Palladian Architecture, What is Palladian Architecture, Define Palladian Architecture

Palladian Architecture speaks to what is Palladian Architecture and define Palladian Architecture for buildings.

The architecture is in fact British architecture which was first brought to Canada in the late eighteenth century and was popular through the first thirty years of the nineteenth century. It had reached its peak of popularity in Great Britain in the early eighteenth century.

It was named on behalf of the sixteenth century architect Andrea Palladio (1508 to 1580) and the style illustrated a sober classicism of symmetry and hierarchy which was best expressed by country houses of the time.

London church architecture in this style were influenced by architect James Gibbs which included vestiges of the temples of ancient Rome with their pediments in the gable end and colonnades. This was considered a dignified and inexpensive design for church architecture and became the formula for church design throughout the British Empire.

Within this style there is a prominent basement storey of rusticated stone and above that a high main storey with smooth walls. The windows on the main level would be tall with attractive moulded surrounds. If there is a third storey, it is shorter having small and plain windows.

It is usual that the roof is a gable or a truncated hip set at a low pitch. On larger public buildings there is often a projecting frontispiece. Smaller buildings are more simple but have an attractive front door and on occasion with a venetian window in the centre of the upper storey or some other decorative window treatment. More grand structures have lateral wings to either side of the main block of the building. The corners of the structure are often finished off with pilasters or quoins and a cornice runs around the building at the roofline.

Stone was preferred for public buildings and large private homes and the style used wood and on occasion brick. Symmetrical floor plans were preferred with rooms opening off a centre hall. It was common that interior decoration consisted of delicate mouldings of classical origin around doors and windows.

The Palladian Architecture was imported to North America in various ways. At that time copies of the famous architectural treatises were available but in a limited way but it was builders’ manuals that brought the classic design to craftsmen and builders.

After the 1830s Palladian was no longer a popular architectural style in North America it did act as an architectural influence for the remainder of the century.

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