QUESTION: Architecture was one area where the European influences in America appeared during the Neocclassical era. These architectural examples remind us of an important period in our history as a country as well as document interesting developments in architectural style in both public and domestic buildings. Discuss European Neoclassical influences on public and domestic architecture from the Neoclassical era in America. Focus on how it was adapted and evolved in America as well as its importance in forming a nation identity.
Neoclassical architecture is best described as structures that are designed based on the classic architecture of ancient Rome and Greece. Neoclassical architecture, also called new classical, can be identified by a handful of distinguishing features. It is best known for its symmetrical shape and tall columns that run from the bottom to the top of the structure. They also are known for having a “low-pitched triangular gable on the front of some buildings” (Craven, 2011). This was very popular “in the Grecian or Greek Revival style of architecture”, and is called a pediment (Craven, 2011). Another notable feature found in neoclassical architecture is a domed roof.
It was the neoclassical influence that gave birth to the Greek Revival and Federalist style architecture, which were popular in the United States in the early 1800 and 1900’s. The home below, located in Saratoga, New York, is a great example of Greek Revival architecture. Its distinguishing features include a “pediment gable, symmetrical shape, heavy cornice, wide plain frieze, bold simple moldings, entry porch with columns, decorative pilasters” and “narrow windows around the front door” (Greek Revival House Style, 2011).
While the Greek Revival style of architecture made its debut in the public building in Philadelphia, the influence and made its way south and many of the large plantation houses
were designed with its distinguishing features. Even in the 20th century the style continued to show its influence in with many American homes that utilize the designed with the
(Greek Revival House Style, 2011).
The Federalist Style became popular “in the United States from about 1780 until the 1830s” (Federal and Adam House Styles, 2011). The many distinguishing features in this style became quite popular in the early American Colonies. Features like, “Low-pitched roof, or flat roof with a balustrade, windows arranged symmetrically around a center doorway, semicircular fanlight over the front door, narrow side windows flanking the front door, decorative crown or roof over front door, tooth-like dentil moldings in the cornice, palladian window, circular or elliptical windows, shutters, decorative swags and garlands” and “oval rooms and arches” are how many identify this style (Federal and Adam House Styles, 2011). Even with his great popularity with early American structures the influence can still be seen in many modern American buildings.
(Federal and Adam House Styles, 2011).
Craven, Jackie. "Pediment - Definition of a Pediment - Architecture Glossary." Architecture and House Styles - Architecture and House Styles and Home Design. Web. 12 Apr. 2011.
"Federal and Adam House Styles - House Style Pictures - Federal Houses and Adam Houses." Architecture and House Styles - Architecture and House Styles and Home Design. Web. 12 Apr. 2011.
"Greek Revival House Style - House Style Pictures - Greek Revival Houses." Architecture and House Styles - Architecture and House Styles and Home Design. Web. 12 Apr. 2011.