Pugin and the Revival of Gothic Architecture

Option 2 Pugin and the Revival of Gothic Architecture
Explore the themes of tradition and dissent in relation to the architecture and furnishings of the new Palace of Westminster.
The fire on October 16th 1834 which almost destroyed the Palace of Westminster provided not only the opportunity to build a new improved palace, but also the opportunity to re-establish our National Identity through an iconic landmark building, although the building of the New Palace was not without controversy.
A Royal committee was founded to commission the building of the New Palace. It was decided that an open competition would be run and architects were invited to submit their designs. The style of building was to be either ‘Elizabethan’ or ‘Gothic’. A heated debated followed over the proposed styles. The dominate style of architecture during this period, and the previous two centuries had been classical however such style now held negative connotations largely associated with ideals such as the French revolution. The palace   had   previously been remodelled prior to the fire of 1834. Sir John Soane had been responsible for remodelling the palace complex between 1824 and   1827. Soane’s alterations were also the subject of some controversy as they were ‘classical’ in architectural style and as such conflicted with the buildings original ‘Gothic’ style.   Keen to distance themselves from negative imagery, the Royal committee chose ‘Elizabethan’ and ‘Gothic’ styles believing they were far safer options lending themselves to conservative values. In this respect we see ‘dissent’ (being the new ‘Gothic’ style) from an old ‘tradition’   (being the ‘classical’ style) moving forward and embracing an new era.
Charles Barry with his ‘gothic’ design was announced winner of the competition, his designs alongside Pugin’s drawings and ‘Gothic revival’ reputation were a winning combination. Although Barry won the commission it is believed that he relied heavily on Pugin. Barry’s field of expertise...