Name that architectural style
June 6, 2017 8:14 PM   Subscribe

What can you tell me about the architectural style of this house?

As someone who knows little about architecture and less about good taste, there are two things I'm particularly curious about:
  • Is it common to mix and match columns of different Greek orders, is that something an architect would side-eye today?
  • The space in a Greek-style pediment is usually ornamental, is it gauche to use it for a functional architectural element such as a this gable vent, or a window, or a clock?
posted by peeedro to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Georgian; the house evolved over several decades.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:30 PM on June 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I'm a little uncertain on terms of styles in American architecture, so will leave that to the experts. But it is in the best taste to use different orders for the two stories. And you can put whatever you want in the pediment, the issue can be with the relation of the parts to the whole, as it is in your window example.
posted by mumimor at 1:57 AM on June 7, 2017

Best answer: The space in a Greek-style pediment is usually ornamental, is it gauche to use it for a functional architectural element such as a this gable vent, or a window, or a clock?

You calling Thomas Jefferson gauche? This is fairly common in the US, almost to the point that it's more expected than having actual sculpture. A vent might be overly utilitarian for a primary facade, but not rare.

mumimor is right about the mixing of orders - and there's generally a way to do it, and it's done correctly in this house. If you're going to switch up orders, you start with Doric on the bottom, then go to Ionic, then Corinthian, then you can go to a composite order, but that's pushing it. The reason is for the relative inherent slenderness of the prescribed form of each order (they're often done incorrectly); you want to go from thick to slender. The Colosseum is a canonical example.
posted by LionIndex at 3:50 AM on June 7, 2017

Best answer: The house is modelled on the Palladian style, specifically the Palladian villa, but with some distinctive features which mark it out as being American, particularly the double portico. Palladio's Villa Cornaro has a double portico, but it was Jefferson's first design for Monticello that established it as a distinctively American style.

American architects generally relied on pattern books, leading to quite a free use of the Palladian style, with a number of features that seem peculiar to a European eye. Notable in this building are: (1) the way that the portico is superimposed onto the main building, rather than being integral to it, and (2) the prominent balustraded balcony, which breaks up the classical proportions. A purist would call this crude and inept, and probably mutter something about 'vulgarity' and 'more money than taste'. But the great thing about Palladianism is its adaptability, and some modern architects have chosen to celebrate Palladio's influence in America with a deliberate mixture of allusions.
posted by verstegan at 7:42 AM on June 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The second-story "piazza" is also A Thing in South Carolina architecture. See this article on single houses (which the one you linked isn't, but has that feature in common with).
posted by capricorn at 9:53 AM on June 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older How to transfer house and mortgage from my dad to...   |   Monthly superhero comic for a 6-year-old Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.