c. 1140 – 1450
Western Europe — Influences: new vault and arch engineering developed in France, including flying buttresses

In the Middle Ages between the 12th and 15th centuries, new engineering feats and increased wealth in Western Europe helped evolve the Romanesque style to soaring heights found in Gothic architecture.

French Gothic, France

Originating in France in 1140, Gothic architecture continued into the 13th- and 14th-century as the style began to evolve. The Gothic style is characterized by curved stone ceilings with high interior sexpartite ribbed vaults, and tall pointed arches supported by columns, where considerable height was made possible utilizing the exterior support of flying buttresses.

Pointed roof gables and spires used decorative elements such as tracery, stone bars forming a pattern in windows or stone surfaces, pinnacles tops, crockets projecting from hips or along gabled ends, stained-glass imagery, round rose windows, and gargoyles for protection from evil spirits.

Chartres Cathedral

In addition to enjoying rich cafés, fresh local cuisine, regional wine and chévre cheese, we set out to experience the home to some of the world’s greatest architecture… the Loire Valley. This fertile terrain is rich in scenic antiquity and France’s aristocratic past. Abundant with historical fortresses, chateaux and churches, high on my list of places to visit was the UNESCO World Heritage…

Valencian Gothic, Spain

Prevalent from the 13th to the 15th centuries, double curves and tracery elements characterize Valencian Gothic architecture, which is clearly influenced by French Flamboyant Gothic cathedrals—lacy “flame-like” stone tracery (ornamental open stonework), gargoyles (thought to protect from evil spirits), pinnacle moldings, and steeply or ogee (S-shaped) pointed arches—as do the craft of Mudéjar (Iberian Muslim) artisans, evident in the diamond and star-shaped patterns.

A Gothic Treasure: The Valencia Silk Exchange, La Lonja de la Seda

Light streams between a forest of spiral stone columns. Each support twists upward, branching into a delicate web of ribbed groin vaults overhead. This airy—seemingly weightless—volume exalts Valencia’s commercial hub, unique to its time. The History of This Temple of Trade When Pere Compte (renowned master builder from Girona) began construction of this trade center…