What is Georgian Architecture?
Georgian Architecture is the name typically used to describe the architecture in English-speaking countries in the period from 1720 to 1840. This architectural style draws its name from the four English monarchs who were all named George (George I, George II, George III and George IV).
Prior to the development of Georgian Architecture the prevalent form of architecture in England was the English Baroque style as exemplified by the work of Sir Christopher Wren, Sir John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor. The shift from the Baroque style of architecture was heralded by the efforts of such architects as Colen Campbell (who achieved acclaim with his engravings in Vitruvius Britannicus), Lord Burlington (who worked alongside his protégé William Kent), Thomas Archer and Giacomo Leoni who was originally a native of Venice.
The term Georgian Architecture is actually an umbrella category under which fall many different architectural styles. Palladian architecture comprised of the mainstream branch of this style, with the Gothic and Chinoiserie styles as sub categories.
The latter two architectural styles were widely considered to be the English version of the popular Rococo style of architectural that was prevalent in the rest of the European continent at the time. By the mid-1760s a new style began to emerge which later came to be known as the neoclassical style and its chief proponents were the noted British architects Robert Adam, James Gibbs, Sir William Chambers, James Wyatt, Henry Holland and Sir John Soane. Beginning in the 1800s, the Greek style of architectural also began to make inroads into the architectural world although its influence had significantly less impact compared to the aforementioned styles.
Georgian Architecture can typically be distinguished from other forms of architecture by its proportion and balance. The measurements of any given aspect, whether a doorway, window or a room were calculated mathematically to determine the ideal dimension or proportion in relation the rest of the design elements.
The term "regular" came to be a touchstone in the Georgian Architectural design world and implied a perfect symmetry and balance that drew heavily upon the classical rules of architecture which informed much of the design efforts of the previous years. When further developments in the Georgian styles introduced additions to the existing structures, many purists took a somewhat dim view of such innovations, dismissing many of them as flaws that detracted from the symmetry of the earlier classical designs.
This obsession with balance and regularity often extended into the planning of residential communities and a consistently designed row of house fronts was considered a highly desirable aspect of Georgian Architecture.
Aside from the meticulously ordered and regular appearance which drew heavily from the classical styles of architecture, Georgian Architecture was also heavily influenced by architectural methods which were first established in ancient Rome or Greece.
Many examples of Georgian Architecture utilised brick or stone (and sometimes both) as their primary building materials. Many architects of the Georgian period felt that these materials were best suited in realising their vision and many of the structures of the area were noticeable in their use of reddish brick walls with white trimmings used an accent.
Original Authors: Doods Pangburn
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 21/07/2008