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Empire Style of Architecture

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    The Empire style of architecture is often added on to the end of the Neoclassicism period with a lot of people.  This style took place in the late 19th century and unlike many other styles that focused on the exterior elements of a building, the Empire style was more about furniture, decorative, and visual arts.  The architecture itself still had a part in what makes the style so unique, but on a much smaller scale than with some of the other Neoclassical styles.  In the United States, the Second Empire style usually combined a rectangular tower, or similar element, with a steep, but short, mansard roof; the roof being the most noteworthy link to the style’s French roots. Prior to the construction of The Pentagon during the 1940s, the Second Empire-style Ohio State Asylum for the Insane in Columbus, Ohio was reported to be the largest building under one roof in the U.S., though the title may actually belong to Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital.

     The style adopted its name from the first French emperor Napoleon I, and is known as the French Empire style there, but is also known by several different names throughout the United States and Europe.  For instance, many people refer to it as the Regency style in Europe, the Biedermeier style in Germany, and the Federal style in the United States.  While each area put their own general touches and flourishes to make it their own based on their culture, it is all generally the same exact style. The United States was particularly taken by this movement, and continued utilizing it to grace many of its metropolitan buildings long after the European countries had ceased.









Interior elements, such as those pictured above, may also share characteristics with the French Imperial style.

     The style was first influenced, like many other aspects of art, by the ancient Romans.  So much, in fact, that two French architects designed one of the most famous landmarks in France after another very famous one in Rome, Italy.  No, not the Eiffel Tower; the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (pictured below).  When it comes to decorating the homes built in this style the materials preference is generally richer woods, such as mahogany and ebony. Many of these materials were only available in certain parts of the world, making it necessary to have them imported, which made them more expensive.  Bronze gilding was also extremely popular.

The Arc De Triomphe du Carrousel may be the world's most well known example of French Empire Architecture.


Written by antiqueswriter

May 31, 2011 at 12:29 pm