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Victorian style in America

In the second half of the 19th century, architects in the United States of America began to lose interest in Greco-Roman classicism and began to create new styles based on medieval and other non-classical forms of building. Continuing to be inspired by old and new foreign models, they have shown and their own ingenuity.

This is made possible by combining new building technologies, a great number of publications on architecture and home Economics, abundance of raw materials and financial capabilities and desires of Americans to build their own houses. One of the most important technological advances was the adoption of the so-called “balloon frame” (block-rack frame), in which the frame of the house could be made of homogeneous wood. More and more commercial companies to begin making these products.

The design of the frame consisted of inexpensive boards, about four to ten centimeters, of which turned uprights and floor beams, connected by nails cheap mass production.

In the end, at the turn of the century “balloon frame” completely replaced the traditional structure of hewn timber. This simplified the introduction of more complex architectural features such as ledges, Bay Windows and towers.

Advanced tehnologiile involved in the mass production of ready-made Windows, doors, corbels and decorative turned items, which were often made better and sometimes cost less than the same items made by hand. Besides adequate materials, had access to a wide variety of literature on construction, shopping catalogs, Swatch books and periodicals on architecture.

With the beginning of industrialization for the first time in the history of the United States made possible the widespread construction of large houses. The population moved from rural areas to cities and new immigrants needed housing, so the number of apartment buildings has continuously increased.

Formed on at least eight different architectural styles, along with numerous secondary styles and movements. All of them are now considered under the single heading of “Victorian era”. These styles overlap one another in time of existence, and none of them had a clear date of its beginning and end. Analysis of American homes of the 19th century complicated by the fact that many of them are built by combining different styles.

The first post classical styles starting in the 1830-ies, were the Gothic revival and Italian style. The style “stick” appeared in the 1860-ies and 70-ies, and at the end of the 19th century there was an American style Queen Anne, Romanesque, Richardson, style “shingle” (or “gone-St” style) and the style of recreating the period of colonization. At the same time in the design of American houses penetrated the Egyptian and Oriental elements, built rural houses in the Swiss style, a new round of popularity got the octagonal plan of the buildings.

The Gothic revival and Italian style were based on the prototypes of the English Regency era and came from increased interest in historic architecture. Early houses in the style of Gothic revival picturesque different non-standard sizes and layouts, pointed roofs and Gables, scalloped parapets and Windows, consisting of several panes of glass, sometimes with Gothic arches. To enhance the effect of perpendicular walls is often inexpensive homes were sheathed with vertical boards, In comparison with the construction of wooden houses construction of stone or brick was always more expensive, so not very common.

House in the Italian style, partly inspired by the farmhouses of Northern Italy, had gently sloping roofs with wide overhangs supported by brackets, and a narrow elongated Windows, often framed in a trim in a classic style. B 1850-ies, the Italian style has taken a dominant place in construction of urban houses. Its success is partly due to the fact that he was successfully placed in square volumes, whereas the Gothic style to achieve the desired result demanded unbalanced volumes.

Italian style continued to exist until the end of the century, although at the same time, in fashion circles at the fore style “second Empire”, recognizable by a mansard roof, projects borrowed from Francois Mansart, the court architect of Louis XIV. The mansard roof became popular because it created a connection with fashion France, where it has experienced a Renaissance thanks to the architects of the “second Empire”, and because its size has provided the opportunity to have one floor – attic. Mansard roof is often used in the construction of houses in the Italian style.

Not faded interest in medieval styles that not only contributed to the development of the Gothic revival, but also inspired the style “stick” and Queen Anne. Home in the style of “the stick” were a reflection of the English half-timbered construction. As at home in the Gothic style, they introduce the romantic flavors to asymmetric buildings with their steep gabled roofs and hanging cornices. However, the style “stick” was different lattice designs bearing joists (rafter trusses) and a relief pattern from a vertically and diagonally broken boards on the walls.

“Stick”, along with elements from the Gothic and Italian styles, created prototypes for the American style of Queen Anne. This style existed from 1880 19 on the year, absorbed the ideas of British architect Richard Norman Shaw  and his followers. However, half-timbered buildings and houses of stone of the English style of Queen Anne is only one dimension of its American variant. (p. 275) American architects made a change in the set of decorative wood products, enriching existing styles more complex compositions. The roof, for example, are even steeper and more complicated in shape compared to the Gothic style or style of “stick”. A relatively simple layout and the volumes of houses mid-century were complicated by additional overhangs, overhanging floors, Gables and towers. The exterior walls were finished with a wooden wedge-shaped planks (with shingles), original brickwork and terracotta inserts.

In some houses in the style of Queen Anne and “stick” used elements of the Eastlake style, named after English designer and critic Charles Locke ICS-tlaca (1833-1906), whose decorating taste has been borrowed by Americans for their exteriors. Elements of the Eastlake style include a powerful patio stand, balusters and pendants, as well as extensive use of chiseled columns in the friezes and balustrades.

Richardsonlucy Romanesque style, named after its most famous representative of X. X. Richardson (1838-86), appeared in the second half of the 1880s, and lasted until the end of the century. This style is based on the use of roughly dressed stone for facing, creating asymmetrical volumes, as well as semicircular arched openings under a porch, doors and Windows, along with simple details borrowed from Roman, Syrian and Byzantine sources.

Style “shingle” that existed for the last two decades of the 19th century, strongly contrasts with the rich detail of Queen Anne and similar to the Romanesque style in the almost continuous use of undecorated surfaces. Wedge a wooden plank – shingles – usually laid in straight rows, creating a uniform coating of walls and roofs. Decorative elements were simple, based on a modest set of neo-classical elements present in American homes in the period of colonization and revolution for independence: for example, Doric columns and Venetian (Palladian) window. The plan was welcomed asymmetry.

The study of early American houses pre-date Greek revival resulted in the construction of buildings that the builders dubbed the “colonial”. Originally was used of houses of Queen Anne with the addition of a large number of neoclassical details. More later began to build exact replicas of houses of the 18th century.

As in all parts of the country read books on design and used the same construction materials of mass production, regional differences became insignificant. By the early 1890s, it became possible to deliver a prefabricated house in the Queen Anne style in the United States by rail. But a relatively small number of local differences does not mean lack of interest of architects. The American house Victorian eclectic composition of styles and have rich individual interpretation.