American Colonial Architecture A trip through the U. S. will grant you sights of beautiful architecture, from coast to coast. During the 1780’s though the most popular style of architecture was the American Colonial. Built mostly by wealthy Anglo Americans, the houses afforded several distinct styles depending on local. Also known as Colonial Georgian, these homes were the earliest style to grace the U. S. colonies. A prime example of early American Colonial architecture is called a Saltbox. What the Saltbox basically is is a wooden frame house with a high-pitched roof that slopes down to the back. Its flat front has two stories while the back of the house has only one, making the sides unequal, but distinctly looking just like an old salt box which was a wooden box with a lid which salt was kept. A simple name for a simple style of home. Generally, the chimney was centrally located, making the house, from a distance, look like a box with a lid and handle to lift it off. Other defining characteristics of American Colonial architecture are the square, symmetrical shape, the front door placed directly in the middle of the houses front and the even, straight line of windows throughout. Inside the front door are usually an entryway and a staircase. All rooms branch off these. Typically they were constructed of brick with wood trim, but with homes like the Saltbox, they were also timber frame homes constructed with woodworking joints instead of metal nails, since they were costly. Saltbox homes were also finished with wood siding.
Greco-Roman Architecture Ancient Greece may have spawned the beginning of sculpture and architecture, not only in ancient times, but also until present day. Until the 7th century, Greece was without architecture. Since the pre 7th century Greek buildings were made mostly of wood or mud-brick, there is nothing remaining of them and there was little in written record about them. But in a more modern Greece, buildings such as the Parthenon and the Coliseum, still partially remain, giving us beautiful architecture in which to study. Most Greco-Roman architecture either rectangle or square in shape and made from limestone, which is found in abundance in Greece. Though many people think Marble was used in the building of the Greco-Roman architecture, the cost and unavailability of it directed its use for mostly sculptural decoration, except for the Parthenon. Greco-Roman architecture is abundant in columns and size. Most people don’t realize that there are two types of Greco-Roman architecture, the Doric and Ionic. While the famous Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens are Doric, the Erechtheum, which is located right next to the Parthenon is Ionic. Ionic Greco-Roman architecture is more decorative. The most surviving buildings of Roman-Greco Architecture lean towards the temples. This is mainly due to the building material used. Limestone though, after years, can begin to waste away and decompose with natural erosion. A building like the temples and the Parthenon were revered as the grandest buildings, therefore marble, which was difficult to transport from the few islands where it could be found, was used.
Baroque Architecture A very early style of architecture, but a very beautiful style is Baroque architecture, which began in the early 17th century in Italy. Taking the renaissance architecture and modifying it to a new theatrical, sculptural fashion, Baroque architecture became a very fanciful, extravagant style of structural design. While the Renaissance style was designed for the well to do of society, the Baroque architecture initially played into the wealth and power of the Roman Catholic Church. The concerns were for light, shade and color intensity and Baroque found its secular expression in grand palaces first in France, then throughout Europe. If you were to visit France today, the Chateau de Maisons would be one of the highlights of Baroque architecture. One of the most famous though of the Baroque architecture pieces is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is the most prominent building inside Vatican City. Topped with its towering dome, it is a notable feature in the Roman skyline. Baroque structures are grand in size and ornaments. As baroque moved through Europe, it eventually took on the look of European Colonialism. Greenwich hospital in London, England is another beautiful example of Baroque architecture. Founded in 1694 as the Royal Naval Hospital for sailors, the Greenwich hospital is famous for its Baroque Painted Hall, which was painted in honor of King William and Queen Mary. The chapel is an awesome example of not only Baroque architecture, but of baroque art with its high gold painted ceilings.
Bauhaus Architecture From 1919 to 1933, Germany gave to the world the Bauhaus school of architecture. Founded by Walter Gropius, the name Bauhaus comes from the German words for - to build - and -house-. Very basic in its meaning, the Bauhaus architecture is just that. Basic shapes, geometric designs and little frill and fancy. Though its founder was an architect, for the first several years, the Staatliches Bauhaus School in Germany refined the crafts and fine arts but did not actually include an architecture department. The Bauhaus architectural style became the basis for current Modernist architecture. These structures are primarily simple in form and without ornamentation. The forms were simple and functional with the idea of mass production with some artistic spirit thrown in. When Bauhaus Architecture was at its peak, an entire group of architects turned away from their fancy, over designed structures and into a more standard, basic way of design. Understandably, Bauhaus Architecture is most commonly found in Germany, but its influences reached the United States and even Tel Aviv in the time following its demise in Germany due exile. In fact the UN because of its abundance of Bauhaus now lists Tel Aviv as a world heritage site. In the late 1930s the Bauhaus Architecture was brought to the U. S. Namely Chicago, Illinois, where the New Bauhaus School was founded. As the basics for our modern day minimalist style, Bauhaus architecture is still being practiced today. In fact, at the Florida State University, the Master Craftsman Program is utilizing the Bauhaus theory and practices.
Prairie Style Architecture If you are looking for an interesting, and beautiful style of architecture for a house or smaller sized commercial building, then you may want to look towards the prairie style architecture. The prairie style architecture was drafted originally in the loft room of the Steinway Piano Company building in Chicago, Illinois in the 1890’s. The Prairie Style was popular from the 1900’s through about 1912. Probably the most famous follower of the Louis Sullivan teachings on Prairie Style architecture was Frank Lloyd Wright. Also termed Prairie School Architecture, the Prairie style was and is most commonly found in the Midwestern United States. Prairie style homes are distinct in their design. Created with horizontal lines, flat roofs with overhanging eves and windows grouped in horizontal bands. Some of the most famous Prairie Style homes are the Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo, NY, along with the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. There is one though that stands out above the rest, the Robie House. Located on the campus on the University of Chicago, it is the quintessential example of the Prairie Style Architecture. Illinois still holds the greatest number of Prairie Style Architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright lived for a time in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Here you will find street after street of Prairie Style Architecture. Prairie homes were made to function efficiently in the prairie climate. The horizontal lines were thought to match those of the native prairie landscape. The interior was designed to be multifunctional and utilizing the suns natural light and natural air flow throughout the house. The Prairie Style architecture is by far some of the most beautiful you will find in the Midwest.
Adobe Architecture Some of the earliest structures were Adobe architecture. Adobe is a material made from sand, clay and straw, dung or other fibrous materials. The adobe is then formed into bricks using frames and dried in the sun. Similar to cob or mud bricks, the structures become extremely durable. They are used mainly in hot, arid climates because they remain cool in the summer and release heat very slowly in the winter. The same mixture, without the straw is used for mortar in placing the dried adobe bricks together to form a structure. Some cultures even figured out they could utilize lime-based cement for plaster to protect against the wet months. The thickness of the adobe bricks is key in the architecture. It is what essentially keeps the structures cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The largest structure ever erected from Adobe was the Bam Citadel. But it suffered serious damage from an earthquake in 2003. The Huaca del Sol in Peru is another grand adobe structure that was created from over 100 million signed bricks. The world’s largest adobe architecture structure is the citadel of Arg-e Bam, erected as late as 500BCE, possibly earlier. The area of Bam Citadel is 180,000 square meters and is surrounded by walls 6-7 meters high and 1815 meters in length, all out of Adobe. When the gates to the city were closed, no human or animal could enter. The city was self-contained with well access, gardens and cattle all within the walls. The adobe architecture was a little different when it came to putting a roof on the structure. Typically roofs were assembled from lengths of wood or metal. Then rows of dried adobe bricks are laid over the top of a support structure and plastered into place with more adobe.
Architecture Architecture is the science and art of designing buildings and other structures. It can also be expanded to the designing of surrounding environments, towns and landscapes. Someone who specializes in architecture is called an architect. Architecture has played a key part of our entire worlds history. For wherever there have been buildings or structures that were safe for inhabiting, there has been some sort of architecture. Architecture combines functionality with aesthetics to create the buildings we live in, work in and play in. From the smallest 1 bedroom home to the grandest palace or biggest cathedral, every structure is based on some form of architecture. Architectural designs change with time and space. Each era has its own style of architecture, from Baroque, Greco-Roman, Art Deco, Victorian to American Colonial, Prairie, and Bauhaus. Lines, materials, structure and symbolism all contribute to the different styles of architecture. Architecture styles can be anywhere from subtle to garish and materials vary from lumber to limestone. Most early styles of architecture though utilize local materials that were bountiful. In Greece for example, where limestone was plentiful, most structures were created from this natural material. And since marble was not only rare but for a few select islands, but very difficult to transport, it was used sparingly and usually only for ornamentation. In Colonial America, Saltbox houses were created from timber since it was so readily available and most properties had abundance so it cost next to nothing. And to save more money, these Saltbox houses were also put together with joints because the cost of nails was an unnecessary expense.
Victorian Architecture In Eureka, California sits one of the most beautiful examples of Victorian Architecture. The Carson Mansion, with its 18 rooms and excess of 16,200 square feet was constructed between 1884 and 1886. The cost of this structure was an incredible $80,000. It is a mix of every major style of Victorian Architecture and is the most written about, most photographed house in California, possibly the U. S. Victorian Architecture is known by many other names and can be of various styles. The building period of Victorian Architecture overlaps the reign of Queen Victoria, for whom it was named. These structures are highly decorated and so aptly nicknamed Gingerbread houses for all of their pieces and gingerbread type scroll work and ornamentation. Interestingly enough, in the U. S., Toledo, Ohio is recognized as having one of the largest collections of Victorian homes, East of the Mississippi. Boston is noted in the National Register of Historic Places as having the oldest Victorian neighborhood in the U. S. But of course, the U. S. isn’t the only place where these intricate creations of Victorian Architecture can be found. Notable Victorian era cities range from London to Glasgow to Melbourne and to New Orleans. Typical Victorian Architecture is grand in size, containing many functional rooms and passageways throughout the structure. Most throughout the country are not only fancifully decorated with intricate woodwork throughout, but they are usually known for their grand color schemes, both on the exterior and interior. Large inviting rooms welcome guests into their depths.
Art Deco Architecture Between 1920 and 1939, Art Deco Architecture was all the rage. Not only did the Art Deco movement affect Architecture, but also interior design, industrial design and visual arts like fashion, painting, graphic arts and film. The movement was a mixture of many different styles, incorporating cubism, modernism, Bauhaus, Art Nouveau, and Futurism, and its popularity peaked in the roaring twenties. While many earlier architectural styles had political or philosophical roots, Art Deco Architecture was simply decorative. Designed to be beautiful, elegant, functional and modern. One of the best-known pieces of Art Deco architecture in the U. S. is the Chrysler Building in New York. The beautiful Art Deco spire was built between 1928 and 1930. Following close behind the Art Deco period was the Streamline Moderne. The focus was mainly on advancing technologies such as automobiles and aviation. Art Deco architecture is mainly composed of man-made materials. The most popular being glass and stainless steel. Lines were very symmetrical and repetitive throughout structures. Very popular during the great depression because of its simplicity and practicality, Art Deco still reminded people of the better times and gave them hope of one day reliving them. World War II cut short the life of Art Deco. People began to see it as gaudy and a false image of luxury, but Art Deco presented the gateway to modernism, which continues well into the 1960s. Today we see a revival of the old, people caring enough to reconstruct or refurbish the beautiful designs of Art Deco architecture or even begin modernizing it and mixing it with styles of today. But as you travel the country, in many big cities you can still find the grand structures of Art Deco still standing.
Gothic Architecture Visiting most European cathedrals, abbeys and parish churches that were built between the 12th century and the 16th century, you will notice the intricate, almost gaudy structure with its peaks and spires and flying buttresses. These architectural feats are commonplace for Gothic architecture. Used also in castles and palaces as well as government buildings and universities, but lesser found in private dwellings, as its construction was extremely costly. Named not from the historical Goths, but from Giorgio Vasari to describe the culture that was considered rude and barbaric. At that time, Italy was building classical structures and looked to the European buildings as garish and showy. The Gothic architecture utilizes local resources such as various grades of limestone, and colored marble. Not only was this a new building style, but also architects were able to utilize new technology. The ogival and pointed arches were integral in the Gothic architecture. Emphasizing verticality and light, the inside - walls - were not solid ones that we commonly know, but looked more like the skeleton of a building. Clustered columns, pointed ribbed vaults and flying buttresses were the finished effect. The Gothic architecture of cathedrals and abbys were designed to be landmark buildings and rose high above the rest of the town’s structures. Another fantastic characteristic of the Gothic architecture in these buildings was the enormous towers, pinnacles and spires that loomed over the town. On the inside, the pointed arches emphasized the height and helped to enhance the decoration of the interior.