Georgian architecture is a prominent style named after England's first four kings, George I, II, and III. The quiet beauty of these beautifully proportioned classical structures is evident. Their attractive symmetry, attained in part by using the golden ratio, is appealing to the sight. They are also strong and durable, with thick walls and large windows that allow in much needed light.
Geometric shapes are predominant in Georgian architecture. Regular polygons such as squares and triangles are used extensively in home design. Circles are also found frequently in household objects such as teapots and trinkets. These simple shapes give structure to the design and make it easy for the eye to follow from one object to another without getting lost in confusion.
The use of white marble or limestone on the exterior of a building gives it a clean, elegant look. It is common to see black-painted doors and window frames contrasting with the bright white stone exteriors. Inside the house, white wood is commonly used for interior construction because it looks beautiful painted white or even left natural. Dark colors such as red or brown are rarely if ever seen in Georgian houses.
Georgian architecture was popular throughout Europe and America between 1720 and 1820. Although some modern architects have continued to use parts of this style, it is now considered outdated.
Throughout the 18th century, the Georgian style was the most popular in the English colonies, distinguished by its symmetrical composition and formal, classical features. As the style extended throughout the colonies, it mirrored a time of colonial expansion and affluence, as well as a demand for more formally built structures. The style also reflected the influence of Greece and Rome, whose cultures were beginning to be explored by Europeans.
Georgian architecture is characterized by its use of simple geometric forms and its emphasis on function over decoration. The style evolved in Europe, starting with the work of the Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi who designed several cities during the 1670s and 1680s. Later, the style became associated with the work of the French architect Nicolas Le Camus (1638-1719). In addition to France and England, the style was also popular in the Netherlands, Germany, and North America.
The term "Georgian" is used today to describe buildings that were constructed in the early to mid-18th century, but this era is actually when the style reached its peak in Europe. After this time, it began to decline as other styles emerged, such as the Romantic style which featured natural elements instead of geometry, or the Modern style which is characterized by simplicity and functionality above all else.
In North America, where there was no native tradition of wooden building construction, many new towns were planned using designs by European architects.
In the United States, the term "Georgian" is generally used to describe all buildings from the period, regardless of style; in the United Kingdom, it is generally limited to buildings that are "architectural in intention" and have stylistic characteristics typical of the period, though this covers a wide range. In addition, many American buildings with Georgian elements were actually built by architects from other countries, especially France and Britain.
The term "Georgian" was first applied to architecture in England. The English architect Robert Adam is usually credited with introducing the term into British culture through his book on "English Architecture", published in 1768. In this book, he describes the recently completed Parliament Building in London as being "in the latest French taste". However, the actual architect of the building was James Gibbs, who had studied under Claude Nicolas Jolys de Fleury, the leading French architect of the day. Thus, it can be said that Adam merely adopted the term "French" for design qualities he admired and then applied it to Parliament Hall without considering its national origin.
The word "Georgian" comes from King George II of Great Britain, who requested that his country's capital city be redesigned in order to make it more beautiful. The new city was to be located on a piece of land known as "The Mall", which ran along the center of town.
Say it aloud: "Pause." In England, they produced the Georgian style, which was inspired by the classicism of the Italian Renaissance. The British were not only expanding their empire, but also becoming more sophisticated as a culture.
Georgian architecture is characterized by its simplicity and clarity of form. It originated in Britain, but many architects working in the American colonies adopted some of its ideas. These include the founders of Philadelphia, who were heavily influenced by Georgian designs.
In Europe, the style reached its peak during the 18th century. The aristocratic families that lived in these buildings enjoyed greater freedom than ever before or after, being no longer dependent on land ownership for their status. They could now make their own way in society through wealth rather than birthright. These factors combined to produce one of the most beautiful architectural periods in European history.
The downfall of the Georgians began when George III commissioned the building of a new palace from Sir John Vanbrugh. Although this work was never completed, Vanbrugh's design served as a model for many other architects who followed. Under them, Gothic styles became popular again. The last major architect of the Georgian period was Robert Adam, who designed several large-scale projects in London.