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The History Of The Victorian Architecture History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The Victorian architectural styles were frequently used during the mid and late 19th century in the United Kingdom. As with most British and French architectural styles of the time, its name comes from the name of a leader who was admired at the time and in the place that the style was popular; in this case, the name refers to Queen Victoria, who reigned in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from June 20, 1837 to January 22, 1901, during which time the style was commonly used in construction. Using a combination of many historical styles, as well as integrating Middle East and Asian influences, Victorian architecture appears in various styles in many places around the world.

First appearing around 1830, the group of styles, collectively referred to as Victorian architecture, was preceded by the Georgian and Regency architectural styles. The Georgian architecture style, associated with the first four monarchs of the House of Hanover, was fairly simple, consisting of a box shape that was proportionally balanced, and became less popular around 1840. Named after prince Regent, the Regency style built upon Georgian architecture, adding certain elegance and often utilizing white stucco and a set of columns at entry doors. This style would eventually fall out of use during the mid-19th century to be replaced by the Victorian family of styles. Due to the architecture of the 18th century, which followed strict rules of proportion and scale, often resulting in extremely coherent architecture, Victorian era architecture emerged as somewhat of a response to previous styles, often becoming unnecessarily complex in order to create stunning visuals.

While much of Victorian architecture is not truly unified other than its development in the mid-19th century, one of the most important factors in the development of the Victorian styles is the creation of new technology that allowed for the incorporation of steel into buildings. This, along with some revolutionary architects, allowed for a completely new type of building. During this period, the styles that developed in England that are considered Victorian are the Jacobethan, commonly used from 1830 to 1870, the Renaissance Revival, used from 1840 to 1890, the Neo-Grec, used from 1845 to 1865, the Romanesque Revival, the Second Empire, used from 1855 to 1880, which originated in France, the Queen Anne, used from 1870 to 1910, the Scots Baronial, principally in Scotland, and the British Arts and Crafts movement, used from 1880 to 1910. Each of these styles was similar, yet distinct in their own ways.

During the Victorian era in England, Gothic Revival, Italianate, and Neoclassicism architectural styles came into popularity, and, although they are not strictly Victorian, they are often associated with the Victorian era and are sometimes incorporated into Victorian designs.

At the time that Victorian architecture became popular, many people had begun to emigrate from the British Empire to places all around the world. English architects brought their ideas with them to the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. At first, these architects utilized styles that had been popular when they left England, but with the beginning of worldwide circulation of various publications, including the magazine, The Builder, architects in the British colonies and the United States were able to utilize the latest and most fashionable advancements in Victorian architecture.

For the United States, Victorian architecture refers to the styles that became popular in the latter half of the 1800’s. Like England, the United States Victorian architects combined styles including Second Empire and Queen Anne, as well as Stick-Eastlake, Richardson Romanesque, and Shingle. In the United States as well, Italianate and Gothic Revival styles developed during this period are often referred to as Victorian even though they do not share the qualities of the rest of Victorian architecture. It has even been classified by some historians that a late development of the Gothic Revival may actually be a distinctive Victorian style, and it is called High Victorian Gothic. A combination of Stick and Queen Anne, the Victorian style known as Stick-Eastlake involves geometric, machine cut decorating is also sometimes considered to be a distinct Victorian style, and is at other times not.

The United States, being highly influenced by this style, has many cities that contain many Victorian style buildings including Astoria, Albany, Troy, Boston, the Brooklyn Heights section of New York City, Buffalo, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Eureka, Galena, Galveston, Grand Rapids, Baltimore, Jersey City/Hoboken, Cape May, Louisville, Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Saint Paul, the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, and St. Louis. San Francisco is well known for its extensive Victorian architecture, particularly in the Haight-Ashbury, Lower Haight, Alamo Square, Noe Valley, Castro, Nob Hill, and Pacific Heights neighborhoods.

In Australia, the Victorian period is identified from 1840 to 1890, and is considered to contain fifteen styles; these styles are Victorian Georgian, Victorian Regency, Egyptian, Academic Classical, Free Classical, Filigree, Mannerist, Second Empire, Italianate, Romanesque, Tudor, Academic Gothic, Free Gothic, Rustic Gothic, and Carpenter Gothic.

As for the Victorian style itself, there was very much variation. Many Italianate structures associated with the Victorian style had flat roof lines, corniced eaves, angled bay windows and Corinthian-columned porches. The Stick-Eastlake style very often consisted of square bays, flat roof lines and free-style decorations. The High Victorian Gothic Style used varying texture and Gothic details.

In the United States, Queen Anne homes had a gabled roof, shingled insets, angled bay windows under the gable and on occasion a tower. In England, the style often had a sweep of steps leading to a carved stone door-case, rows of painted windows that were flush with the brickwork, and a central triangle set against a hipped roof.

Another common Victorian style is the Second Empire style, originating in Paris, France. Like many Victorian styles, it is heavily influenced by the Gothic Revival and Italianate eras. One of the most distinctive features of Second Empire buildings is the use of quoins (masonry bricks at the corners of the buildings) for reinforcement, as well as the common use of mansard roofs.

With so many different styles arising during the reign of Queen Victoria, it may almost seem as though these are all different architectural styles, but there are some qualities that they are very common in these styles. These include columns, bay windows, turrets, dormers, cornices, and gables.

Another important aspect of the Victorian era is the Victorian Restoration. This movement involved the widespread rebuilding and refurbishment of many churches and cathedrals in both England and Wales during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Perhaps the most important Victorian architect was Joseph Paxton, a member of parliament who designed the Crystal Palace, a cast-iron and plate-glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, used for the 1851 Great Exhibition. His incorporation of steel into his designs was revolutionary. Paxton is also well known for designing many greenhouses.

Another well-known Victorian architect was Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who incorporated much of the Gothic Revival style, as much of the Victorian style itself did. He is best known for designing parts of the Palace of Westminster, as well as many churches in Ireland and Australia.

Alexander “Greek” Thomson, a Scottish architect who published his designs, was perhaps one of the lesser known architects of his time, but he was a pioneer in sustainable architecture, commonly used now to help the environment.

Some examples of Victorian architecture include the Palace of Westminster (1870, Neo-Gothic), where the parliament of the United Kingdom meets, the Brooklyn Bridge (1883), which connects Manhattan to Brooklyn, and the Carson Mansion in Eureka, Florida (1884, one of the most striking examples of the Queen Anne Style).

With the end of the reign of Queen Victoria, the idea of Victorian architecture began to fall out of favor to be replaced by

For England, Victorian architecture added to the already diversely built nation, as well as advanced buildings that were already present. For the United States, which was still very much growing considerably in the latter half of the 19th century, Victorian architecture was utilized for almost every possible time of building, including schools, homes, and churches. The Victorian family of architectural styles is varied, yet unique, and can be seen in many different forms throughout the world.

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