Chateau Architecture, What is Chateau Architecture, Define Chateau Architecture

Chateau Architecture speaks to what is Chateau Architecture and define Chateau Architecture. It was evident in the 1880s and 1890s was closely related to High Victorian Gothic and was inspired by the imposing sixteenth century French chateaux of the French Loire valley.

These were fortified, late medieval castles whose picturesque qualities blended well with the formal classical architecture of the Italian Renaissance. The buildings were well suited to the urbane tastes of the French aristocracy. These chateaux captured the imagination of nineteenth century architects and their clients particularly rich corporate clients like railway companies who took it on as their own style.

The chateaux style was revived in France in the 1860s where it spread to Great Britain and then to North America. The first known example of a Chateaux style building in Canada is the Grande Allee Drill Hall in Quebec city which was built in 1887. This style was made popular by the very successful Chateau Frontenac Hotel built in Quebec city and thus influenced many other railway hotels and stations across the country especially the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. By the 1920s and 1930s the Chateau style in North America was recognized as a distinctly Canadian style.

The most grand of Chateau Architecture of the 1880s and 1890s are large structures with asymmetrical plans, irregular elevations, whose most distinctive features are the steeply pitched, copper covered roofs encrusted with dormers, gables, conical towers, tourelles, finials and iron cresting. The walls are sometimes brick but usually faced with smoothly finished cut stone. There are many windows all richly decorated while the dormer windows often have pediments and ornamental scrolls of classic origin. Window gables may be highlighted with finials while cross windows break up the wall surfaces.

Due to the monumental size and lavish ornaments the full fledged Chateau style was mostly used for large hotels, government institutions and imposing residences. The idea of living in a chateau had romantic appeal and its most distinctive features, such as the steep, metal clad roof, conical towers and tourelles were absorbed into the vocabulary of the High Victorian style on many other buildings and private residences.

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