Neoclassical Architecture: History, Types & Examples
Neoclassical architecture can be said to be viewed as a historic piece of aesthetic that everyone can relate to. It is a style that we often see adorned in many important buildings across countries. The intricacies and styling details that go into creating these structures are immense and they are adorned for it as well. From columns to intricate detailing on windows and doors, they only get better as time passes and stands as a reminder of how rich the architecture of the place is.
What is Neoclassical Architecture?
Neoclassical Architecture is one that has revived itself in the recent present as a continuation of Roman and Greek Architecture. This style of architecture uses the basic orders of Greek Architecture, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, with heavy use of pillars. It also uses a grand-scale revival of classical Roman Architecture, resembling historically important buildings that emerged during the 18th century.
Other features include the embellishment of the top part of doors and windows with a triangular decorative element that is a pediment. It also has a symmetry that follows with the openings placed in an evenly spaced manner. These openings are then separately decorative in the form of arches, palladian or normal wheels.
Other features that a neoclassical style of architecture follows include elements that go into adding spaces and placement of the same in a building design. Symmetry is followed innate throughout the structure in every aspect with an elaborate approach. Neoclassical Architecture demands the inclusion of a portico and the extensive use of columns and pediments. Double-hung sashes adorn the windows with double flanked shutters. There is an elaborate way of designing the doors as well as along with a variety of window styles that they explore.
History of Neoclassical Architecture
The promotion of neoclassical buildings, in general, was due to the introduction of baroque and Rococo style ornamentation throughout the 18th century. Finally, when Pompeii and Herculaneum were discovered, the fascination was strong enough to inspire architects and builders to resurrect the forgotten Greek and Roman ways of building.
With the inclusion of all important features of these building styles, Neoclassical Architecture was practiced throughout continental Europe, Britain, and the United States. Adapted and reformed in these cities, Neoclassical Architecture eventually paved the way for modernism in the early-mid-20th century. Its effects remain till today, where it is often retitled as new classical buildings.
Types of Neoclassical Architecture
The types of Neoclassical Architecture can be of two ways. The typologies come from the Temple-style and Classical style of buildings. Temple-style buildings are buildings made taking inspiration from structures such as Paris Pantheon, Pantheon in Rome, British Museum in London, etc.
Palladian buildings by the Ar. Andre Palladia is made in the renaissance style, inspired by ancient Greek and raw building. The classical style of architecture in the neoclassical style of buildings is mainly formed by a rectangular or square room that is lined outside with a series of columns. The Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve was built using the same principle by Henri Labrouise.
Examples of Historic Neoclassical Homes
1. Parisian Pantheon
Located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, it was meant to be a neoclassical home for a church, holding relics of Saint Genevieve. It was ordered to be made by King Louis XIV and designed by Jacques-Germain Soufflot. The completion of the project was done without the king and the designer to bear witness.
Taking inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome, this church was also used as a mausoleum for distinguished people. This was further finalized to be for the French people as its completion was seen at the end of the French Revolution.
2. The United States Capitol Building
Situated on Capitol Hill, the United States Capitol building is one of the most famous neoclassical buildings in the world. Built to hold gatherings of the congress, this structure was completed in 1800 to be partially burnt in 1814 during the burning of Washington. Although the dome and the extended wings were added later on, the core structure follows a neoclassical style like most judicial and executive buildings.
The design for the building was procured as a part of the test, and if won the person would be awarded 500 dollars. The 10 entries submitted were seen as designs that were amateur level and were dismissed. Later, a late entry was submitted by British-American Architect William Thornton, whose work was seen as beautifully simple yet grand, which was then used for the Capitol building.
3. University of Virginia Rotunda
Created to be the Academical Village’s centerpiece, this neoclassical-style University was constructed by Architect Thomas Jefferson. The structure was originally built to house the library of the university. But as time went by the University saw more applicants. So in order to accommodate them this wing needed to be used.
The one thing that distinguishes the Rotunda is that the structure was never meant to be a church, unlike other structures that were coming up in that period. The architect believed in a clear distinction to be made between religion and education and this structure stands as a symbol for the same.
4. El Capitolio
A site that was used as a railroad terminal was bought to house the Capitol under the commission of the Cuban president, Gerardo Machado. It was built and completed during the years from 1926 to 1929. It was used to hold the congress to be later on abolished after the Cuban Revolution.
With a striking similarity to the Capitol building in The United States, this structure is large by one meter in height, width and length. The architect has also stated that the cupola of the structure is inspired by the Pantheon in Paris and the gardens are designed based on European large lawn gardens.
Examples of Modern-Neoclassical Homes That We Love…
1. Designed Virginia Estate
The core design of this house was driven by a Virginian spirit. This brought out the question of what defines it as both the homeowners were born and brought up in the area. Its definition of being rustic and gentle brought out the common ground of designing in one with nature.
The idea of the house was to be made surrounding an 18th-century-inspired home for two modern and informal people who appreciated tradition. This neoclassical home went through a change in designers when it finally landed in the Interior designer Tino Zervudachi who took over to create unique and stunning interiors for the house.
2. Saltbox in a Neoclassical Home of Time
Designed at the hand of interior decorator Russell Piccione this is one of the neoclassical homes that catch your breath at the first sight. When it came to the design of the house, it exhibited a mid-18th century aesthetic that was predominant during the rule of George II that embraced traditions. The house’s center included the original saltbox which referenced the neoclassical style under the rule of George III.
The Bedroom showcased a pediment from the Greek Revival period during the rule of George IV. These different aspects of the house only stood out subtly presenting growth in its architectural style along with time. The interiors of the house were then designed to embrace these features of the past and enhance their essence in the design.
3. Neoclassical Style Mansion
A house that expresses the neoclassical style of architecture at its core, this mansion isn’t an inspiration taken from one building. Rather combines elements of the style to create an essence of French hôtels particuliers. It is a 17000 square foot faux limestone structure with a welcoming slender portico.
The rooms are adorned with marble and parquet detailing for flooring and gold-leafed pilasters. The home is filled with antiques, art, and second-century Roman statues all in correspondence with the owner’s taste of being an antique collector. Having collected antiques for 30 years this house is a culmination of all these memories and experiences.
Also Read: Roman Architecture: History, Types, Key Elements & More
4. Guesthouse Pavilion
This neoclassical home takes inspiration from Villa Rotonda by Andrea Palladio and Monticello by Thomas Jefferson, one a core of the Renaissance period and the other the jewel of Enlightenment. The dome roof of the original design was then adorned with a couple of columnar chimneys flanking the cupola. These are the best neoclassical houses.
The steps leading to the portico were lined with bricks to give an expansive entrance to the structure. Elements like entablature, columns and Ionic capitals were also added to wrap up the finishing of the structure. The structure and its surroundings were seen as an 18th-century estate that could hold a weekend party or a gathering of lunch and dinner. An indulging relaxing space that presents a unique experience.
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