The predominant architectural style during the Middle Ages in Europe was Gothic architecture. This style evolved from Romanesque architecture which was popular from the Early Middle Ages around the 6th century to the 11th century.
It originated in northern France where numerous Gothic cathedrals were constructed during this period in history. Gothic architects introduced the pointed arch as they replaced the semi-circle arches of Romanesque buildings.
This evolution resulted in pointed rib vaults and flying buttresses which allowed architects to construct much higher buildings as these elements provided additional structural support.
Gothic Revival architecture emerged in England in the mid-18th century and spread all across Europe by the 19th century. It continued to be used for churches and secular buildings all across the world well into the 20th century.
In this article, you’ll discover some of the most famous Gothic Revival buildings, structures that revived the most popular architectural style from the Middle Ages.
1. Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster is also known as the Houses of Parliament as it serves as the meeting place of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. This great building in London was constructed between 1840 and 1876 as a replacement for the medieval structure that burned down in 1834.
The structure was designed by renowned English architect Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860) in the Perpendicular Gothic Revival style, the third and final of Gothic Revival styles in England. It features two famous landmarks on each end as well, namely Big Ben and the Victoria Tower.
2. Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral is technically a Gothic church of which the construction started during the Middle Ages. It was only completed, however, in the 19th century using the original medieval plans of the structure. The first stone was laid in 1248 but the building was only completed in 1880.
The most distinctive elements of the church are its twin spires, typical Gothic elements that reach a height of 157 meters (515 feet) above the ground below. This makes it the tallest twin-spired church in the world and the third-tallest church in the entire world.
3. Hungarian Parliament Building
The Hungarian Parliament Building is arguably one of the most amazing secular Gothic Revival buildings in the world. It’s the home of the National Assembly of Hungary and one of the most famous landmarks in the city of Budapest, the capital of the country.
The building was constructed between 1885 and 1902 and also features Baroque architecture and some touches of Renaissance architecture. It features a stunning dome in the center. With a floor area of 18,000 square meters (193,800 square feet), it has been the largest building in Hungary since its completion.
4. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of New York and one of the most amazing buildings in New York City. The building was completed between 15 and 1878 and its Gothic Revival architecture is distinctive in a city that is full of fascinating skyscrapers.
The cathedral was dedicated in the year 1879 but it didn’t feature the two Gothic spires yet at that time. These were only added in the year 1888 and the Lady Chapel of the church in New York City was only completed between 1901 and 1906.
5. Las Lajas Sanctuary
Las Lajas Sanctuary is officially known as the “National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Las Lajas.” This stunning feat of architecture was constructed on the location of a Marian apparition which presumably happened in the 18th century.
The original chapel on this location was replaced with an amazing Gothic Revival building that was completed between 1916 and 1949. The construction of this remarkable church took so long because of the complicated location of the church above a canyon of the Guáitara River in southern Colombia.
6. Woolworth Building
The Woolworth Building is one of the ultimate masterpieces of renowned American architect Cass Gilbert (1859-1934), an early proponent of skyscrapers. This tower with Gothic Revival elements is located in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, just north of the city’s main financial district.
This early skyscraper was completed between 1910 and 1913 and stands 241 meters (792 feet) tall. This height made it the tallest building in the world between 1913 and 1930. It was renovated multiple times and especially its crown makes it one of the most distinctive NYC landmarks.
7. Tribune Tower
New York City isn’t the only city in the United States that is home to a Gothic Revival skyscraper. One of the most famous skyscrapers in Chicago, a structure called the Tribune Tower, features stunning Gothic elements as well.
The building was constructed between 1923 and 1925 at the height of the Roaring Twenties and served as the headquarters of the Chicago Tribune, a popular local newspaper. The tower overlooks Pioneer court, the location believed to have been where Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, the founder of modern-day Chicago, constructed his home.
8. Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is without a doubt the most iconic bridge in London. That’s mainly because of its distinctive twin towers that dominate the area near the Tower of London. The bridge was designed in such a way to resemble this famous castle in England.
What’s remarkable about this Gothic Revival building is that the towers consist of a steel structure and the distinctive towers are merely clad Cornish granite and Portland stone. Despite this notion, it’s by far the most impressive Gothic Revival bridge in the world.
9. Washington National Cathedral
The Washington National Cathedral is officially known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington. It’s a cathedral of the Episcopal Church, an Anglican community in the United States, and was constructed between 1906 and 1988.
The Gothic Revival architecture of the cathedral closely resembles that of the Gothic style that was dominant in England in the 14th century. Its main architectural features are pointed arches, stained-glass windows, and flying buttresses, all typical Gothic elements. It’s the second-largest church in the United States after the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
10. Strawberry Hill House
Gothic Revival architecture emerged in England in the 18th century and one of the pioneering buildings of this style can be found in Twickenham, a borough in the southwest of London. The Strawberry Hill House was constructed in various phases between 1749 and 1776.
The building was commissioned by Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1717-1797), who was an English writer, art historian, antiquarian, and politician of the Whig party. It was the first structure to be completely built in the Gothic style since the Middle Ages, meaning it launched Neo-Gothic architecture.