Colonial Revival FURNITURE ....... Illustrated Architecture Dictionary ............... Styles of Architecture

Colonial / Colonial Revival Architecture

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See also: Colonial Revival FURNITURE

Neoclassicism - Terminology
Literally: "New Classicism."
European and American architecture style inspired by Classical Greek - and especially Roman - ruins.
Georgian Four King Georges in England. George III ruled England when Neoclassicism was popular.
Georgian Neoclassical Neoclassicism named after George III in England. Encompasses both Palladian and Adamesque Neoclassical styles.
Palladian Neoclassical Earlier version of European Neoclassicism based on the books of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio who studied Roman ruins in Italy.
Adam style/Adamesque Later version of European Neoclassicism based on Robert's Adam's studies of excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii.
Colonial Styles of architecture during America's colonial period, i.e., before the Revolutionary War. The most prominent style was Georgian because most the colonies were English owned.
Federal The American term for Adamesque after the Revolutionary War. "Federal" is a a patriotic term.
Roman Classicism/ / Jeffersonian Classicism / Classic(al) Revival Neoclassical version inspired by Renaissance-inspired Palladian Neoclassical style. Thomas Jefferson owned three copies of Palladio's books and used Palladian ideals in designing Monticello, etc.

This vision of Neoclassicism competed with the simpler Federal style.
Beaux-Arts Classicism A very rich, lavish and heavily ornamented classical style taught at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in the 19th century. Influenced the last phase of Neoclassicism in the United States
Element of a facade resembling the front of a Classical temple.

Colonial styles - Pre-Revolutionary War

"Colonial" style in architecture and furniture includes all the styles which existed during the Colonial period of American history. The Colonial period ended once the Colonies declared independence from England.

Colonial furniture styles, of course, corresponded to the architectural styles.

Colonial Revival 1880-1955

Definition: The reuse of Colonial design in the US toward the end of the 19th and into the 20th century, typically in bank buildings, churches and suburban homes.

This architectural style is considered a Victorian era style because, like the British Victorians, reaction to the Industrial Revolution led to reexamination of the pre-Industrial Revolution past and a revival of Gothic Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival.

The Philadelphia Centennial of 1876 is credited with first awakening an interest in our colonial architectural heritage.  Following on the heels of America's Centennial celebrations, the Colonial Revival emerged in the early 1880s. The style, which borrowed heavily from early American architecture - particularly Georgian style buildings - was largely an outgrowth of a new pride in America's past and a rapidly growing interest in historic preservation. Among the leaders of the movement were the partners at McKim, Mead and White, who had made a tour of New England's historic towns in 1878.

In the early phase, the Colonial Revival style remained the exclusive domain of fashionable architectural firms and was favored for the large residences of wealthy clients.

The Colonial Revival building is often a combination of various Colonial styles and contemporary elements. Generally the Revival house is larger than its Colonial counterpart and some of the individual elements are exaggerated or out of proportion with other parts of the house. Some Revival houses, however, are executed with such historical accuracy that they are difficult to distinguish from original houses. 

 Georgian Revival is sometimes referred to as "Colonial Revival." 

See Colonial Revival staircases

5.1.7 Colonial Revival

Growing interest in classical design and greater regard for more “correct” composition encouraged the development of the Colonial Revival style. Colonial Revival houses typically have massing and detail derived from Colonial and Federal prototypes, but the size and scale of Colonial Revival house are larger than those of the original models.

Most Colonial Revival buildings have contained rectilinear massing, broken perhaps by bay windows; symmetrical facades with central entrances; front porches with columns and classical balustrades; relatively uniform roofs, sometimes elaborated on the facade by a cross gable or a row of dormers; and window shutters. Palladian windows, corner pilasters, and garland-and-swag trim are common decorative elements. Materials used range from wood clapboard and shingle to brick and stone. Often the entry door is accented with a decorative surround or entry porch, a feature far less common to original Colonial houses.

The models for the Colonial Revival style homes in America were originally constructed by English colonists arriving in the late-seventeenth century. These early colonists modeled their homes after the half-timbered houses of England, but adapted the style to the stormy New England weather. Over time a sturdy and practical, modest, one- to one-and-a-half-story, regularly planned and often symmetric house with wooden shutters emerged. Much later, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a renewed interest in America's past inspired a variety of Colonial Revival styles, including Dutch Colonial and Cape Cod. Colonial Revival Cape Cod houses became especially popular during the 1930s. These small, economical houses were mass-produced in suburban developments across the United States.

A unique variant which is especially prominent in downstate New York is the Dutch Colonial Revival style. Due to the area’s early settlement by Dutch colonists, the Hudson Valley region contains some of the nation’s only examples of Dutch Colonial architecture, and as a result the Dutch Colonial Revival style appears frequently in the area. One of the most defining characteristics of the variation is the flared eaves which distinguished the Dutch Colonial Revival style from other Colonial Revival styles
- Clinton Brown Company Architecture/Rebuild: High & Locust Streets Historic District Nomination, Sec 5, pp. 11-13


Colonial Revival common characteristics:

Text sources:

The Pioneers: McKim, Mead and White
Excerpted from "American Revivalism," By Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins, published in The Magazine Antiques, May/June 2011, p. 99

A major watershed in the evolution of the colonial revival occurred in 1877 when four young architects - Charles Follen McKim, William Rutherford Mead, William Bigelow, and Stanford White - toured New England, sketching and measuring historic, colonial era houses in Marblehaed, Newburyport, and Salem, Massachusetts, as well as in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Even before this joint effort, McKim had visited and sketched colonial buildings for years on his own in Newport, Rhode Island.) In the process, a new direction in American architecture was forged. 

The firm of McKim, Mead and White was established in New York in 1879, and three years later the architects began to design the H. A. C. Taylor House in Newport.  Completed in 1886 the house was a pioneering example of the colonial revival.

McKim, Mead and White followed this foray into the colonial revival with the Mount Vernon-inspired James L. Bresse House (1906) on Long Island, as well as numerous residences in New York City.

Dutch Colonial Revival 1880-1955

Of the many forms of the Colonial Revival style, the Dutch cottage variant is among the most distinctive. Adapted from eighteenth century farmhouses erected by Dutch settlers, the defining characteristic of the style is a gambrel roof, which was introduced to America by the Dutch in the Mid-Atlantic colonies. The double-pitch of the gambrel roof created more space in the upper story, while allowing for the rapid run-off of rainfall, common to the eastern seaboard.

Dutch Colonial Revival houses are typically a tall one-and-one-half story building with a large flank-gambrel roof containing the second floor and attic. The lower roof slopes at both front and rear are broken by large full-width shed dormers on the second story level; the dormers usually dominate the roof, and the gambrel form is sometimes evident only on the end walls.

- Historic Resources Intensive Level Survey - Grant-Ferry-Forest, Vol. 1

Common characteristics:

Examples of Colonial Revival architecture in Buffalo

Click on illustrations for larger size

1782 Seneca St.

Fairfield Library

Rockwell Hall, State U. College at Buffalo

Fraternal Lodge 625 / Wood Senior Residence in Hamburg

Bethlehem Steel Management Club /
Brierwood Country Club
, in Hamburg. 1950s building.

440 Linwood Ave.

160 Windsor Ave.

65 Lincoln Pkwy.

591 Delaware Ave.

175 Depew Ave.

Depew Ave.

237 Depew Ave.

260 Depew Ave.

260 Depew Ave.

270 Depew Ave.

25 Colonial Circle

Other Colonial Revival sites on Buffalo Architecture & History website:

Photos and their arrangement 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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