A nautilus shell illustrates how we can link together design movements across time periods as an outward spiral of architectural development. In my nautilus shell, I began with the gothic movement via the Amiens Cathedral, moving to the renaissance with the Florence Cathedral, and ending in the Baroque movement through the Place de Vosges of Paris, France.
The gothic movement had a rigid focus on religion, buildings were imposing and stretched vertically, there was not much color used in architecture, there was high detail and high emphasis on structure. We can see all of these influences in the Amiens Cathedral.
The renaissance was all about creativity and moving away from strict religious elements of the gothic period. We see this with the use of color, like the terra cotta roof of the Florence Cathedral, and more fluid forms, like the domes of the cathedral. Height is emphasized by domes, but the building as a whole is not as vertical as the cathedral at Amiens.
The baroque movement is characterized by highly ornate architecture, influenced by both the high detail of the gothic movement and fluid artistic forms of the renaissance. The exception is that the lavish details emphasized the power of the king rather than the church. Architecture in this period stretched horizontally rather than vertically, as we can see in the Place de Vosges. Baroque design was influenced by the Enlightenment, using understandings of history, science, and rational thinking versus focusing on religion or art.