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Characteristics of the Collegiate Gothic Style

The term Collegiate Gothic derives from Gothic Revival, an architectural style inspired by medieval Gothic architecture. Beginning in the mid-18th century, Gothic Revival became a leading building style during the 19th century and was often employed because of its moral overtones for academic, political, and religious buildings.

Arches: Arches are pointed as in early Gothic two-centered arches, as on the Chapel, or the flatter four-centered or Tudor arch as on the West doors of Jenkins Hall. Here is a picture of Maryland Hall in 1988, with the arches highlighted in yellow:


Buttress: A buttress is an exterior support projecting from the face of a wall. Walls were often stiffened by external buttresses designed to carry weight of the roof while still allowing walls to be pierced by large windows. An example at Loyola is Jenkins Hall:


Crenelation: Name given to a treatment of a railing or low wall in which an upright section alternates with a space in a series. Originally used in fortification as in Medieval Castles. An example is Beatty Hall, in 1923:


Dormer: A dormer is a window set upright on a sloping roof, usually under a triangular gable. An example is the Humanities Center:

Humanities Dormer Windows

Entrances: Collegiate gothic entrances are often recessed, framed by arches, surrounded by stone moldings, niches for statues, and stonecarving of all kinds. An example is the Alumni Memorial Chapel arch above the entrance:


Finial: An architectural device, typically carved in stone, employed to mark the apex of a wall or gable. An example is Jenkins Hall:


Flèche: Used in collegiate gothic architecture referring to a vertical decoration as in the point of a spire or pinnacle. An example is the Alumni Memorial Chapel:

Chapel Fleche

Parapet: a low retaining wall at the edge of a roof, porch, or terrace. An example is Beatty Hall:


Plaque: A tablet applied to or set within an exterior surface. Can have an inscription or relief sculpture. An example is the Berge Plaque:


Relief Sculpture: Figurines atop arches or windows and reliefs on exterior walls are sculptural elements that appear on some buildings. An example is Jenkins Hall:

Jenkins Relief

Roofing: Collegiate gothic roofs are usually steep gabled as seen on the Chapel (below). Flat-roofed buildings were late CG as in Jenkins, and the wings of Beatty.

Chapel Roof

Tracery: Curvilinear shapes of carved stone creating a geometric patterned divider in a window, as seen on the Chapel, below.


Walls: Usually rough pastel fieldstone or brick with white limestone dressings. At Loyola rough feldstone was used from Baltimore County quarries for both Beatty and Jenkins Hall, as seen below.

Jenkins Wall

The later Tudor revival style was distinguished by “half-timbered” walls of heavy wood beams and white plaster as on the Humanities center, below.

Humanities Wall

Windows: Windows are usually tall and narrow using small panes of glass with wooden or lead dividers, as on original Beatty or Jenkins. 

Jenkins Windows

Windows are often topped by stone hood moldings and are often arched, as seen on the Humanities Center, below.

Humanities Window