Prior to the Victorian Era, most public buildings were made in Greek revival style as simplicity and dignity were considered most valuable ideals during that period. By the time Victoria became queen in 1837; popularity of the Greek style dimmed and became unfashionable. So architects started to design buildings, planned with new imaginations and styles, which were almost whimsical at the time. The designers and architects of the Victorian period drew deeply from history, nature, geometry, theory, and personal inspiration to create their designs.
Arts and literature of the era also influenced the architectural designs to a great extent. The Victorians considered new designs to be a new kind of modernism, which is why it had such instant popularity. People were tired of the simplistic residential designs of the past; the highly decorative features of this period fulfilled their newfound love of exquisite design. Moreover, the Industrial Revolution and subsequent economic boom created a new middle class who had huge wealth at their disposal and could afford to pursue their dreams of living comfortably in beautiful homes. They built their homes to symbolise their wealth and status.
The Victorian architectural period mostly spans the period of roughly 1825-1900 and many styles and trends overlapped each other, making buildings of the era multi facade and multi dimensional. Most of the early homes were built of stone, and enhanced with decorative stone tracery. Since the 1830's, buildings were being built with bays, turrets, overhangs, odd corners, and irregular floor plans. Architects were always looking out for new scroll and pattern books and magazines published house plans that provided inspirations for new varieties of trim and decoration.
Qualities of a Victorian home:
- The most visible quality of a Victorian home is the great ornamentation of a building. Homes during the era were extensively decorated -both interior and exterior, in different styles, colours and shades, each style using its own form. Three distinct styles are Gothic Revival- elaborate bargeboards and gingerbread; Italianate- carved lintels and brackets, and Queen Anne- steep gabled roofs, shingled walls and spindle work.
- Another quality of a Victorian home is the luxuriant extensions such as wraparound porches with extensive carvings, expansive bay windows, and towers and turrets.
Most experts have classified Victorian architectural styles into following major categories
- Gothic Revival.
- Second Empire.
- Renaissance Revival.
- Queen Anne.
- Stick Style.
- Richardsonian Romanesque.
"It is long since you built a great cathedral; and how you would laugh at me if I proposed building a cathedral on the top of one of these hills of yours, to make it an Acropolis! But your railroad mounds, vaster than the walls of Babylon, your railroad stations, vaster than the temple of Ephesus, and innumerable; your chimneys, how much more mighty and costly than cathedral spires! Your harbour-piers; your warehouses; your exchanges! -- All these are built to your great Goddess of "Getting-on;" and she has formed, and will continue to form, your architecture, as long as you worship her; and it is quite vain to ask me to tell you how to build to her; you know far better than I." - John Ruskin, "Traffic"
Original Authors: Bishal Chakma
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 23/07/2008