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Roots of Style: Does Your House Have a Medieval Heritage?

February 7, 2019

Classical architecture continues its reach into localized design and likely defines over a few houses in your area. But your neighbor may be residing in simpler or more openly formed houses, and these designs have deep roots, too.

To locate them, traveling back into the interval approximately 800 years after the fall of Rome (in the fifth century) and before the Italian Renaissance (which began in the 14th century). Culture flourished, and layout took a more natural course. Church buildings dominated building in those years, and domestic architecture took the kind of compact villages in thatched-roof clusters or groups of tiled-roof Italian hill towns. Ordinarily, piled stone or timber frames constitute the walls, contributing to their rustic impression.

Habitat Post & Beam, Inc..

There are many styles that evolved from medieval architecture, and they are able to be simplistic in shape or intermittent in their shape and massing. Classical details, ironically, made their way into these medieval fashions as years passed and society cried. The topic is enormously complex, and several of these designs are lesser known and drop under folk or vernacular architecture. But putting those concerns aside, we could still locate the origins of medieval layout in home designs today.

It is important to be aware that from the 18th century, fashions had united and influences from various sorts of architecture were commonly found in one property. This trend continues today and is still how fashions evolve and become redefined. Local characteristics and substances make their mark, in addition to engineering, which considerably influences design today.

Postmedieval English Design

Saltbox houses. Though comparatively few originals endure of those simple and stout houses, postmedieval English fashions command focus partly due to the duration of their period: the whole 17th century in America. English colonists constructed largely with medieval construction methods and employing the knowledge they brought in the old world. It took years to get steeply pitched, thatched-roof layouts to evolve into wood-shingled roofs, feature of the design Americans recognize.

Northern originals were generally one room deep and two bedrooms broad, with another level slightly overhanging the front and often adorned with a pendant dangling in the ends. A lean-to or shed structure was often placed on the rear elevation, which defines the saltbox, as a number of these houses are known.

The new home shown in the top photo loosely follows the originals and can be most likely two rooms deep, and the shed roof is outside that at the trunk, though the proportion and adornment are quite accurate.

Many houses throughout the modern northeastern United States exhibit the same rectangular plan using a symmetrical front altitude. Centered entry doors and windows align on either side, with repetition in upper-level windows.

Carol Martling

Tidewater houses. These Southern colonial-era houses, sometimes called tidewater South, retain a fundamental medieval type, usually one story using a converted habitable loft. The steeply pitched roofs, a remnant of thatch, are satisfied to the positioning of little, gabled dormers that create cozy nooks for bedrooms.

The newer home shown here, clearly more elegant than its ancestors, obviously alludes to the shape and organization of houses from the 1600s: based entry door with one or two windows on each side.

It is also interesting to note that these houses normally have symmetrical front elevations, while other medieval styles are asymmetrical, as we shall see.

Polhemus Savery DaSilva

Gothic Revival Design

Gothic revival houses are infrequent, but just about anyone can identify them quickly due to the touch pointed arch. In this extraordinary contemporary instance, the expression of its theme is repeated obviously throughout the home. Be sure to click through to the page containing other photographs of the home. You will be pleasantly astonished at the degree to which the architecture is delineated.

The inspiration for these layouts originated in the Gothic cathedrals in Europe; Gothic was one of the more significant styles of architecture in the Middle Ages. Originally this fashion was popular as a resurrection at the center of the 19th century in the USA, in rural or suburban settings.

Polhemus Savery DaSilva

In a different view of the same fascinating contemporary Gothic revival, it’s apparent that the origins are quite loosely translated. Originals generally had steeply pitched roofs, and their strategies were more commonly rectangular.

In this home cross legged and windows specify the signature arch contour, while varying eave lines and multiple pitched roofs combine to build a contemporary and intricate plan with intersecting levels.

Stone and timber left to weather wrapping the home in an unofficial rustic fashion, an interesting nod to medieval design, with boldly colored deep red window frames. Natural lighting plays a significant role, and this home is full of clerestory windows — a wonderful allusion to a Gothic cathedral.

Windover Construction

Transitional Gothic Style

The next 3 houses share the common thread of being Victorian, in the meaning that they are of the age. This new home most looks like Victorian stick design. Preceding Queen Anne, this famous style bridged a significant change from Romantic-era houses into Victorian topics. Frequent characteristics include many gabled roofs, exposed rafter tails and shingle siding, and all still popular on houses built today.

Notice the flared eaves and stickwork, the applied boards at the gable end in this example, which can be trademark details. Also unique to the contemporary home is the round tower, yet another medieval reference. Original variations sometimes had towers, but they were generally rectangular or square in plan.

HartmanBaldwin Design/Build

Queen Anne. This authentic and distinguished California Victorian home is known as Queen Anne style. Interestingly, the elegant fretwork which you see here is most likely an indigenous interpretation. Plentiful redwood, a obviously decay-resistant species, has been used for many of those highly prized abodes throughout Northern California in the late 19th century.

Classic to this design is your hipped bigger roof with stretching gables, one toward the front and another at one side at the back, making a visually comfortable space in which to wrap a porch round to the main level. In any sort of Victorian, types are either very simple or clustered in varying shapes and sizes, which historically references the natural characteristics of ancient structures.

Fergon Architects, LLC

Shingle style. This new home most looks like the shingle design of Victorian-era houses. Beyond the defining, shingled exterior walls, an allowable altitude reveals steeply pitched roofs with varying eave heights and shed dormers breaking them. Varying sizes and group of openings, and especially the curved wall framing the center upper-floor windows, set its own identity. This styling is one of the most popular in American homebuilding today, especially in the Southeast.

Notice that at the three Victorian houses presented here you will find trim, columns and other features also affected by classical design. Their medieval touches come in natural forms and irregular massing.

AGC Masonry, Inc

Tudor Style

Named more to get a period than for physical attributes, Tudor design is eclectic, mixing many ancient English architectures. The kind shown here exemplifies American examples popular in the first half of the 20th century. They are distinctly characterized by steeply pitched, gabled roofs (another thatched-roof evolution) where at least one faces the front.

Exterior walls are commonly a mixture of half timbered (nonstructural) stucco, stone, brick veneer and wood siding, which mimic the timber-frame construction used in medieval times. Though there are thousands of those homes across the USA, highly detailed cases have been rarely replicated in the past 60 years. Many vernacular examples can be found in later-20th-century improvements, where shared characteristics are lightly voiced.

Next: Your Home May Get a Renaissance Classical Past

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