Greenough wrote several essays on architecture and design in the1840s, in which he criticized contemporary historicism and argued for aprogram of reform in which the notion of function would play a centralrole.
Under these circumstances, and stimulated by the repeated calls made upon him for plans of churches by his clerical brethren, the author commenced the following essay several years ago; and committed the greater part of the drawings to the lithographic press, during his residence near Boston. Availing himself of the excellent aids which he found in the Athenaeum of that city, and devoting to the work the chief portion of his leisure hours, he found it grow almost insensibly upon his hands, to a size which seemed, at length, to warrant publication. He puts it forth, however; not presuming that it can teach the professional architect, nor claiming for it the rank of a regular and systematic treatise; but as the essay of a mere amateur, only intended to be of service, where better guides are not at hand. And above all, his desire and hope, are that it may induce our rising [iv/v] clergy to give attention to a subject which peculiarly concerns themselves; and which must, in the nature of things, be principally committed to their management in a country like ours; where the assistance of professional architects cannot often be obtained, and where, in a majority of cases, the funds provided for the building of our churches so seldom warrant the employing them.
The distinguishing features of the Gothic style seem to consist in two particulars--the effect of the perpendicular line, and the terminating the various parts in a point. It must be understood, however, that we are not speaking of the. Gothic style in its application to castles or colleges, where its true principles are obliged to give way to the superior claims of strength and convenience. Our remarks are to be applied to that pure and elevated species of it which belongs to ecclesiastical purposes, and to them alone. In this--when exhibited in its best specimens--we find that all the upper horizontal lines are broken into battlements, while the multiplied perpendicular lines of the buttresses, crowned with pinnacles diminishing to a point, the mullioned windows, and the slender clustered pillars, lead the eye of the beholder upwards; causing, by a kind of physical association, an impression of sublimity more exalted than any other sort of architecture can produce.
THE Gothic style of architecture has long possessed a high rank in the estimate of ecclesiastical taste, and has drawn forth no small share of, erudition in the various attempts made by European writers, to trace its derivation. Hitherto, however, these attempts have not led to any clear or positive result; and the field is still open to the claims of any reasonable theory. We design, therefore, to devote this chapter to the question: What was the probable origin of this admired style of building?
 Now it is here that we find the superiority of the Gothic over the Grecian style, for ecclesiastical purposes. The Gothic, breaking the horizontal line, and leading the eye upwards till its pinnacles vanish in the sky, seems adapted, by an easy correspondence, to the offices of that blessed religion, which takes the heart from the contemplation of earth, and directs it to its heavenly inheritance. While the Grecian, with its lengthened colonnades and its horizontal extension, running in lines parallel with the ground, seems suited, by its characteristic expression, to secular objects and pursuits. Hence we should recommend the Grecian and Roman architecture for all buildings designed for legislative, judicial, commercial, civic, or merely scientific purposes; but wherever the spiritual interests of our race are to be the primary concern, the elevated solemnity of the Gothic style is far more appropriate.
The picture in the English language book is less allegorical and more clear-cut than the more romantic picture from the French edition. Both illustrations show, however, a reasoned and simplified approach to building.
An Essay on Architecture; in which Its True Principles are explained, and Invariable Rules proposed, for Directing the Judgment and Forming the Taste of the Gentleman and the Architect, With regard to the Different Kinds of Buildings, the Embellishment of Cities, And the Planning of Gardens.Laugier theorizes that man wants nothing but shade from the sun and shelter from storms—the same requirements as a more primitive human.
Mr. Hope, in his historical essay on architecture says â "That builders and sculptors formed a single grand fraternity whose scope was to find work outside Italy. Indeed distance and obstacles were nothing to them. They travelled to England under Augustine, to Germany under Boniface, to France under Charlemagne, and again to Germany with brother Magister Albertus Magnus, they went East under the Lombard Dukes, and in fact are found everywhere through many centuries. The Popes one after another gave them privileges. Indeed the builders may be considered an army of artisans working in the interests of the Popes, in all places where the missionaries who preceded them had prepared the ground."
Mr. Hope, in his history or essay on architecture sets forth the method of procedure of these ancient brethren; "A body of Freemasons would appear at a town or spot near the castle of some great lord who desired to build a church or to enlarge his castle. They were under the rule of a Master elected from among their number, who nominated one man out of every ten as Warden to supervise the other nine. They first erected temporary huts for their own use, and then a central Lodge. If they required, they called in the assistance of the local Guild Masons to help in the rough work, but they do not seem to have admitted them to the assembly in the Lodge with which they opened each day's work. They met in secret, none but Freemasons being present, and with a Tyier to guard the door againt cowans and eavesdroppers. The word " cowan" is probably of Scottish or North country origin denoting a "dry-dyker," (one who builds rough stone walls without cement), and is therefore not a true mason although he pretends to do masons' work."
The Rev. J. Fort Newton terms the Order formed during the period of Gothic architecture, and whose constitution, principles and teaching was that of Comacines, the Order of the Cathedral builders.
Only the sophisticated client can recognize good modern work and equally good traditional work. It is an education one must take up to grasp the nuances, to follow the historical thread, to know the personalities, the protagonists, to recognize the signature stamp. In this sense modern architecture is most extreme: the charge to produce individual works that cannot be traced to other influences, either from like-minded designers, but especially not from past styles. This can become excruciatingly difficult. The challenge and expectations of this route are in contrast with classicist principles, whose proponents are more eager to conform to a set of precepts, canon, from which individuality becomes a study of proportion and the modulation of basic elements.
This essay analyzes acute, individual nostalgia recorded in three examples of nineteenth-century medievalisms. As each example shows, the nostalgic moment involves primary (rather than secondary) and affective (rather than cognitive) memory – a memory of motor-sensory reception. A comparison of the nostalgia in Ann Radcliffe's tour of Hardwick Castle in 1794 and Thomas Carlyle's medieval interlude in Past and Present (1843) reveals the distinctive mnemonic component of depathologized nostalgia and shows why manifestations of it could entail such different affects and emotions. The discourse surrounding the nineteenth-century Gothic revival in architecture led by A.W.N. Pugin and later by Charles Eastlake shows, further, that Radcliffe's proved the more exemplary form of medievalism. Instead of a symbology laden with specific religious content meant to engineer a nostalgic reversion, the gothic revival in Eastlake's history developed into a formalistic mode that would engage an appreciation for a concocted Middle Ages based in primary memory.