Gothic architecture can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire and the height of the Arab reign over the East. Christopher Wren (1632 – 1723), a multidisciplinary scholar and renowned architect, discussed these early origins of Gothic architecture and addressed the Muslim influence on its beautiful and intricate designs. Imprints of these Muslim designs later came to influence European and Western architectural ideas.
The origins of many Gothic structural elements can be found in mosques and palaces built during the Ottoman empire. Arabs of that time translated past Greek architectural influence into their own distinct style, a style that remains the origin of Gothic designs found in Europe, Africa and other countries. France was one of the first European countries to utilize Gothic design, and it is said to be the the place of origin for European Gothic architecture.
The origin of Gothic architectural design in the Arabian word began with a desire to create buildings and mosques that were distinguishable from churches and other western-inspired structures. Much of the inspiration from that era translated into excessive boldness, distinct sections of inordinate detail, and into designs with extreme delicacy and fancy patterns. Moreover, much like the beauty and passion the Arabs injected into their poetry and literary works of the time, their architectural designs originated from a delicate taste of superfluous ornaments, extravagant detail and a desire to communicate to their audience a love for art and detail.
Meticulous detail and a dedicated attention to what would normally be missed at a quick glance was also, and still is, a trademark of the Gothic design that originated from the Arab world. Interestingly, today there is a heavy emphasis put on cathedrals and churches when referring to Gothic design. However; the distinctive detail and intricate nature of Gothic design is explicit and dominant in many of the mosques and palaces that were created during the Ottoman empire, and also during the reign of the Muslim empire in the east.
Styles used in European Gothic architecture originated from Spain during the height of the Arabian empire. The uptake of such designs was propelled by an intense European desire to acquire knowledge and expertise from the pioneers in the Arabian world. In addition to learning about architectural designs, Europeans also studied math, physics, philosophy and poetry from the East. Many of the churches and related buildings erected in Europe and Spain during this time were based on the Saracen model, a model that stemmed from the imagination and innovation of the vast Arabian empire.
Wren's adoption and admiration of these influences was especially apparent in his design for the Cathedral of St. Paul. Structures of domes and minarets, along with other inordinate detail are prominent in this building. Wren, who passed at the age of 91, was one of the first Western scholars to fully acknowledge and exemplify the Muslim and Arabian influence on Gothic design.