Gothic Architecture Key Contribution from the Middle Ages

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Gothic Architecture

The technical revolution in architecture known as "Gothic" began at the end of the 12th century and lasted just over two hundred years. The advances made in architecture paralleled those in intellectual life. Gothic architecture was generally tall and inspiring and was a significant structural improvement upon the Romanesque buildings that preceded it.

Even though the Gothic era roughly lasted two hundred years (12th-14th century), it was long enough to voyage deep into the beautiful and complex world of architecture. These contributions revolutionized the building habits of the time, as well as, have a profound influence on the social, religious and political culture throughout the European world. This essay will provide a brief history of the Gothic Era and detail the essential elements of Gothic style. Also, insight will be provided on the influence Gothic Style had on the people and culture during the Middle Ages and how it has transcended to Modern times.

Brief History and Elements of Gothic Style

Gothic architecture made its debut in the cathedrals of France during the 12th century. Between 1130 A.D. and 1230 A.D. twenty-five cathedrals were built within 100 miles of Paris. All of them were "Gothic."

The historical style itself originated at the abbey church of St. Denis in Saint-Denis, near Paris, where it exemplified the vision of Abbot Suger. The first truly Gothic construction was the choir of the church, known as the Abbey of St. Denis, consecrated in 1144.

The architectural structure of the Abbey of St. Denis differed from previous churches in many ways. Most churches had wooden rafters, which were replaced with stone vaults, but Abbott Suger decided to replace the stone vaults with pointed arches and complex ribbed vaults. The pointed arches allowed for the stretching of the walls to an extreme height...