Neoclassical architecture is common in America, and is well-loved by homeowners for its stately appearance. Let’s take a closer look at this design style.
What was the Inspiration of Neoclassical Architecture Style?
The revival of classic architecture was inspired by the western civilizations that have always enamored Americans: Ancient Greek and Rome. The Neoclassical movement represented a return to the “pureness” of the ancient cultures, and the values they’ve come to be associated with in contemporary culture: Democracy, order, intentionality, and so on.
Additionally, humans like to rebel, even outside of their teenage years. Prior to Neoclassicism, Baroque and Rococo styles ran rampant with excessive ornamentation and arguably gaudy designs. This return to order was a rebuttal of sorts against previous trends.
What are the Elements of Neoclassicism?
While we don’t all necessarily want to recreate Jefferson’s Monticello House, it remains an icon of Neoclassical Architecture and continues to inspire contemporary takes on the style.
Sharp, Clean Lines
Notice that even the rounded elements of the home have precise lines. Neoclassical architecture celebrates the aesthetics of geometry, so you won’t find any strangely-shaped homes in this style. The balustrade, the windows, the pediment atop the columns: All are carefully shaped to present an overall strong and sturdy home.
Plenty neoclassical attributes are due to Grecian influence, but the domed roof comes from the Romans. These enlarge a space significantly, without overcrowding the ceiling with traditional supports such as columns or crossbeams.
By following basic geometric principles and symmetry, Neoclassical home aesthetics are balanced and sophisticated without being haughty or unwelcoming. Windows are evenly spaced, similar room sizes and shapes are laid out to mirror one another, and the main entrance is carefully placed directly in the middle of the home.
Iconic of any revival of classic architecture are the columns along the front porch. Like the domed roof, Ancient Rome inspired these Roman Tuscan style columns. Columns at the entrance guide the eye to travel upward when viewing the front of the home, which adds to the larger-than-life feel for which these homes strive.
Neoclassicism was a response to the extravagance of Rococo and Baroque, so exteriors are markedly calm. The balustrade and trim along the top of the home are simple in design, as are the windows and shutters. Aiding in the calm aesthetic is the color choice: While the grounds are bright with color, the home itself is neutral. The remains of historic monuments being excavated at the time were made from light stone and marble, making white exteriors a common sight among Neoclassical homes.
Within the homes themselves, neoclassicism trends persist. Exterior columns and trim are brought indoors on a smaller scale. Neutrals make a common appearance along with soft pastels for accents. Lighting is typically crafted into chandeliers and lamps, large area rugs are used to cover parquet flooring, and fireplace moldings are expertly crafted with elegant yet simple designs.
Beauty in Simplicity
Neoclassical architecture is the perfect style for a quiet elegance that will easily maintain its timelessness. Ready to find your new home? There are tons of styles waiting for you!