In Gothic Europe a new lifestyle emerged. The middle class emerged during the Gothic era and consisted mainly of artisans and merchants. This middle class therefore made a comfortable living and could afford to build their own houses and decorate them with the funiture and decorations that was popular at this time. During this time period luxuries were introduced as well as intellectual discourses that resulted in the doubt of certain practices in religion the eventually led to the reformation. Also, women were more educated and rose to a higher standing in society, having managed estates in the absence of their husbands.
Motifs- Some geometric shapes, such as lozenges or zigzags, continue from the Romanesque.
Trefoil, Quarefoils and Cinquefoils
Foilage Diaper Pattern
Cathedrals, parish churches, and other ecclesiastical structires are the most common building types. Universities, the newly formed guilds, and prosperous towns build halls and meeting places. Indicating their importance in town life, most Continental cathedrals are in the center of town, surrounded by markets, dwellings, and other secular structures.
Types include castles, palaces, town houses, manor houses, and country houses. The castles are sited for defense and protection of territor, usually on hills or along lines of defense, rivers, or Roman roads. Manor houses are situated in parks surrounded by green space to set them off.
Private Building Floor Plans- Castles
Materials- Cathedrals and important building are of local stone or brick because transporting distances is too difficult. Some have colored stones arranged in stripes, and decorative Romanesque mosaics. Homes and castles were made out of local brick and wood from around the area.
Facades, Windows and Doors- Cathedrals have vertical tripartite division, marked by buttresses, correspond to the nave and aisles. Sculptures; rose windows; tall pointed arches , arched windows, twin towers, Buttresses are used instead of column and flying buttresses are used for extra support. Their are usually three portals; doorways, crapped with pointed arches and pinnacles.
Materials-Cathedrals feature walls of local stone. Color comes from the stained glass. Some Cathedrals have timber vaults with wooden ribs.
Walls- Most cathedral walls have three stories like Romanesque cathedrals. The lowest portion is an arcade of pointed arches supported by compound piers or columns. The gallery or triforium have shorter arched openings into the nave. Clerestory windows are above.
Columns and Capitals-Arcade supports may be single round columns, compounds columns of pier and engaged columns, or clusters. Common capital motifs are human and animals forms.
Ceilings- They are vaulted with four or more ribs in each bay. The masonry between ribs may be painted blue with gilded stars or other motifs.
Great Hall, the most characteristic room in the medieval house, is a mulitifuncional living space until well into the 12th century. Evolving from an aisled space to a large vaulted room, this space was used for entertaining and to conduct business. Having this space also shows power and wealth.
Color- Favored colors are highly saturated green, bule, scarlet, violet, white, brown, and russet.
Lighting- Firelight, torches, and a few candles or lamps. Light fixture and candleholders are made of wrought iron.
Textiles- Fabric hangings are the most common wall treatments in the period.
Furnishings and Decorative Arts
Mateials- Pine, oak, and walnut are most common woods. Many pieces are hand painted in bright colors or guilded to highlight turning and carving.
Textiles- Fabrics include cotton, linen, and silk in plain and twill weaves, damask, and velvets. Wool is the most common furnishing fabric. Colors are brown, green, russet, violet, and scarlet.