Medieval architecture played a key role in development of buildings, cathedrals, and chapels.


Gothic architecture borrowed the technology of the rib vault and arch from Romanesque period. However, gothic architectures developed two new styles of technology, the pointed arch and flying buttresses. The pointed arch combined the aspect of a regular arch, but instead incorporated a narrower point on the end. The narrower point allowed for more weight to be set on the arch. Flying buttresses were developed in order to take weight from the walls and evenly distribute it. The flying buttresses were designed so well, that in turn the walls of the cathedrals were made thinner and taller (Kidson).


Gothic architecture first appeared in France during 1120-1150. The first use of the combined rib vault was used in the Durham Cathedral. By the late medieval ages, the ambulatories and chapels were multiplied and set in contiguous series of uniform spaces. The new styles of ambulatories and chapels were used in Fécamp Abbey and Avranches Cathedral. Once, flying buttresses were developed, chapels and cathedrals were made larger, taller, and with thinner walls (Kidson).


A prime example of Gothic architecture can be seen at the Notre Dame Cathedral. The Notre Dame Cathedral features all major Gothic styles, pointed arches, buttresses, and Gothic sculptures and friezes.


Notre Dame West


Cathedral of Notre Dame


Kidson, P., et al. (n.d.). Gothic. Retrieved from Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online.