grey4 Architectural Styles

Georgian Architecture




Front facade of house

Georgian architecture reflected Renaissance ideals as popularized in England by Sir Christopher Wren. The publication of Palladio's works in 1715 (and those of other Italian architects of the sixteenth century) brought knowledge of Renaissance architecture to England. Wren and other English architects adapted Roman classical forms. James Gibbs' Book of Architecture (1728) helped popularize the style.

Hallmarks of Georgian design include:
  • Rigid symmetry
  • Hipped roofs
  • Axial entrances
  • Sash windows
  • Geometrical proportions
Mid-Georgian features include:
  • Giant pilasters
  • Central pavilion with pediment and pilasters jutting out from front facade

Federal Architecture

Moldings in Blue Entry
Moldings in Blue Entry

The Federal style was created by the Adam brothers in Scotland.  It was an amalgam of Renaissance and Palladian forms, the delicacy of French rococo, and the classical architecture of Greece and Rome. Adam published the first measured drawings of Roman architecture (1764).

Characteristics of Federal architecture include:

  • Decorative elements, such as urns, swags, sheaths of wheat and garlands.
  • Hexagonal, oval, and circular interior design patterns
  • Rectangular or square buildings
  • Three stories high
  • Low hipped roofs, often with a balustrade
  • Doors and windows in beautiful scale
  • Narrow columns and moldings
  • Delicate decorations of rosettes, urns, swags on mantels, cornices, door and window frames, and ceilings


Colonial Revival  
(late 19th century)

Circular lamp in parlor

The Colonial Revival style was typified by:
  • Reuse of Georgian elements, sometimes out of scale, and combinations of elements not used in the original Colonial designs
  • An attempt to capture the "spirit" of the past
  • A manifestation of emotional, spiritual, and intellectual heritage


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