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Gothic Revival: The Latest Architecture and News

The Origins and Evolution of Gothic Architecture

The word “Gothic” often envokes a description of mysterious homes, or a modern-day group of people who have an affinity for dark aesthetics, but what the gothic architectural style historically brought to the built environment could not have been more opposite. Gothic designs were actually created to bring more sunlight into spaces, mainly churches, and led to the design and construction of some of the world’s most iconic buildings.

AD Classics: Grundtvig's Church / Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint

This article was originally published on July 28, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

Six million yellow bricks on a hilltop just outside Copenhagen form one of the world’s foremost, if not perhaps comparatively unknown, Expressionist monuments. Grundtvigs Kirke (“Grundtvig’s Church”), designed by architect Peder Vilhelm Jensen Klint, was built between 1921 and 1940 as a memorial to N.F.S. Grundtvig – a famed Danish pastor, philosopher, historian, hymnist, and politician of the 19th century.[1] Jensen Klint, inspired by Grundtvig’s humanist interpretation of Christianity, merged the scale and stylings of a Gothic cathedral with the aesthetics of a Danish country church to create a landmark worthy of its namesake.[2]

It was decided in 1912 that Grundtvig, who had passed away in 1873, had been so significant to Danish history and culture that he merited a national monument. Two competitions were held in 1912 and 1913, bringing in numerous design submissions for statues, decorative columns, and architectural memorials.[3]

AD Classics: Grundtvig's Church / Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint - Landmarks & Monuments, Column, Arcade, Arch, Door, Chair, BenchAD Classics: Grundtvig's Church / Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint - Landmarks & Monuments, Facade, ArchAD Classics: Grundtvig's Church / Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint - Landmarks & Monuments, Door, Facade, Arch, ArcadeAD Classics: Grundtvig's Church / Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint - Landmarks & Monuments, Column, Arcade, Arch, FacadeAD Classics: Grundtvig's Church / Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint - More Images+ 13

AD Classics: Red House / William Morris and Philip Webb

In the heart of a suburb just east of London stands an incongruous red brick villa. With its pointed arched window frames and towering chimneys, the house was designed to appear  like a relic of the Middle Ages. In reality, its vintage dates to the 1860’s. This is Red House, the Arts and Crafts home of artist William Morris and his family. Built as a rebuttal to an increasingly industrialized age, Red House’s message has been both diminished by the passage of time and, over the course of the centuries, been cast in greater relief against its context.

AD Classics: Red House / William Morris and Philip Webb - ResidentialAD Classics: Red House / William Morris and Philip Webb - Residential, Door, Facade, ArchAD Classics: Red House / William Morris and Philip Webb - ResidentialAD Classics: Red House / William Morris and Philip Webb - Featured ImageAD Classics: Red House / William Morris and Philip Webb - More Images+ 9

How Rebuilding Britain’s Houses of Parliament Helped Create Clean Air Laws

MIT has published new research revealing how the reconstruction of the British Houses of Parliament paved the way for legislation to tackle air pollution in Victorian London. Through original archival work into the 1840-1870 reconstruction, MIT architectural historian Timothy Hyde has revealed that work on the Parliament building was so hindered by air pollution that the British government ordered an inquiry into the effects of the atmosphere on new buildings.

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Uncovering Viollet-le-Duc's "Unexpected" Career

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Half of a rhombohedron. Remains of a crystal system separating the glacier of Envers Blaitière Vallée Blanche (Viollet-le-Duc). Image © Médiathèque de l’architecture & du patrimoine

Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, the French architect most famous for the 'restoration' of Notre-Dame de Paris, is a person we unequivocally associate with 19th century Gothic Revival. Although there is no doubt that his interpretive restorations of medieval French monuments were some of his greatest achievements, a new exhibition at Paris' Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine seeks to uncover a "well-connected character who pursued an uninterrupted career drawing, building, teaching, restoring, and many other things."

In a review for Domus, Léa-Catherine Szacka examines this first major retrospective dedicated to the designer, theorist and artist since 1980 in celebration of the bicentennial of his birth. According to Szacka curator Jean-Michel Leniaud has, in this exhibition, shifted focus to Viollet-le-Duc's artistic output, thereby presenting "the less known and the more unexpected aspect" of his career.