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Architectural Styles. Art Deco. (1925-1940) Identifying Features: Smooth wall surface, often stucco Smooth-faced stone and metal Polychrome, often with vivid colors Forms simplified and streamlined Geometric designs including zigzags, chevrons

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Art deco
Art Deco

  • (1925-1940)

  • Identifying Features:

    • Smooth wall surface, often stucco

    • Smooth-faced stone and metal

    • Polychrome, often with vivid colors

    • Forms simplified and streamlined

    • Geometric designs including zigzags, chevrons

    • Towers and other vertical projections, presenting a vertical emphasis

Greek decorative features.

  • Original Structures:

    • The first Greek structures were built very primitive and basic

    • The houses were mainly built with a

      • circular shape

      • oval shape

      • apsidal shape

      • rectangular shape

        • mostly square, but some were oblong

        • had the entrance at one of the short end

        • used mud bricks and stones in the mud with reeds or brush to help build the house

        • most of the houses had one room, there were very rarely two

  • The Original Structure (cont).. decorative features.

    • The next group of settlers were the Minoan architects

    • Their towns were mostly residential with little or no temples and public places.

    • their houses were private and had many rooms

      • To separate rooms, they would use only pillars

      • The stairways were a very prominent feature for these massive homes.

The Three Orders: decorative features. (known for column style)


Starts with some wood shafts, which was replaced by stone.

top of the shaft, were circular pads with a square block of wood over it.

The vertical columns were used to support the beams called architraves.

To form the ceiling, other beams were laid across the building with their ends on these architraves.

On the end of these beams, they could be channeled to make a triglyph.

On the top of a triglyph there would be another beam which would be placed for the overhanging rafters.

These type of beams were referred as to a mutules.

Temple decorative features.



  • Doric (cont)

    • The finishing touches for the roof had to have a flat gables called pediments.

    • The gutter ran along the top of the pediments and ended at a lion's mouth. This acted like a drain.

    • The materials that were used for the roofs were thatch and the terra-cotta and marble.

Column’s dimensions were 4-5 meters high

Entablature decorative features.



  • The Three Orders (cont.)

    • Ionic

      • Columns were more slender

      • Their dimensions were eight to nine meters high

      • The columns had a molded base placed under them and then sculpted figures on the lower part of the shaft were added.

      • At the top of the shafts, were rectangular blocks of stone, which were carved in the shape of hair or other wave and line shapes.

Entablature decorative features.

  • Three Orders (cont)

    • Corinthian (not widely used due to its detail. Too fancy, to much)

Greek decorative features.

  • Greek Revival:


      • Gable or hipped, low-pitch roof

      • Dentil cornice emphasized with wide band of trim -- cornice represents classical entablature (includes cornice, frieze, architrave)

      • Porches: square or rounded columns (usually Doric)

      • First style to use gable-front floor plan (gable end facing the street, representing Greek temple)

      • Temple-front entryway with entry door surrounded by rectangular transom and sidelights (never rounded like federal).

Greek revival
Greek Revival decorative features.

  • Dominant style in America, 1820-1850

    • Also called "national style" due to popularity

    • first American architectural style to reach West Coast

    • The Greek Revival movement becomes widely accepted throughout the early U.S. as a symbol of the new democracy.


Italian: decorative features.

Architects based their theories and practices on Classical Roman examples.

Study the ancient buildings and ruins, especially the Colosseum and Pantheon

Classical orders and architectural elements:




Renaissance architecture is characterized by:

Harmonious form

Mathematical proportion

A unit of measurement based on the human scale.





The Louvre decorative features.

  • French:

  • The characteristics of the style:

    • ashlar masonry accentuated with rusticated quoins

    • architrave framed windows

    • doors supporting entablatures or pediments,

    • a belt or string course that may divide the ground or first floor from the upper floors

    • small square windows that indicate the top story.

    • imported from Italy during the early 16th century and developed in the light of local architectural traditions

    • “French Renaissance" is a term often used to describe a cultural and artistic movement in France from the late 15th century to the early 17th century.

    • The French Renaissance traditionally extends from (roughly) the French invasion of Italy in 1494 during the reign of Charles VIII until the death of Henri IV in 1610.

English: decorative features.

In England the Renaissance was potent force in England during the 16th century

During this period two distinctive styles emerged:

  • Elizabethan style:

    • blended Medieval and Renaissance styles

    • characteristic of large noble houses

    • transition from Medieval to Renaissance

    • Predominant during Queen Elizabeth's reign from 1558-1603

  • Jacobean style:

    • blended medieval and renaissance styles

    • characteristic of formal structures

    • transition from Elizabethan to Pure Renaissance

    • Predominant after Queen Elizabeth's reign

    • Tends to be more unified and consistent

Modern decorative features.

  • Emerged in the decade after World War I, the mid-nineteenth century to the 1970s

  • Also known as International style, Neue Sachlichkeit, and functionalism

  • An emphasis on shape, form, light, and transparency

    • ideological faith in utopian rationalism and functionalism, as the core elements of this movement.

    • From the outcome of the humanist belief in individual reason:

      • foundations of the movement lie in earlier Renaissance and Enlightenment thought.

      • The modernist objective to understand and master nature

Modern cont

Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright decorative features.

Modern cont..

  • Intellectual basis that shaped the aesthetic program of high modernist architecture:

    • Beauty lies in the ability of the rational mind to extract formal rules from the surrounding world, making transparent the universal mechanics of the perfect machine.

    • The emphasis on geometry and form follows, with surface decoration and style at best irrelevant, at worst deceitful.

      • functionality becomes the clearest expression of rationalism.

Modern decorative features.

  • The style features:

    • smooth stucco wall surfaces

    • rounded corners

    • a flat roof with coping

    • an asymmetrical facade

    • corner, glass block

    • and round windows

    • horizontal grooves or lines to emphasize

    • a streamline quality.

Medieval decorative features.

  • Spanned from 1066-1603

  • Romanesque Period:

    • Norman era

    • Copied the pattern and proportion of the architecture of the Roman Empire

    • Chief characteristics:

      • barrel vaults

      • round arches

      • thick piers

      • few windows

    • Extremely uncomfortable

      • dark, dank and cold

Tudor english country
Tudor: English Country decorative features.

  • Imitate English architecture from the early 16th century.

  • Some Tudor houses mimic humble Medieval cottages -- They may even include a false thatched roof.

  • Other Tudor homes borrow ideas from late Medieval palaces.

  • They may have overlapping gables, parapets, and beautifully patterned brick or stonework.

  • These historic details combine with Victorian or Craftsman flourishes.

  • Gothic: decorative features.

    • Began in 12th century France

      • "The French Style“

      • Renaissance critics appalled at the abandonment of classical line and proportion called it "Gothic“

        • In reference to the imagined lack of culture of the barbarian tribes

    • Light, spacious, and graceful

    • Advances in architectural technique learned from

      • Arab world during the Crusades

        • Led to innovations such as:

          • The pointed arch

          • Ribbed vault

          • The buttress

          • Heavy Romanesque piers were replaced by slender clusters of columns

          • Window sizes grew

          • Height of vaults and spires grew

Gothic cont
Gothic decorative features. cont..

  • Free standing sculpture instead of being incorporated in columns

  • Windows filled with color

  • Churches have elaborate decoration, especially the "tracery", or stonework supporting the stained glass windows.

    • 1200 to 1300 - Early English Gothic Style (also called Lancet)

    • 1300 to 1400 - Decorated Gothic Style

    • 1400 to 1500 - Perpendicular Gothic Style

Some other styles

Prehistoric decorative features.






American Colonial



Art + Craft Movement

Art Nouveau

Some Other Styles:


A semicircular of polygonal termination or recess in a building, usually vaulted and used at the end of a choir in a church


Bibliography: building, usually vaulted and used at the end of a choir in a church