Neo-Gothic Vs Neo-Classic Architecture

Of the many architectural styles that flourished in the mid-eighteenth century, two main styles have prevailed and have even competed together attracting the designers, especially for public, governmental, and religious buildings . Here is a glimpse on “the Neo-Gothic and the Neo-Classical”


Neo-Classical architecture is seen as a revival of ancient Rome and ancient Greek architecture, in other words, inspired by their classical elements in designing modern buildings. The style began in Italy and France by the Neoclassical movement to become the most prominent in a few years, especially in large buildings.

Some of the easily recognizable institutional and government buildings in Europe and the United States are neo-classical in style; the most famous example is the United States Capitol Building, Washington, DC“- ( Federal-style)

Key Elements:

The neoclassicism at the outset is characterized by a more whole-scale revival of entire and often grand-scale classical volumes. Its design intent then utilizes various classical elements:

  • – Triangular pediments; and centered domed roof.

– Simple geometric forms, symmetrical floor plan, and placement of windows ( fenestration)

– Grand tall columns mainly at the elevations with Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian details.

 Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic column heads
Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic column heads

Neoclassical Houses

Although neoclassicism is used with grand public buildings, the approach has also been adapted in private homes, impacting the feature of double portico- photo.

Neoclassical house


The Neo-Gothic- the Revival

An architectural style that drew its inspiration from medieval architecture and competed with the Neoclassical revivals in the United States and Great Britain.

Though its roots are French, the Gothic approach can be found in churches, cathedrals, and other similar buildings in Europe and beyond.

Palace of Westminster or the House of Parliament- London
Palace of Westminster

Key Elements:

1. Tall buildings

Neo-gothic buildings are often tall as if they are reaching upwards towards the sky. The use of flying supports allowed architects to build up taller, as they could easily spread the weight of this height.

2. Large Rose windows

To flood the light to the space, a circular-shaped window usually found at the top of a gable end that has been inspired by the Roman ‘oculus’

 Rose windows
Rose windows
3. Vaulted ceilings

Vaulted ceilings are made of self-supporting arches, which come in different styles called; barrel, groin, rib, and fan

The ceiling of Notre-Dame of Nice France
The ceiling of Notre-Dame -Nice France
4. Argoyles :

Argoyles are often carved statues of animals like mythical creatures or dragons that had fierce, snarling faces.

5. Flying buttress:

A sloping beam is erected against a building to support its walls that are extremely popular in gothic architecture. They are usually outside of a building that goes from the upper part of a wall, down to the ground, or lower roofing.

flying buttress sloping beams
Sloping beams to support building walls



While the Neo-Gothic is revived the Gothic style, the Neo-classical aimed to strip away the excesses of Late Baroque and return to a purer and more authentic classical style. The originals are quite different, and not too hard to distinguish for both styles. From the significantly more buildings in Neo-classical style, it seemed that it was alternately preferred over Neo-Gothics, which might be due to the clarity of design elements.

Some critics also claim that Gothic-style buildings are to some extent damp and dark due to small windows which do not suit some type of buildings, while it is contrary in Neo-classic.


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