American Architecture | an introduction to American architectural styles and periods. Explore the styles which have shaped the distinctive design vocabulary of American building… from Early Colonial, Jeffersonian, and Federal style architecture to the poetic Prairie Style residences of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Early American | from 1550-1850, the Early Colonial period includes New England Colonial, Southern Colonial, Georgian, Federal, and Jeffersonian style architecture.
Early 19th Century American | from 1820-1890, this period includes Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Exotic Revivals, and Second Empire style architecture.
Late 19th Century American | from 1860-1920, this period includes Stick Style, Queen Anne, Shingle Style, Richardsonian Romanesque, Beaux Arts, and Classical Revival style architecture.
Early 20th Century American | from 1875-1945, this period of innovative architecture includes Chicago School, Prairie Style, Art Deco, and International Style architecture.
Early American Architecture
Early Colonial | the Early Colonial period includes both New England Colonial and Southern Colonial architecture.
Spanish Colonial | the Spanish Colonial period is prevalent particularly in California, Florida, and the Southwest.
Georgian | named for the kings who ruled England during the 1700s, the Georgian style is based on the work of Sir Christopher Wren and his contemporaries.
Federal | celebrating the birth of a new nation, the Federal style is based upon the Adamesque style popular in Britain.
Jeffersonian | inspired by the work of Thomas Jefferson, this style combined the order and geometry of a pure Roman temple form.
Early 19th Century American Architecture
Greek Revival | Greek Revival symbolized the democratic ideals of America. Based on the ancient architecture of Greece, examples of the style can be found in courthouses, banks, and churches throughout the country.
Gothic Revival | inspired by literature’s romantic movement of the early 1800s, the Gothic Revival glorified the medieval past of England.
Italianate | inspired by the architecture of Italy, Italianate is also known as Tuscan and Lombard.
Exotic Revivals | reflecting a romantic interest in archeology and historic styles, the Exotic Revivals were primarily adapted from Egyptian and Moorish architecture.
Second Empire | derives its style from the French designs built during the reign of Napoleon III. The style, which aspired to a monumental and ornate appearance, was widely used in public buildings and houses.
Late 19th Century American Architecture
Stick Style | derived from the Carpenter Gothic style, the Stick Style embodies the idea that architecture should be truthful.
Queen Anne | the Queen Anne style can be summarized in one word: eclecticism. The rich, picturesque style is characterized by an asymmetrical silhouette shaped by turrets, towers, gables, and bays.
Shingle Style | an uniquely American style, the Shingle Style grew from the Queen Anne style. Popular in New England, the Shingle Style was less ornate and more horizontal than the typical Queen Anne house.
Richardsonian Romanesque | interpreting Romanesque architecture into a distinctly different style, architect H.H. Richardson created a style which abandoned the vertical silhouettes and smooth stone facings of earlier times.
Beaux Arts | named for the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, this style refers to the aesthetic principles practiced by the American architects who trained there.
Classical Revival | less theatrical than the Beaux Arts, the Classical Revival style is based primarily on the Greek architectural orders.
Early 20th Century American Architecture
Chicago School | named for a group of Chicago area architects and engineers who utilized new construction materials and methods to produce commercial buildings of unprecedented height.
Prairie Style | identified with the master of American architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Prairie Style also found its roots in Chicago and the midwest.
Art Deco | a style that derives its name from the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris, Art Deco was the first popular American style to break from the tradition of reviving historic styles.
International Style | named for the exhibition organized by Phillip Johnson at the Museum of Modern Art, the International Style is recognized by stark simplicity and functionalism expressed with modern structural principles and materials.
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Loggia, Architectural Terms and Definitions, http://www.loggia.com/vignette/subarchterms.html
Last accessed: December 13, 2009.
Loggia, A Momentary Vignette, http://www.loggia.com/designarts/architecture/styles/american/american.html. Last accessed January 2, 2016.