Focusing on the Gothic period, this book gives readers the tools they need to grasp the architectural language and building forms of this style. Part of a new, accessibly written, and generously illustrated series on architecture through the ages, this book features the Gothic period's most important architects, buildings and cities, interior and exterior photographs, detailed images, and drawings and plans. The book offers a general introduction to the Gothic period and discusses the primary characteristics of the style, along with the commonly used techniques and materials. A hallmark of the medieval period, Gothic architecture originated in twelfth-century France and lasted until the sixteenth century. Its lofty style expressed spiritual ideals, yet it was also an incredibly innovative movement that introduced such iconic forms as the pointed arch, ribbed vault, and flying buttress. Some of the world's most famous castles, universities and churches, including Westminster Abbey in London, were designed according to Gothic principles.