I'm thinking this new world should have Medieval tech, but with Victorian/Gothic architecture. I want to know a little about how a kingdom's capital might look and how the culture may be affected.

Note: There is magic in this world, but I have yet to build a system. Any ideas are appreciated. But to give some info, the world has a longer twilight than Earth, and many supernatural things tend to occur/appear during this time. The main character is also Death himself, or a type of ghostly medium with death magic.


closed as too broad by James Aug 10 '18 at 6:33

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding username! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! I would like to tell you your question is a bit broad, why not go to the Sandbox first! worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/q/6168/28224 In this site, you could post your answers then other users will brainstorm with you to build a defined, precise and correct way that is acceptable in Worldbuilding SO. $\endgroup$ – Mr.J Aug 10 '18 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ Gothic architecture actually is medieval. Victorian architecture is most definitely not Gothic, and way beyond what they could do in the Middle Ages. For example, a salient characteristic of Victorian architecture is the use of cast iron and forged iron for structural elements, with a unique esthetic. (Maybe you have seen pictures of the Eiffel tower -- that's Victorian architecture.) Nobody in the European Middle Ages had ever seen molten iron... $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 10 '18 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP Well, I'd like to clarify that this world developed at a different pace and different style to ours. The only real reason I noted Victorian/Gothic is because it's what the main character can only find a parallel to this world's architecture. $\endgroup$ – Wolfgang Yharnum Aug 10 '18 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP: And glass, e.g. the Crystal Palace: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crystal_Palace $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Aug 10 '18 at 4:15
  • $\begingroup$ I upvoted your question so that you can access the Sandbox worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/q/6168/28224 $\endgroup$ – Mr.J Aug 10 '18 at 8:12

Regarding your world, I would first like to address that from a historical standpoint, there’s a significant gap (~300 years) between the medieval age and the Victorian era. These time periods are distinguishable by their technological developments, including architecture. Superficially, Victorian architecture drew a lot from Gothic architecture, which was developed in the Middle Ages. However, a lot of the styles present in Victorian architecture used techniques far too advanced for the medieval era.

On the outside, the typical Victorian building and Gothic building look similar. On the inside, however, differences in building materials and advancements in design are clear. Victorian buildings are generally more open because advancements in design allowed them to build “out” as well as up. Comparatively, Gothic buildings are more “narrow,” with more emphasis on structural integrity (such as ribbed or vaulted ceilings). This is more obvious in grand structures, such as cathedrals, than it is in smaller buildings, such as common city dwellings. In addition, medieval architecture relied on stone (such as limestone and sandstone), which is heavy and often weak (particularly against the elements). Victorian buildings were known to incorporate stronger materials, such as steel and concrete, in addition to the classical materials, such as stone and wood.

On the other hand, the use of magic in your world means that your architects may have a means to design and construct buildings that surpass even those of the Victorian Era, in terms of size and stability. Your city could have magically enhanced Victorian-style buildings made with medieval-era technology (this might be an interesting thing to explore— what happens when the magic fails?). Ultimately, this is up to you, depending on the potency of magic in your world.

Lastly, you mentioned longer twilights and the supernatural, so I wanted to tie that in as well. These themes might not make a huge impact structurally, but they could influence how the buildings are presented and decorated. Depending on the mood of your capital, the buildings might be painted in bright colors to stand out in the dusk, or dark colors to blend in and avoid drawing the attention of the supernatural. They could also influence the layout of your city. Perhaps the buildings are spaced far apart so that it’s harder to hide during the dark hours. Maybe they’re wedged as close together as possible to make it harder to run. It would really depend on how the supernatural occurrences are perceived by the architects of the city.

Architecture is one of the coolest aspects of history, so props to you for taking that into account right out of the gate. I wish you luck as you build your setting!

Sources: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/learn/story-of-england/victorian/architecture/ https://www.exploring-castles.com/castle_designs/characteristics_gothic_architecture/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_architecture https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_architecture

  • $\begingroup$ Wow, that's really helpful, @Axiom Sage. I admit, most of my knowledge base comes in handy when making mythologies and monsters, as well as powers and weapons. Architecture really isn't my strong point and I find it easier to understand when someone with a better idea of it explains it to me. The way I'm building this world is more of a fact that the buildings and cities are well made, but in the sense that no one ever discovered/ or gunpowder doesn't exist as well as engines powered by steam or gas. I probably should've mentioned that by "tech" I meant weapons mostly. $\endgroup$ – Wolfgang Yharnum Aug 10 '18 at 3:47
  • $\begingroup$ @WolfgangYharnum No problem, glad to help! $\endgroup$ – Axiom Sage Aug 10 '18 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ Do you think you could elaborate on what I could do to eliminate the time difference in the design and material usage in buildings? For instance, I want the main character to wake up in a hall made mostly of stone but having a similar build to a medieval castle, but not with the same style as the castle? $\endgroup$ – Wolfgang Yharnum Aug 10 '18 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! We're glad you could join us! When you have a moment, please click here to learn more about our culture and take our tour. Thanks and well done! This was an excellent first answer. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 10 '18 at 4:22
  • $\begingroup$ The easiest thing to do (but not necessarily the wisest) would be to simply attribute the "advanced" designs to magic, as I pointed out. It's difficult to justify the difference scientifically, because if these techniques and materials are so advanced, one would expect that it would lead to developments in weaponry (particularly from a material standpoint). Maybe your culture is extremely traditional, in that they are unwilling to (or perhaps forbidden from) creating better weapons. This could give your culture another layer while allowing you to adopt better architectural practices. $\endgroup$ – Axiom Sage Aug 10 '18 at 11:13

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