Georgian Architecture is one of the popular and enduring styles of Architecture for homes and public buildings throughout the world. In this article we go through the main features of this style and when it was most popular.
What Is Georgian Architecture
Georgian Architecture refers to buildings constructed during the Georgian era which was between 1714 to 1830. The four King Georges who ruled England in succession during this period are the inspiration behind the style’s name. Moreover, it draws its inspiration from classic architecture from Greece and Rome. The main architect that popularised this style is Sir Christopher Wren from England.
Most homes and public buildings were using this style by the end of the Georgian era. Additionally, due to widespread colonization by the British empire, the style spread to most of the world. English Architects drew up plans in pattern books and sold them throughout the colonies to local builders.
The Main Features Of Georgian Architecture
Georgian buildings are very symmetrical. For example, features such as doors and windows are placed at the exact place on each side of the building. Georgian town planning also stressed the need for homes and buildings to have similar appearances. In such towns there wasn’t a difference between wealthy homes and middle-class homes.
Most British buildings from this era are made of bricks although some may have been made from stone or stucco. In America, wood was more commonly used due to its availability.
Georgian style buildings have minimal external decorations. Most houses were decorated with dormers on the roofs, decorative headers on windows and pediments, arched tops and ogee caps on building entrances. Interior decorations of Georgian Architecture were far more elaborate.
To start with, chimneypieces were the main decorative feature and were frequently adorned with a mirror or painting. Additionally, ceilings were decorated with elaborate plasterwork and walls had pretty wallpaper, bold wall paints or carved wood.
The late Georgian period saw the invention of the semi-detached house. Eyre Estate of St Johns Wood in England has a plan dated in 1794 and is thought to be the first example of semi-detached housing. England had many colonies during this era and examples of Georgian architecture can be seen in them.
Dartmouth College, Harvard University and Gunston Hall are famous examples of Georgian Architecture in America.
Decline And Revival
After 1840 Georgian Architecture lost its popularity and the gothic revival and neoclassical architecture took over in Britain. Additionally, Americans replaced the style with the Federalist styles which mixed many features of the Georgian style with revolutionary symbols.
However, in the early 1900’s to the 1950’s there was a revival of the style in America as city planners craved the order found in this style. In Canada as well there was a wave loyalty to Britain and consequently many builders embraced the Georgian style. Britain also had a revival of the style in the early decades of the 20th Century in an era or architecture called Neo-Georgian.