Influence of Medieval Architecture (Gothic Architecture) on Contemporary and Modern Style

Influence of Medieval Architecture (Gothic Architecture) on Contemporary and Modern Style


Gothic Architecture

Gothic architecture is one of the most famous styles of architecture of the Middle Ages. Medieval architecture began after the 10th century and has been divided into several styles and styles.

Architecture is a facility consisting of a block and voids whose function is to accommodate human activity such as housing, worship and defensive work, and its condition is durability and comfort.

The history of architecture is divided into:

- Prehistoric architecture

- Neolithic architecture

- Greek architecture (1000-100) B.C.

- Roman architecture (750 B.C.-400 A.D)

- Early Christian architecture (100-650) A.D

- Medieval architecture

- Romanesque period (550-1150)A.D

- Islamic architecture (650-till now)

- Gothic (1150-1550) A.D

- Modern architecture (1750-till now)

Medieval architecture style: it is the architectural style that appeared in the period of Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic civilization since the fifth and sixteenth century AD.

This style spread in Asia, Africa, Europe, and it included Islamic architecture, including Umayyad and Abbasid architecture.

A certain style was adopted in each province, where the Byzantine style prevailed in Eastern Europe and the Romanesque and Gothic style emerged in Western Europe.

In the sixth century AD, Byzantine art developed This development appeared in the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice in Italy, the Basilica of Saint Basil on the Red Square in Moscow, and the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, which is characterized by a huge and large dome in Constantinople, is the most remarkable achievement of Byzantine architecture, which was designed by the architectural Animus and the aid of Asperdors, which later turned into a mosque after the fall of Constantinople.

The domes and their innovations in their conditions and methods of the establishment were the most important characteristic of the architecture of that era, especially the use of spherical triangles pendentives to carry those domes on the square halls under them and the small windows in its surroundings or the circumference of that cylindrical part. As a result of that, the horizontal projection of the churches in that era developed in line with the use of domes, so the projection became a large square nave above which the main dome and has four arms with a cross shape, and the ceiling of each of these arms in the form of a vault or half dome.

 As for the most important facilities in the Romanesque architecture, the churches that were established in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and England and the term Romansk means, like the Romans, where it seems that the Romanesque arts and architecture are nothing but reflections of ancient Roman arts and architecture that contain a mixture of Roman and Byzantine elements and were distinguished by the fact that their buildings and churches are thick-walled and pillars are close together.

The most important note in this model is the number of large basements, and this was due to the erosion of wooden ceilings. The method used was inspired by the Roman method, where the two vaults of the two circular semicircles intersect equally, resulting in the surface of the intersection being oval.

Among the most famous buildings that appeared in the Gothic civilization are the Chartres Cathedral and the Notre Dame Cathedral, but Gothic art and architecture have been exhibited by many artists and architects, where they criticized the Gothic art as being extremely complex and unorganized in its coordination, in addition to that it contradicts what seeks to revive art and architecture from the history of ancient Europe.

The role of the solid wall was also canceled and replaced with an opening that can be made of stained glass and large areas. This glass includes pictures and religious scenes decorated in different ways. The researchers point out that stained glass was transferred from Andalusia and through the Crusades to Europe and what distinguishes this glass is that it gives dim lighting from the inside to fit with The internal void (the atmosphere of worship).

As for Christian architecture, spiritual and intellectual life in the Middle Ages in Europe was centered around the church, monastery and tours. Looking at the plans for this period, we find two basic types:

• The Latin cross, such as the Roman basilica (where the lower end is greater than the rest of its equal sides), it consists of the main apse and 2 aisles, the column separates them. The aisles used like apse when the apse is crowded.

• The Greek cross is shaped like a plus sign, where the altar is located in the center of the church.

They also excelled in life architecture such as houses, castles and forts.

When the Middle Ages began the Western Roman Empire began to collapse and continued until the Renaissance and exploration.

Medieval architecture - Gothic architecture

At the beginning of the late Middle Ages the world witnessed the emergence of Gothic architecture. Gothic or Columnar architecture is the term used to explain the building styles used between 1200 - 1500 AD. Gothic and medieval ornamentation originally appeared in France. It was initially called the French style. The name Gothic that was used to explain this type of medieval architecture was an ironic term referring to the barbarian Goths who plundered Rome in 410 AD. The name Gothic was coined by people who were horrified by the abandonment of classical Roman lines and lineage.


 Various types of styles of English Gothic architecture. To distinguish each style Gothic is divided into three time periods:

- 1200 to 1300 - Early English Gothic style (also called Lancet)

1300 to 1400 - decorated Gothic style

- 1400 to 1500 - Vertical Gothic style of architecture

Gothic Architecture - Defining Features

Romanesque is often defined in the Middle Ages as having the following features:

- The use of the Gothic arch resulted in the construction of light and airy structures 

- Lighten and accentuate Gothic structures

- Wider window openings

- Gothic Rose Windows

- Flying struts

- Increase the number of towers

- Decorative designs and carvings including gargoyles

read more: Originality and modernity in architecture


How Egyptian architecture was influenced by the Gothic style

It is worth noting that the New Gothic style "moved" to Egypt from the second half of the nineteenth century until the first half of the twentieth century at the hands of a large number of European architects, especially the French and Italians, as some Egyptian buildings were affected by elements of Gothic architecture,

Despite the widespread reputation of the Gothic style in European countries, its implementation has not been expanded in Egypt during the past centuries; however, there are heritage buildings adorning Egyptian cities built in the same style at the beginning of the last century, most notably the Italian Consulate Complex in Port Said (northeast of Cairo) Finally, a mosque in the Izbat al-Nakhl area (east of Cairo) was built in the Gothic style, after this model was used only for building churches.

The Italian Consulate complex in Port Said includes a school, church, and consulate, all built in a unique Gothic style.

The first mosque in Egypt was built on the Gothic heritage in Cairo after the Gothic style was known to be the exclusive preserve of churches. The mosque is characterized by the presence of 4 pointed minarets from the top, overlooking two facades, while the arched glass facades adorn the shape of the outer mosque, in addition to small circular glass domes, a blue color, mitigating the light beige control of the mosque walls.

In the same vein, the villa of Fernande, famous for the villa "De Lesseps" that was built in the twenties of the twentieth century, is one of the most famous buildings of the Gothic style in Egypt and although it is relatively small in size it is characterized by a dazzling and unique view from the outside while surrounded by tall buildings from all directions, which it is not a museum as visitors think; it is a residential villa in which a family resides, and heritage lovers will only see it from the outside.

Modern architecture blends a lot of historical architectural styles, and therefore it will not be able to describe some Egyptian heritage and archeological buildings in Cairo and other historical cities as Gothic only.


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