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Posts Tagged ‘Italian

Richardsonian Romanesque Architecture and Interior Design Elements

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     Richardsonian Romanesque is a style of architecture that was named after Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson  Richardson became famous in the late 1800’s.  One of his most famous and popular works is the Trinity Church in Boston, which is now listed as a historical landmark, protecting it for generations to enjoy in the future.  Most of his pieces originated on the East coast, and Boston would become host to several of these buildings.   This architectural style combines aspects of French, Spanish, and Italian architecture, especially that from the 11th and 12th century.

     Richardson’s style became so popular and unique in the United States that it influenced several architects as far away as Finland.  In fact, its popularity in the United States inspired many people who would go on to become great architects.  Perhaps one of the most famous of these people inspired by him is Frank Lloyd Wright. Other famous Richardson buildings include the American Museum of Natural History’s original 77th Street structure, First Presbyterian Church in Detroit, MI on Woodward Avenue, and the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane in New York State.

     This style is generally considered too elaborate for many homes, but was an extremely popular choice for churches, museums, and other government buildings.  In fact, one of the other most famous buildings in the Richardsonian style is the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane in upstate New York.

     Common characteristics of Richardson Romanesque include;  heavy, rusticated stone materials, semi-circular arches, deeply recessed windows, towers with cone shaped roofs (very castle-like), and low broad arches over arcades and doorways. Most Romanesque buildings are masonry, although there are a fair few wood and shingle Romanesque style buildings.

     Richardsonian architecture doesn’t really follow any particular style, and tends to borrow elements from several different ones instead.  No two buildings are alike, and although they may share similar elements are more like buildings built in two completely different styles.   Richardson’s style can be seen all over the United States, especially in major cities.  His buildings were commissioned by many local and state governments to make a statement as well as provide an eye-catching and functional building for many to enjoy over decades, even centuries.


Written by antiqueswriter

June 20, 2011 at 9:04 am

Italianate Architecture in the United States

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     The Italianate style holds a specific place within the 19th century Classical style.  Just like many other architectural styles, this one developed within a much larger style, yet has such distinct features and decorative elements it is in a class all its own.  The basis of this style is 16th century Italian Renaissance, but many buildings and monuments built under this style also exhibit Palladianism and NeoClassicism.  Because of this, the Italianate style is also sometimes called the Neo-Renaissance style.

     This style started at the very beginning of the 19th century in Great Britain by the British architect John Nash.  His first project in this style was a small country house in a small village in the West Midlands portion of the country.   This was possible by adopting certain aspects of both the Regency and Victorian styles.  Nash passed the torch to another British architect in the 1830’s, Sir Charles Berry.  Some of Berry’s creations had such a uniqueness of their own that they have been dubbed “Berryesque”.  Many of these buildings incorporated less of the Palladian style an more of an Italian Renaissance feel despite the overall rustic look of most of Nash’s buildings.

     Like many other architectural styles that originated in the United Kingdom, the Italianate style quickly spread throughout Europe and parts of the globe.  Around the same time that Nash was making a name for himself the Italianate style was making a name in the United States.  From 1840 to the 1890’s is when it was at the height of popularity, and was promoted primarily by architect Alexander Jackson Davis.

     The United States used the style mostly to build houses, and unfortunately few of them still stand today.  The oldest example of this style is the home of a former governor of North Carolina John Motley Morehead.  This home is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.  The popularity of Italianate architecture in the time period following 1845 can be seen in Cincinnati, Ohio, the United States’ first boomtown west of the Appalachian Mountains. This city, which grew along with the traffic on the Ohio River, features arguably the largest single collection of Italianate buildings in the United States in its Over-the-Rhine neighbourhood, built primarily by German-American immigrants that lived in the densely populated area.

Cincinnati Over The Rhine

Written by antiqueswriter

June 13, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Italianate Architecture in Europe and Australia

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John Nash made a huge name for himself all throughout England and Wales when it came to designing new Italianate structures.  Heavily influenced by Italian villas, he made this feature the primary focus of the majority of his buildings.  This helps to distinguish his style from many of the other architects that made the Italianate style their own.  Perhaps one of the reasons Nash became so popular is because he took so long to truly develop his own style.  Many of his earlier pieces were a mish mash of other architects interpretations of the Italianate style, never having anything particularly characteristic of himself.

Some other architects dabbled in this style as well, despite having already made a name for themselves in other styles.  One perfect example of this is Sir Charles Berry, who had made his name known for creating the House of Parliament building that we know today.  Some of the more popular points of Italianate architecture were series of columns and arches decorating the front of the buildings, exemplary of the Italian Renaissance style, and an abundance of balconies accented by wrought iron and stone.

The Italianate style was also very popular in Australia, specifically for homes of governors.  One very significant feature of the Australian architecture is its use of white and ivory for the exterior of the buildings.  This gives them a much cleaner look, while giving a nod to its ancient influences.

The interior design aspect of Italianate style features clean lines and everything built in.  That is to say instead of creating basic rooms with little to no decoration and having to adhere it separately, everything is incorporated during the building process.  Wood is not varnished or painted, but is displayed in its natural colors, there are no mitered corners.  Furniture features straight, clean lines, and is strong in style.


Written by antiqueswriter

May 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm