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Gothic Revival Architecture Tour

Download a PDF version of the Gothic Revival self-guided tour.

 

Christ
Christ Church + Washington Parish
Photo courtesy Christ Church + Washington Parish
 

Christ Church
LOCATION: 620 G Street, SE, Washington, D.C.
ARCHITECT: Henry Latrobe
CONSTRUCTED: 1806

LOOK FOR:

  • Central tower
  • Rose window
  • Pointed lancet windows
  • Grouped, blind lancet windows
  • Crenellated roofline (the pattern of indentations on roofline)
NOTES:
  • Early example of Gothic Revival in the United States
     
President
President Lincoln’s Cottage at Soldier’s Home.
Photo by Carol M. Highsmith.
 

President Lincoln’s Cottage at Soldier’s Home
LOCATION: Rock Creek Church Road NW and Upshur Street NW, Washington, D.C.
ARCHITECT: John Skirving
CONSTRUCTED: 1842-43

LOOK FOR:

  • Fretwork on the vergeboard or bargeboard (the decorative carved woodwork along the eaves) on gabled roof ends
  • Diamond-shaped glass panes in some of the windows 
  • Pointed arch doorway

NOTES:

  • Example of Cottage Gothic popularized by architects A.J. Downing and A.J. Davis
  • Gothic Revival nature resides more in details than overall plan or feel 
     
Smithsonian
Smithsonian Institution Building, "The Castle"
Courtesy Smithsonian Institution
 

Smithsonian Castle
LOCATION: National Mall, Washington, D.C.
ARCHITECT: James Renwick, Jr.
CONSTRUCTED: 1847-55

LOOK FOR:

  • multiple towers with battlements (indentations)
  • Made of red sandstone
  • Oriel window (projecting window) in the central mass

NOTES:

  • Architecture is a revival of Norman architecture, 12-century Gothic architecture and late Romanesque architecture
     
Healy
Healy Hall. Georgetown University Campus.
Photo courtesy Georgetown University.
 

Healy Hall, Georgetown University
LOCATION: Georgetown University main campus, Washington, D.C.
ARCHITECTS: Smithmeyer and Pelz
CONSTRUCTED: 1877-79

LOOK FOR:

  • Symmetrical exterior
  • Attenuated central clock tower
  • Exuberant roof line and towers
  • Intricate tracery on exterior
  • Extensive use of carved wood on interior

NOTES:

  • Hallmark of High Victorian Gothic period
     
Washington
Washington National Cathedral.
Photo courtesy Washington National Cathedral
 

Washington National Cathedral
LOCATION: Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues, NW, Washington, D.C.
ARCHITECTS: George Frederick Bodley (1907), Henry Vaughan (1907-17), Frohman, Robb & Little (1921-44), Philip H. Frohman (1944-72)
CONSTRUCTED: 1907-1990

LOOK FOR:

  • Twin towers
  • Latin-cross plan
  • Extensive tracery stonework
  • Prominent Rose Window
  • Clustered columns, vaulting, and tripartite division of the nave elevations

NOTES:

  • Example of an archeologically-correct Gothic Revival typical of the early twentieth century
  • This Gothic Revival cathedral reads as architecture that could have existed in 12th or 13th century Europe
  • Made of Indiana limestone, a white stone commonly used in this kind of Gothic Revival