Used extensively by William Pitt for many commercial buildings along Collins Street, this was a very new application for Gothic. Previously reserved for clerical and secular buildings, Victorian architects used the style on a much wider range of buildings. At the time it was often seen as a radical breakaway or bohemian style which rejected hundreds of years of classical styled buildings.
Inspired by theorists such as John Ruskin and Pugin, the Neo-Gothic movement was one of the most distinctive styles to emerge from the Victorian era.
Based on the principle of allowing freemasons to express their contribution to a building (as was the case for the guilds that built Gothic buildings in medieval times), these buildings became extensively ornate edifices.
Trademark Neo-Gothic features include:
Buttresses and gothic pointed arches - expressing the structural engineering upon which the style was based.
Tourelles, pinnacles, towers and spires.
Complex tracery, foils and stained glass windows.
Intricate stonework, with different treatment at each level
A profuse variety of ornament (mostly in stone), sometimes including gargoyles to ward off evil spirits and express the skills and craft of the artisans.
Fleche - slender spires rising from roof or tower, often with thorny like stone crafted protrusions and intricate detail.
Although a large number have been destroyed, Melbourne still has one of the worlds finest collections of 19th Century Neo-Gothic buildings. Indeed Melbourne has one of the finest collections of Victorian Gothic churches in the world. Many examples of the rare commercial gothic can be found along Collins Street.