Gothic architecture is a style that became popular in Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages. This type of architecture was around from the mid-12th century to the 16th century and was characterized by a style of masonry building characterized by rib vaults, flying buttresses, and pointed arches. It began as an effort to solve problems that were associated with the support of heavy masonry ceiling vaults, and eventually made its way into Western culture as architecture with beauty and sophistication.

Even today, you can see a continuation of gothic architecture within modern, or newly built, homes. The aforementioned sophistication of this time period extended itself into homes of this century and trends will continue through the upcoming decade.


Here are 5 variations of Gothic Architecture that we love in Vancouver

1. Bay and Gable Houses

This style, one that you see primarily in Toronto and has made its way to Vancouver in some new builds, was very popular in the 1870s. It is characterized by long and narrow lots, seen predominantly in Townhomes. These gables are a kind ‘nod’ to the style seen during the Gothic Revival period in the Victorian Era.


2. Neo-Gothic Revival

The Neo-Gothic revival was also popular during the Victorian era, and is characterized by the steeples, ornate window fixings, and (often) a stone exterior. The buildings in Ottawa, on Parliament Hill, are some of the most popular examples of this type of architecture in Canada, with some of the trends also extending itself into single-family homes.


3. Colonial Style

The Colonial style is one that is characterized by two-storey stone buildings with steep roofs. It was made popular in France, and brought to Canada in Quebec City’s very early days. It was extended from France to Quebec because of the local culture climate and building materials that were available.

4. Traditional Gothic

While the three styles above are variations of Gothic architecture, traditional Gothic homes are unique and often rare in Vancouver. Homes in this style have steeply pitched roofs, windows with pointed arches, a one-story porch and often an asymmetrical floor plan. Think of Vancouver’s Gabriola Mansion as an example.


5. Drapes everywhere

Tying in all of the above trends, draperies are everywhere when it comes to Gothic Architecture. In the 1700s, draperies were both functional and decorative. In terms of function, the primary purpose of draperies  were to stop drafts from coming in. Turning to modern architecture, this is now used as a form of decorative function, as an elegant panel to frame doorways or hanging across windows.


Gothic architecture has extended through centuries, and has emerged as a modern variation in our homes today. While both functional and practical, new homes or renovations can benefit from this beautiful form of architecture. Learn more with Reid Developments by contacting us here.