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Gothic Revival Architecture

Gothic Revival Architecture

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Gothic Revival Architecture

Longueur:
102 pages
41 minutes
Sortie:
Jun 29, 2017
ISBN:
9781784422332
Format:
Livre

Description

From the Houses of Parliament to the Midland Hotel at St Pancras and Strawberry Hill House, Gothic Revival buildings are some of the most distinctive structures found in Britain. Far from a copy of medieval buildings, it was a style full of colour and invention, in which its exponents created a daring new approach to design. Throwing out the old Classical rule book, Gothic Revival architects like Pugin and George Gilbert Scott designed buildings which were asymmetrical in form and visually expressive of their function. The movement went beyond just bricks and mortar and had a strong moral code, the influence of which was still felt into the 20th century. In this illustrated book, Trevor Yorke tells the story of the Gothic Revival from its origins in the whimsical fancies of the Georgian Period through to its High Victorian climax.
Sortie:
Jun 29, 2017
ISBN:
9781784422332
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Trevor Yorke is a professional author and artist who has studied and written about various aspects of England's architectural and industrial heritage. He has produced many illustrated books that introduce the reader to these topics and writes articles and reviews for various magazines. He lives in the UK.


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THE GOTHIC REVIVAL

The Gothic Revival was the rediscovery and reinvention of medieval forms of architecture during the late eighteenth and nineteenth century. Its signature feature is the pointed arch. As one of its leading proponents G.E. Street stated, ‘Gothic … is emphatically the style of the pointed arch and not of this or that nation, or this and that age …’ The revival was more than simply applying this distinctive feature to contemporary structures and calling it Gothic. It transformed the way in which architects designed and constructed buildings and would influence architecture into the twentieth century. Nor was it an insular style limited to a specific point in the Middle Ages. As Street implied, inspiration came from a wide range of historical periods and from continental rather than just domestic sources. What began as an antiquarian interest in medieval buildings developed into a colourful, cosmopolitan and daring style, which cut short our prolonged obsession with the Ancient World and heralded in a more flexible and functional form of architecture.

The Midland Hotel, St Pancras, London, by George Gilbert Scott is a masterpiece of the Gothic Revival characterised by the use of the pointed arch and colourful decorative forms from across medieval Europe.

It was the Florentine artist and architect Giorgio Vasari who is first recorded as using the word ‘Gothic’. Writing in 1550 he used it as a derogatory term, implying that medieval architecture was created by the descendants of the Goths and was inferior to that of the Roman period: ‘Then arose new architects who after the manner of their barbarous nations erected buildings in that style which we call Gothic’. Ironically, what Vasari was unaware of was the fact that the buildings he criticised had been born out of a need to exceed the design limits of Roman methods of construction. The churches and cathedrals which were erected in Britain by the Normans still relied upon Roman-style rubble walls which were relatively thick to cope with the outward thrust imposed by the semi-circular stone vault and pitched roofs they carried. Openings made through these walls were hence small and deep, resulting in dark interiors. In the quest to make more graceful and lighter structures a new system was developed from the twelfth century in which stone ribs in the ceiling vaults directed their load onto piers and columns, which in turn were supported by buttresses on the outside of the building. This stone framework resisted the thrust from the vault and roof so there was no need for the walls between to be so thick; hence windows could become larger. The pointed arch was also devised around the same time, which had two arched segments hinged at the top forming the point. Unlike the less flexible Roman round arch, this allowed windows and vaults to be made wider without having to greatly increase the corresponding height.

The windows in St Mary’s church, West Walton, Norfolk, show the evolution of the pointed arch, from the steep pitched thirteenth-century type with geometric tracery on the left to the flatter fifteenth-century arch with the window divided vertically on the right.

Using these new-found engineering skills masons pushed the limits to make increasingly tall, spacious and elegant churches with ever-larger areas of glass. As windows became larger, so an increasingly elaborate stone framework (tracery) was created within, the style of which evolved over the centuries and has become a key method of dating churches. Into these were inserted colourful stained glass designs, honouring the wealthy who helped pay for the building and conveying messages from the Bible. Decorative carving was focused upon structural elements like capitals and pinnacles, with stylised foliage and mythical creatures a constant theme. The men who created these buildings passed their knowledge down through generations of local masons and craftsmen. New developments were made through trial and error and major changes in style were

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