhancement to showcasing a an ext decorative aesthetic than timeless barrel vaults, this criss-crossed constructions offer raised support for the sky-high buildings.

Flying Buttresses

On peak of these progressed vaulting techniques, Gothic architects employed one more unique method of structure support: paris buttresses. These projecting rock structures reinforced the buildings by redistributing the load of the hefty roof to a lower, much more solid level.


Photo: Rodney Bamford

Flying buttresses ensured the cathedrals" truth so that architects go not should sacrifice the thin wall surfaces and big windows distinctive that the Gothic style.

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Ornate Decoration

A final feature uncovered in Gothic design is the presence of ornate decorative elements. These incorporate embellished colonnades and colonettes, sculptural moldings, statues the saints and historical figures, pinnacles and also spires, and also gargoyles, grotesque figures that twin as water spouts.