Victorian Architecture

In Eureka, California sits one of the most beautiful
examples of Victorian Architecture. The Carson Mansion,
with its 18 rooms and excess of 16,200 square feet was
constructed between 1884 and 1886. The cost of this
structure was an incredible $80,000.

It is a mix of every major style of Victorian Architecture
and is the most written about, most photographed house in
California, possibly the U.S.

Victorian Architecture is known by many other names and can
be of various styles. The building period of Victorian
Architecture overlaps the reign of Queen Victoria, for whom
it was named.

These structures are highly decorated and so aptly
nicknamed Gingerbread houses for all of their pieces and
gingerbread type scroll work and ornamentation.

Interestingly enough, in the U.S., Toledo, Ohio is
recognized as having one of the largest collections of
Victorian homes, East of the Mississippi. Boston is noted
in the National Register of Historic Places as having the
oldest Victorian neighborhood in the U.S.

But of course, the U.S. isn’t the only place where these
intricate creations of Victorian Architecture can be found.
Notable Victorian era cities range from London to Glasgow
to Melbourne and to New Orleans.

Typical Victorian Architecture is grand in size, containing
many functional rooms and passageways throughout the
structure. Most throughout the country are not only
fancifully decorated with intricate woodwork throughout,
but they are usually known for their grand color schemes,
both on the exterior and interior. Large inviting rooms
welcome guests into their depths.

Prairie Style Architecture

If you are looking for an interesting, and beautiful style
of architecture for a house or smaller sized commercial
building, then you may want to look towards the prairie
style architecture.

The prairie style architecture was drafted originally in
the loft room of the Steinway Piano Company building in
Chicago, Illinois in the 1890’s. The Prairie Style was
popular from the 1900’s through about 1912.

Probably the most famous follower of the Louis Sullivan
teachings on Prairie Style architecture was Frank Lloyd

Also termed Prairie School Architecture, the Prairie style
was and is most commonly found in the Midwestern United

Prairie style homes are distinct in their design. Created
with horizontal lines, flat roofs with overhanging eves and
windows grouped in horizontal bands.

Some of the most famous Prairie Style homes are the Darwin
D. Martin House in Buffalo, NY, along with the Guggenheim
Museum in New York City and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.

There is one though that stands out above the rest, the
Robie House. Located on the campus on the University of
Chicago, it is the quintessential example of the Prairie
Style Architecture.

Illinois still holds the greatest number of Prairie Style
Architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright lived for a time in Oak
Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Here you will find
street after street of Prairie Style Architecture.

Prairie homes were made to function efficiently in the
prairie climate. The horizontal lines were thought to match
those of the native prairie landscape. The interior was
designed to be multifunctional and utilizing the suns
natural light and natural air flow throughout the house.
The Prairie Style architecture is by far some of the most
beautiful you will find in the Midwest.

Greco-Roman Architecture

Ancient Greece may have spawned the beginning of sculpture
and architecture, not only in ancient times, but also until
present day.

Until the 7th century, Greece was without architecture.
Since the pre 7th century Greek buildings were made mostly
of wood or mud-brick, there is nothing remaining of them
and there was little in written record about them.

But in a more modern Greece, buildings such as the
Parthenon and the Coliseum, still partially remain, giving
us beautiful architecture in which to study.

Most Greco-Roman architecture either rectangle or square in
shape and made from limestone, which is found in abundance
in Greece. Though many people think Marble was used in the
building of the Greco-Roman architecture, the cost and
unavailability of it directed its use for mostly sculptural
decoration, except for the Parthenon.

Greco-Roman architecture is abundant in columns and size.
Most people don’t realize that there are two types of
Greco-Roman architecture, the Doric and Ionic.

While the famous Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus in
Athens are Doric, the Erechtheum, which is located right
next to the Parthenon is Ionic. Ionic Greco-Roman
architecture is more decorative.

The most surviving buildings of Roman-Greco Architecture
lean towards the temples. This is mainly due to the
building material used. Limestone though, after years, can
begin to waste away and decompose with natural erosion.

A building like the temples and the Parthenon were revered
as the grandest buildings, therefore marble, which was
difficult to transport from the few islands where it could
be found, was used.

Gothic Architecture

Visiting most European cathedrals, abbeys and parish
churches that were built between the 12th century and the
16th century, you will notice the intricate, almost gaudy
structure with its peaks and spires and flying buttresses.

These architectural feats are commonplace for Gothic
architecture. Used also in castles and palaces as well as
government buildings and universities, but lesser found in
private dwellings, as its construction was extremely

Named not from the historical Goths, but from Giorgio
Vasari to describe the culture that was considered rude and
barbaric. At that time, Italy was building classical
structures and looked to the European buildings as garish
and showy.

The Gothic architecture utilizes local resources such as
various grades of limestone, and colored marble.

Not only was this a new building style, but also architects
were able to utilize new technology. The ogival and pointed
arches were integral in the Gothic architecture.

Emphasizing verticality and light, the inside -walls- were
not solid ones that we commonly know, but looked more like
the skeleton of a building. Clustered columns, pointed
ribbed vaults and flying buttresses were the finished

The Gothic architecture of cathedrals and abbys were
designed to be landmark buildings and rose high above the
rest of the town’s structures.

Another fantastic characteristic of the Gothic architecture
in these buildings was the enormous towers, pinnacles and
spires that loomed over the town. On the inside, the
pointed arches emphasized the height and helped to enhance
the decoration of the interior.

Bauhaus Architecture

From 1919 to 1933, Germany gave to the world the Bauhaus
school of architecture. Founded by Walter Gropius, the name
Bauhaus comes from the German words for -to build- and

Very basic in its meaning, the Bauhaus architecture is just
that. Basic shapes, geometric designs and little frill and
fancy. Though its founder was an architect, for the first
several years, the Staatliches Bauhaus School in Germany
refined the crafts and fine arts but did not actually
include an architecture department.

The Bauhaus architectural style became the basis for
current Modernist architecture. These structures are
primarily simple in form and without ornamentation.

The forms were simple and functional with the idea of mass
production with some artistic spirit thrown in. When
Bauhaus Architecture was at its peak, an entire group of
architects turned away from their fancy, over designed
structures and into a more standard, basic way of design.

Understandably, Bauhaus Architecture is most commonly found
in Germany, but its influences reached the United States
and even Tel Aviv in the time following its demise in
Germany due exile.

In fact the UN because of its abundance of Bauhaus now
lists Tel Aviv as a world heritage site. In the late 1930s
the Bauhaus Architecture was brought to the U.S. Namely
Chicago, Illinois, where the New Bauhaus School was

As the basics for our modern day minimalist style, Bauhaus
architecture is still being practiced today. In fact, at
the Florida State University, the Master Craftsman Program
is utilizing the Bauhaus theory and practices.

Baroque Architecture

A very early style of architecture, but a very beautiful
style is Baroque architecture, which began in the early
17th century in Italy.

Taking the renaissance architecture and modifying it to a
new theatrical, sculptural fashion, Baroque architecture
became a very fanciful, extravagant style of structural

While the Renaissance style was designed for the well to do
of society, the Baroque architecture initially played into
the wealth and power of the Roman Catholic Church.

The concerns were for light, shade and color intensity and
Baroque found its secular expression in grand palaces first
in France, then throughout Europe.

If you were to visit France today, the Chateau de Maisons
would be one of the highlights of Baroque architecture.

One of the most famous though of the Baroque architecture
pieces is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is the most
prominent building inside Vatican City. Topped with its
towering dome, it is a notable feature in the Roman

Baroque structures are grand in size and ornaments. As
baroque moved through Europe, it eventually took on the
look of European Colonialism.

Greenwich hospital in London, England is another beautiful
example of Baroque architecture. Founded in 1694 as the
Royal Naval Hospital for sailors, the Greenwich hospital is
famous for its Baroque Painted Hall, which was painted in
honor of King William and Queen Mary.

The chapel is an awesome example of not only Baroque
architecture, but of baroque art with its high gold painted

Art Deco Architecture

Between 1920 and 1939, Art Deco Architecture was all the
rage. Not only did the Art Deco movement affect
Architecture, but also interior design, industrial design
and visual arts like fashion, painting, graphic arts and

The movement was a mixture of many different styles,
incorporating cubism, modernism, Bauhaus, Art Nouveau, and
Futurism, and its popularity peaked in the roaring

While many earlier architectural styles had political or
philosophical roots, Art Deco Architecture was simply

Designed to be beautiful, elegant, functional and modern.
One of the best-known pieces of Art Deco architecture in
the U.S. is the Chrysler Building in New York.

The beautiful Art Deco spire was built between 1928 and
1930. Following close behind the Art Deco period was the
Streamline Moderne. The focus was mainly on advancing
technologies such as automobiles and aviation.

Art Deco architecture is mainly composed of man-made
materials. The most popular being glass and stainless
steel. Lines were very symmetrical and repetitive
throughout structures.

Very popular during the great depression because of its
simplicity and practicality, Art Deco still reminded people
of the better times and gave them hope of one day reliving

World War II cut short the life of Art Deco. People began
to see it as gaudy and a false image of luxury, but Art
Deco presented the gateway to modernism, which continues
well into the 1960s.

Today we see a revival of the old, people caring enough to
reconstruct or refurbish the beautiful designs of Art Deco
architecture or even begin modernizing it and mixing it
with styles of today. But as you travel the country, in
many big cities you can still find the grand structures of
Art Deco still standing.


Architecture is the science and art of designing buildings
and other structures. It can also be expanded to the
designing of surrounding environments, towns and

Someone who specializes in architecture is called an
architect. Architecture has played a key part of our entire
worlds history. For wherever there have been buildings or
structures that were safe for inhabiting, there has been
some sort of architecture.

Architecture combines functionality with aesthetics to
create the buildings we live in, work in and play in. From
the smallest 1 bedroom home to the grandest palace or
biggest cathedral, every structure is based on some form of

Architectural designs change with time and space. Each era
has its own style of architecture, from Baroque,
Greco-Roman, Art Deco, Victorian to American Colonial,
Prairie, and Bauhaus. Lines, materials, structure and
symbolism all contribute to the different styles of

Architecture styles can be anywhere from subtle to garish
and materials vary from lumber to limestone. Most early
styles of architecture though utilize local materials that
were bountiful.

In Greece for example, where limestone was plentiful, most
structures were created from this natural material. And
since marble was not only rare but for a few select
islands, but very difficult to transport, it was used
sparingly and usually only for ornamentation.

In Colonial America, Saltbox houses were created from
timber since it was so readily available and most
properties had abundance so it cost next to nothing. And to
save more money, these Saltbox houses were also put
together with joints because the cost of nails was an
unnecessary expense.

American Colonial Architecture

A trip through the U.S. will grant you sights of beautiful
architecture, from coast to coast. During the 1780’s though
the most popular style of architecture was the American

Built mostly by wealthy Anglo Americans, the houses
afforded several distinct styles depending on local. Also
known as Colonial Georgian, these homes were the earliest
style to grace the U.S. colonies.

A prime example of early American Colonial architecture is
called a Saltbox. What the Saltbox basically is is a wooden
frame house with a high-pitched roof that slopes down to
the back.

Its flat front has two stories while the back of the house
has only one, making the sides unequal, but distinctly
looking just like an old salt box which was a wooden box
with a lid which salt was kept.

A simple name for a simple style of home. Generally, the
chimney was centrally located, making the house, from a
distance, look like a box with a lid and handle to lift it

Other defining characteristics of American Colonial
architecture are the square, symmetrical shape, the front
door placed directly in the middle of the houses front and
the even, straight line of windows throughout.

Inside the front door are usually an entryway and a
staircase. All rooms branch off these. Typically they were
constructed of brick with wood trim, but with homes like
the Saltbox, they were also timber frame homes constructed
with woodworking joints instead of metal nails, since they
were costly. Saltbox homes were also finished with wood

Adobe Architecture

Some of the earliest structures were Adobe architecture.
Adobe is a material made from sand, clay and straw, dung or
other fibrous materials.

The adobe is then formed into bricks using frames and dried
in the sun. Similar to cob or mud bricks, the structures
become extremely durable. They are used mainly in hot, arid
climates because they remain cool in the summer and release
heat very slowly in the winter.

The same mixture, without the straw is used for mortar in
placing the dried adobe bricks together to form a
structure. Some cultures even figured out they could
utilize lime-based cement for plaster to protect against
the wet months.

The thickness of the adobe bricks is key in the
architecture. It is what essentially keeps the structures
cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The largest structure ever erected from Adobe was the Bam
Citadel. But it suffered serious damage from an earthquake
in 2003.

The Huaca del Sol in Peru is another grand adobe structure
that was created from over 100 million signed bricks.

The world’s largest adobe architecture structure is the
citadel of Arg-e Bam, erected as late as 500BCE, possibly

The area of Bam Citadel is 180,000 square meters and is
surrounded by walls 6-7 meters high and 1815 meters in
length, all out of Adobe. When the gates to the city were
closed, no human or animal could enter. The city was
self-contained with well access, gardens and cattle all
within the walls.

The adobe architecture was a little different when it came
to putting a roof on the structure. Typically roofs were
assembled from lengths of wood or metal. Then rows of dried
adobe bricks are laid over the top of a support structure
and plastered into place with more adobe.