Gothic Revival Architecture

Gothic Revival Architecture was an architectural movement, or style, in which forms and details of buildings were derived from the Gothic style of the Middle Ages. Beginning in Europe in the early 18th century the movement spread to America where it strongly influenced many architects and their buildings into the 20th century.

In the last 60 years of the 19th century this architectural style was often called Victorian, after Queen Victoria (1819-1901), during whose reign (1837-1901) it was built. The movement was given great impetus when the Queen insisted that architects Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860) and Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852) use the Gothic Revival style for English Houses of Parliament, which were designed in 1836 and completed in 1860.

From about the beginning of the 18th century Gothic Revival has been based on imagination, emotions, the unconventional, mysticism and the implied true Christianity of medieval forms and ornament. Gothic Revival architecture got off to a slow start in the United States. The first building of national importance was Trinity Church (1846), built in New York City, and designed by Richard Upjohn (1802-1878). This church received widespread recognition and helped greatly in the establishment of Upjohn as the dominant church architect and Gothicist of his time and as one of the most successful architects of all time. It also helped greatly in establishing a tradition of Gothic Revival as the predominant style for churches, a tradition that has lasted in some degree to the present time.


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last updated on June 10, 2004