Classical Style

The Classical style is a broad category of architectural styles based on a common set of rules of symmetry, proportion and detail.

The design of Andrea Palladio's Villa Capra, near Vicenza of 1552, was based on the principle of harmonic proportion, incorporating the circle and the square. The imitation of these 'forms' in architecture was a method by which buildings were enabled to reflect the 'nature' of the world.

The Classical style was common in the Georgian period but it then reappeared in the 1830s, in the 1850s with French-style towers, turrets and domes, in the 1870s as the Queen Anne Revival, again in the 1890s and into the Edwardian era. By the middle decades of the century, the various flavours and adaptations of the Classical tradition had evolved into what has been called 'Romantic Classicism' or 'Free Renaissance'. Writers were still praising the 'good taste' of the Classical tradition into the 1880s. Among wealthy Americans, and to a lesser extent the British, these Classical styles dominated in the palatial homes that they built in the 1880s and 90s.

Architects have pushed these rules over several centuries, with designs becoming ever more exuberant, before a new wave return to the original principles and a more stark presentation.

There are several varieties, for example Greek, Roman, Palladian, and Neo-Classical.

Typical features of this style are:

The use of stucco for major elements, for example as a render for the ground floor, declined rapidly after 1860.