With its intricate ornamentation and complex ribbed vaulting, Gothic architecture introduced a slenderness and exuberance that was not seen before in medieval Europe. Epitomized by pointed arches, flying buttresses, and tall spires, Gothic structures were easily identifiable as they reached new heights not previously achievable, creating enigmatic interior atmospheres.
Several centuries later, a new appreciation for Victorian-era architecture was reborn in the United States with the Gothic Revival movement most famously depicted by Chicago's Tribune Tower. A series of computer-graphics (CG) renderings done by Angie's List reinterpret some of America's iconic architecture from the 20th century to mirror buildings from the Middle Ages. View the republished content from Angie's List complete with each building's informative descriptions below.
Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, California)
Engineered by Joseph Strauss and Charles Ellis alongside architect Irving Morrow, the Golden Gate Bridge’s art deco flourishes establish it as a landmark that was dreamt up in the 1920s – even if it didn’t open until 1937. The chevron design elements and organic form lighting were Morrow’s response to the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes of Paris, 1925, when the art deco movement was established. But when those curves and panels are replaced with the rigor and, let’s face it, pointedness, of the Gothic revival, the Golden Gate ends up looking somewhat… British?
Terminal Tower (Cleveland, Ohio)
Drawn-up in the Beaux-Arts style by architects Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, Cleveland’s towering 1930 landmark is already rich with neo-Gothic and neoclassical elements such as the steeply-pitched roof and arches. But the addition of brightly-lit stained-glass and extra pinnacles is just what the rather stern old building needs for a new lease of life.
The Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)
Edward E. Carlson’s iconic needle has a bold enough outline to withstand whatever cosmetic changes our designers add to it. The 604-foot futurist structure was originally painted with shades in keeping with its 1962 World Fair debut’s space-age feel: ‘Astronaut White,’ ‘Orbital Olive,’ ‘Re-entry Red,’ and ‘Galaxy Gold.’ But the Needle still cuts quite a figure in ‘Gothic grey.’ Its base provides support through structural pointed arches, but it’s the intricate mesh of the quatrefoil and clover-shaped windows as you reach the top that would make our version worth the visit.
Lincoln Memorial (Washington DC, District of Columbia)
Inspired by his studies in Europe, Henry Bacon drew up his design for this 1922 monument to Abraham Lincoln in the Greek Revival or neoclassical style. But his choice of various types of stone to construct his Parthenon tribute building was symbolic. Materials such as Massachusetts granite and Alabama marble created a ‘union’ theme that would have pleased Old Abe. Our redesigners have kept the stone feel but added clover windows and imposing-looking gargoyles atop those Doric columns for a bit of Gothic shock-and-awe.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York City, New York)
Opened to the public on October 21, 1959. It took 16 years for architect Frank Lloyd Wright to finalize the design for the Guggenheim. In this time he produced six separate sets of plans and 749 drawings in total. There’s not a hint of Gothic inspiration in Wright’s eventual modern design, so to re-imagine this beloved building necessitated a total overhaul. Rows of columns spiral around the circular floors, the first floor is decorated with a host of gargoyles and the entrance is granted pointed arches. Our design is a truly terrifying clash of contemporary and medieval.
The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
The Air Force Academy’s centerpiece as we know it is a modernist statement structured around 17 glass and aluminum spires that are each composed of 100 tetrahedrons. The chapel’s architect, Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, invoked some of modernism’s most striking ideas for his 1963 masterpiece. And Netsch’s dramatic spires themselves reference Gothic architecture. All the same, our switch back to stone and inclusion of a major frontal oculus takes away the Cadet Chapel’s key feature of contemporaneity in favor of the medieval.
Transamerica Pyramid (San Francisco, California)
San Francisco’s second-highest building was designed by William Pereira and debuted in 1972. The Pyramid borrowed some of the fashionable materials of the time – concrete (16,000 cubic yards in the foundation alone), glass and steel – towards a futurist tower that stands quite apart from its neighbors. When the 1989, 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake struck, the Pyramid shook for more than a minute, its tip swaying almost a foot from side-to-side. Whether the Gothic pinnacles and gargoyles of our rendering would hold on tightly in such conditions, we can’t guarantee!
The Chrysler Building (New York, New York)
The Chrysler may be an ostentatious landmark, but it had a stealthy start in life: built between 1928-30, architect William van Alen managed to keep its 125-foot spire secret until 90 minutes before the grand unveiling. The spire pushed the art deco building’s height to 1,046 feet, nudging it past The Bank of Manhattan (now The Trump Building) to briefly become the tallest building in the world. The Chrysler’s Gothic makeover pays tribute to that ambition, its pointed windows seeming to direct the skyscraper, rocket-like, to the stars.
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