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Medieval Architecture

Medieval life and Times

Medieval Architecture
The following links provide access to facts and interesting information about Medieval Architecture:

Gothic Architecture
History of Gothic Architecture
Gothic Arch

Romanesque Architecture
Characteristics of Romanesque Architecture
Medieval Architects
Medieval Castle Architecture

Medieval Architecture
Medieval Architecture featured different styles which were called Romanesque, the French Style, Perpendicular style both more commonly as Gothic architecture. The following dates clarify the different styles of Medieval Architecture:

  • Romanesque Architecture - 1066 to 1200 - Norman or Romanesque architecture
  • Gothic Architecture - 1200 to 1300 - Early English Gothic Architecture ( also called Lancet Gothic architecture )
  • Gothic Architecture - 1300 to 1400 - Decorated style of Gothic Architecture featuring Gargoyles
  • Perpendicular Gothic Architecture - 1400 to 1500 - Perpendicular style of Gothic Architecture

Characteristics of different types of Medieval Architecture
The characteristics of the different types of Medieval Architecture are as follows:

  • Romanesque Architecture - 1066 to 1200 - Romanesque architecture is characterized by round arches and vaults and by the substitution of piers for columns. Romanesque architects and builders generally used round arches and only very occasionally employed slightly pointed ones.
  • Gothic Architecture - 1200 to 1500 - Gothic architecture is characterized by stained-glass windows, gargoyles, flying buttresses, tall spires, turrets and pointed arches.

Medieval Architecture
Architecture during the Medieval times of the Middle Ages saw many innovative changes from the Romanesque style of architecture to the Gothic style of architecture. Romanesque architecture was the name given to the style of architecture used in very early Middle Ages when much of these developments were pioneered by the Normans and their prolific castle building. Romanesque Architecture was succeeded by Gothic, or Perpendicular style of architecture of the later Middle Ages (1066 - 1485)  To appreciate the full extent of the changes in Medieval Architecture it is helpful to understand its fore-runner - Romanesque Architecture. For comprehensive information please refer to:

Medieval Castles

Medieval Architecture - Romanesque Architecture
The early Middle Ages saw the emergence of Romanesque architecture. Romanesque Architecture is the term which is used to describe the building styles which were used between 800 - 1100AD. The name of this style of Middle Ages architecture leads to the immediate association with this style of architecture is with the Roman Empire. The reason for this association are the similarities between Roman Architecture especially the Roman 'barrel vault' and the Roman arch. The Middle Ages Romanesque Architecture was the first major style of architecture to be developed after the collapse of the Roman Empire.

Romanesque Architecture - Defining Features
The Romanesque Architecture of the Middle Ages can be defined as having the following features:

  • Stone used in Romanesque architecture was cut with precision
  • The use of the Roman arch led to the stone being supported in the middle by the arch construction
  • Buttresses were introduced as a means of support to the basic design in Romanesque architecture in Medieval Times
  • The vault was developed to enable the construction of stone roofs. Barrel or Tunnel Vaults - consisted of a continuous surface of semicircular or pointed sections resembling a barrel or tunnel which has been cut in half lengthwise. Groin Vaults were produced by the intersection, at right angles of two barrel vaults. The arches of groin vaults were either pointed or round

Medieval Architecture - Gothic Architecture
The later Middle Ages saw the emergence of Gothic style architecture. Gothic or Perpendicular Architecture is the term which is used to describe the building styles which were used between 1200 - 1500AD. Middle Ages Gothic architecture and decoration originally emerged in France. It was initially called "The French Style". The name Gothic which is used to describe this style of Middle Ages architecture was a derisive term alluding to the Barbaric Goths who sacked Rome in 410AD. The name Gothic architecture was coined by people who were appalled at the abandonment of classical Romanesque lines and proportions.

GothicArchitecture - Defining Features
The Romanesque Architecture of the Middle Ages can be defined as having the following features:

  • The use of the Gothic arch led to the construction of light and airy structures - lightening and heightening of Gothic structures
  • Wider window openings
  • Gothic Rose Windows
  • Flying buttresses
  • An increased number of towers
  • Decorative designs and sculptures including Gargoyles

GothicArchitecture - The Pointed Gothic arch
The Medieval Gothic Arch was a major feature of Middle Ages architecture. The Medieval architects and builders discovered the amazing strength and stability of using pointed arches. The walls of Gothic buildings could be thinner than previous styles of architecture because the weight of the roof was supported by the arches rather than by the walls. The pointed Gothic arch provided greater flexibility could also could span greater distances, allowing vaults to be taller and wider. Thinner walls had wider window openings which encouraged the use of stained glass and the distinctive Gothic Rose Windows.

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