Beaux Arts Architecture, What is Beaux Arts, Define Beaux Arts

Beaux Arts Architecture speaks to what is Beaux Arts and define Beaux Arts.

This architecture was grand and theatrical, monumental and self confident and this style dominated public and commercial architecture in the first two decades of the twentieth century. It was a classical style and so we find the full vocabulary of classical forms, such as columns, pilasters, pediments and entablatures.

These buildings are executed on a vast scale, with monumental porticoes, long flights of stairs and ultra white stone surfaces. Usually sited at the intersections of principal streets or at the end of great vistas, they were designed to give dram to the urban scene. The sense of theatre continued inside with vast, axially planned interiors, laid out in a progression of spaces with coffered or domed ceilings and classical decoration executed in marble, coloured stones bronze, gilding and paint.

More modest structures in this style such as banks, commercial buildings, smaller public buildings retain the oversized almost overstated architectural details characteristic of the style. These smaller buildings were sometimes built with brick or even wood.

The Beaux Arts Architecture style was named for the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France. The school reached its most popularity and influence in the late nineteenth century when students from Europe and North America went there to study. Training was provided in the vocabulary of classical antique taken from Greek, Roman, Renaissance Italy, eighteenth century Neoclassical Europe forms. Several North American university schools of architecture modelled their curricula closely on the Parisian.

A number of North American architects studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and worked in the offices of the great Beaux Arts architects of the day. Some of the finest Beaux Arts monuments were close at hand to study such as the New York Public Library (1897 to 1911) and Grand Central Station (1907 to 1913) and most significant architectural competitions of the day were discussed and illustrated in the great number of architectural journals available at the time, such as American Architect and Building News, Canadian Architect and builder and others.

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