Roots of Style: Your House May Have a Renaissance Classical Past

Roots of Style: Your House May Have a Renaissance Classical Past

Are you currently living in a Renaissance-inspired home? Chances are probably, for this primary root of classically inspired building spanned several centuries. Starting in the Italian Renaissance, architects, artists, engineers and philosophers studied Roman and Greek artifacts and ruins. Buildings became a primary focus of expressing knowledge. Crossing from Italy into France, then England and then to America, the Renaissance aesthetic profoundly transformed building tastes and preferences, resulting in a profusion of national architecture in the design.

From the 15th century, the Italians developed an comprehension of ancient classical architecture and translated it into palaces and villas for the aristocracy. The American 19th-century Italianate style as well as the 20th-century Italian Renaissance style relied on the characteristics of these Renaissance ancestors.

These fashions are still influence a particular genre of trendy suburban architecture often found in upscale developments across the United States.

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Italianate. Within this small but elegant British residence, decorative mounts under wide eaves and a belt line set its identity, along with detailed moldings around the windows. An intimately proportioned classical entrance surround exhibits the signature Renaissance arch. A native English fashion regardless of the name, Italianate fashion reflected a slightly less formal decorative, as you can see here from the rusticated exterior walls. Italianate and Gothic revival styles are considered to be a part of the Picturesque movement and therefore are meant to be marginally more formal compared to other Renaissance styles.

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Italian Renaissance. This newer California home demonstrates several characteristics unique to Italian Renaissance fashion established from the early 20th century.

This home may also be known as Mediterranean, though that term is much more of a category than a fashion. (Mission, Spanish eclectic and Monterey are different styles within that group.) A tiled, hipped roof with generous eaves modernized here using a constant cornice line, rather than mounts, establishes a minimal profile.

A trio of recessed arches defines a symmetrical axis. Also note the smaller upper-floor windows and the way the windows from the primary elevations are brightly, helping to establish solidity. A table, the depth of cast stone trims in the lower window and walls articulation with suggested balconies contribute generously to its Renaissance classical flavor.

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Second Empire. When Renaissance influence spread northward into France from the 16th century, the French overlaid the fashion upon their existing architecture. The result often emphasized the roofing of the building.

The Second Empire design of the late 19th century and French eclectic styles of the early 20th century show this attribute. Their balanced and symmetrical elevations along with particulars of quoins, dentils and other classically oriented expressions define them as Renaissance.

This gorgeous historic Second Empire–fashion home might not easily look classical, but its symmetrical elevation and coordinated openings are conducive to that area.

The mansard roof with dormers and a bracketed eave is a distinctly French adaptation. This style developed alongside the Italianate style from the mid-19th century, and both are considered Victorian era. These two fashions have many similarities, but the roof design and the arched windows set this particular house apart. The connection into Renaissance structure lies in the sequence of its own details.

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Late-20th-century French eclectic mansard. A subtype of Second Empire style descended into ancient 20th-century American homebuilding, characterized by a steeply pitched roof surrounding a second level and a nearly flat-hipped upper part. Late-20th-century builders very loosely translated its predecessors by producing mansard-roofed French eclectic-style homes such as this one.

Cleverly remodeled to bring a classically inspired entrance porch, this handsome home now appears elegant and comfy. In the United States, it is possible to discover similar designs all around the nation in suburban developments. Notice on this case the symmetry and traditional details nicely blend with its relaxed type.

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English architects in the 17th century analyzed classical styles and generated disciplines that directly advanced into 18th-century America. As a result of occurrence, three important American fashions developed from British Renaissance classical influence: Georgian, Adam and colonial revival. Georgian and Adam came within the colonial era, then early-20th-century preferences turned into colonial revival styles, which are considered eclectic designs.

Probably dating to the early 20th century, the Georgian-inspired dwelling shown here illustrates a number of common details which are characteristic of the style, several signatures of which allude to Renaissance classical architecture. These include the front with five rows of windows and a thorough entrance under a centre upper window. Visual balance is further achieved in this case using a chimney at each gable end and three based and hipped dormers.

The design first became popular in ancient 18th-century America and dominated domestic architectural fashion for most of the century. Many variations exist. This one has a side-gabled roof, while others have a gambrel roof, hipped roof or based gable (front-facing); then there are townhouse versions. This enchanting and distinguished fashion populates just about every town across America in substantial numbers and remains emulated in vernacular developments, especially in the eastern United States.

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Colonial revival. After Georgian style proliferated and evolved into the more complex Adam style, ancient classical architecture took hold from the succeeding period — the middle of the 19th century. That period lasted until the proliferation of Victorian-era homes, of which many had medieval roots.

By the beginning of the 20th century, several architectural fashions had surfaced across a booming American landscape, so what followed became known as eclectic styles.

Colonial revival houses, such as this one, became the most popular and replicated of eclectic fashions. Like other people, this fashion took several forms but found its inspiration in a death from fanciful Victorian design and a looking back on Georgian and other colonial-era fashions which were based in Renaissance classical style.

Most, though not all, colonial revival houses are symmetrical (as the one shown is), using classically thorough entrance porches and grouped double-hung windows. Differences between classically based homes may be subtle, and suburban developments often mimic characteristics that are authentic. Like the this fashion is very common throughout the United States, and is still being replicated.

Your turn: Do you see elements of your residence in this style?

Next: Many Cultures Make Their Marks on Mediterranean Design

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