In the 19th century, some architects looked to the Gothic architecture of the Middle Ages in designing their buildings. The Gothic-Victorian architectural style ensued and spread to Europe, the U.S. and the British Empire. Though the revival of the Gothic style had started in the 18th century, it became popular in the 19th century.
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Gothic-Victorian architecture is structurally similar to medieval Gothic architecture. A central feature of both was the use of the flying buttress, an important method of supporting the weight of the building. The flying buttress is a free-standing support that stands against the building's external wall and counters the lateral force created by its weight. Gothic-Victorian architecture was also often built with heavy stone and brick, as well as with terracotta.
Gothic-Victorian buildings were often modelled after medieval Gothic castles and churches and adopted many of their features. These buildings often featured towers, pointed arches, pinnacles, parapets and grouped colonettes, which are small columns used for decoration or to support an arcade. These buildings usually featured steep rooftops with large and ornate gables. A gable is a vertical element that is placed at the end of a sloping roof and often contains sculptures.
Like medieval Gothic architecture, the Victorian revival featured interiors and floor plans that were asymmetrical. The windows in such buildings were often shaped like clovers and featured pointed arches. They were often made from lead glass and featured elaborate ornamentation. Another common Gothic feature was the placement of a window above the building's entry.
A common feature of both medieval and Gothic-Victorian architecture was the use of stained glass and of window tracery, a type of decoration. Other common types of ornamentation were the ball flower and ogee. Gothic-Victorian buildings were often decorated with contrasting colours (polychromy) and combined different materials. This variety of colours and textures was used to create decorative bands and to highlight corners, arches and arcades.
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