Georgian Architecture

The Gripping History and Evolution of Georgian Architecture

Classical Georgian architecture was a result of renaissance in Britain and is known for its splendid buildings with beautiful proportions, light rooms, and subtle understated style. The houses built in that era still stand erect, flaunting their beauty which is remarkable even centuries later.
Historyplex Staff
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2018
Just the mention of Georgian architecture conjures up an image of a large Gothic style building with red bricks, commodious hall with exotic chandeliers hanging down the roof, and windows carved out beautifully in the neoclassical style. But of course, it's more than that, and a deeper look at the intricacies and complexities involved from laying of the very first brick in foundation of these buildings, may leave us in awe.

The History

The Georgian era which traces back its history from 1714 to 1830, was the time when most of the Georgian structures were made. The prime rulers of this era were George I, George II, George III, and George IV and all of them had a very ostentatious taste for architecture. Before them, British architecture was dominated by great architects like Sir John Vanbrugh, James Gibbs, and Thomas Archer, who basically followed the Baroque style. Although Georgian architects planned to rebuild existing towns and cities, the scope was very limited. So, when England prospered in the late 17th and early 18th century, new towns were formed, providing an opportunity for framing new structures of Georgian architecture. During the process, the architects constructed at least one fine Georgian church in each town, with their classical facades, tall steeples, spacious altars and transepts, gleaming white exteriors, and many tall windows.

Early Development

This style was influenced by architectural styles from all around the world including Chinoiserie, Pallandialism, and Mughal, rendering Britain's growing presence as a global power. An amalgamation of all these styles augmented with the classical Gothic touch, and a completely new approach, resulted in what we see today as Georgian architecture. Collen Campbell, who was one of the leading architects of this style, openly challenged the architectures of very popular Cristopher Wren, calling them 'foreign', as they were dominated by the French style. He was the one who came up with the establishment of 'National taste' for English people and was followed by many famous architects like Robert Adams, Thomas Archer, and Henry Holland, who proved to be the cornerstones of this type of architecture.

Patterns

The basics of Georgian structures are charmed by the Palladian architecture, named after the famous Venetian architect Andrea Palladio of the 16th century. A normal Palladian house was considered to be a symbol of grace and was built on classical orders. Both the doorway and windows together are known as Palladian which exhibit novelty. These structures also consisted of modillions, which were basically projections under the eves. Similar to this, windows were almost exclusively sash-windows, made of standardized panes of glass divided by thin, delicate wooden glazing bars. The whole structure was supposed to be an epitome of opulence and luxury. It was light and very spacious with large windows that showed off pale color schemes and plenty of woodwork. The pattern of windowing was the same everywhere, however their shapes and sizes were dependent on various factors. On the ground floor, despite the spacious halls, windows were kept short in order to provide stability to the overall structure. First floor windows were tall, elegantly expansive, and they added to grandeur of the building. Second floor windows were made shorter as compared to the first floor ones, and the top floor ones were kept almost square.

Changes in Later Phase

Later on, red bricks got replaced by yellow ones. Although stucco fascias, which made the structure look splendid, were still used as the basic norm, stone was more of the favored choice. Basic paint colors during the early phase of the period included burgundy and sage green, which later on shifted to lighter colors like gray, dusky pink, and white. 'Bath' is still counted as the best example of this type of architecture. It was built as a fashionable resort in which people could meet up for social gatherings and leisure time. Besides this, St. James Church, Whitehaven Castle, Harvard University, and Theater Royale are good illustrations of this style.

There are different types of styles all around the globe, famous for their splendid beauty as well as unassailable strength. It's a wonder how people with no access to the advanced technology as of today, were able to come up with such masterpieces. Like their counterparts, the Georgian architects have certainly applied their skills and dexterity to come up with magnificent man-made structures which will remain on the face of earth for centuries to come.
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