French architecture






French provincial

One of the most distinctive characteristics of many French buildings is the tall second story windows, often arched at the top, that break through the cornice and rise above the eaves. This unusual window design is especially noticeable on America’s French provincial homes. Modeled after country manors in the French provinces, these brick or stucco homes are stately and formal. They have steep hipped roofs and a square, symmetrical shape with windows balanced on each side of the entrance. The tall second story windows add to the sense of height.

French Normandy

In Normandy and the Loire Valley of France, farm silos were often attached to the main living quarters instead of a separate barn. After World War I, Americans romanticized the traditional French farmhouse, creating a charming style known as French Normandy. Sided with stone, stucco, or brick, these homes may suggest the Tudor style with decorative half timbering (vertical, horizontal, and diagonal strips of wood set in masonry). The French Normandy style is distinguished by a round stone tower topped by a cone-shaped roof. The tower is usually placed near the center, serving as the entrance to the home. French Normandy and French provincial details are often combined to create a style simply called French Country or French Rural carved or embossed on mouldings, sconces, and banisters.

econd Empire

During the mid-1800s when Napoleon III established the Second Empire in France, Paris became a glamorous city of tall, imposing buildings. Many homes were embellished with details such as paired columns and elaborate wrought iron cresting along the rooftop. But the most striking feature borrowed from this period is the steep, boxy mansard roof. You will recognize a mansard roof by its trapezoid shape. Unlike a triangular gable, a mansard roof has almost no slope until the very top, when it abruptly flattens. This nearly perpendicular roofline creates a sense of majesty, and also allows more usable living space in the attic. In the United States, Second Empire is a Victorian style. However, you can also find the practical and the decidedly French mansard roof on many contemporary homes.

Beaux Arts

Another Parisian trend rose out of the legendary École des Beaux Arts (School of Fine Arts) where many American architects studied. Flourishing during the early 1900s, the Beaux Arts style was a grandiose elaboration on the more refined neoclassical style. Symmetrical facades were ornamented with lavish details such as swags, medallions, flowers, and shields. These massive, imposing homes were almost always constructed of stone and were reserved for only the very wealthy. However a more humble home might be said to show Beaux Arts influences if it has stone balconies and masonry ornaments.


Although we use the term "French" Creole, the mix includes Spanish, African, Native American, and other heritages. French Creole architecture is an American Colonial style that developed in the early 1700s in the Mississippi Valley, especially in Louisiana. French Creole buildings borrow traditions from France, the Caribbean, and many other parts of the world. French Creole homes from the Colonial period were especially designed for the hot, wet climate of that region. Traditional French Creole homes had some or all of these features:

*Timber frame with brick or "Bousillage" (mud combined with moss and animal hair)
*Wide hipped roof extends over porches
*Thin wooden columns
*Living quarters raised above ground level
*Wide porches, called "galleries"
*No interior hallways
*Porches used as passageway between rooms
*French doors (doors with many small panes of glass)

ee also

French Colonial Architecture

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • French Baroque architecture — French Baroque is a form of Baroque architecture that evolved in France during the reigns of Louis XIII (1610 43), Louis XIV (1643 1714) and Louis XV (1714 74). French Baroque profoundly influenced 18th century secular architecture throughout… …   Wikipedia

  • architecture — /ahr ki tek cheuhr/, n. 1. the profession of designing buildings, open areas, communities, and other artificial constructions and environments, usually with some regard to aesthetic effect. Architecture often includes design or selection of… …   Universalium

  • Architecture in Leeds — Leeds has a wide range of architectural styles, however like most northern industrial cities, its best examples are probably Victorian. Hunslet and Holbeck have many surviving examples of industrial architecture while Kirkstall Abbey is one of… …   Wikipedia

  • French Quarter — the old district of New Orleans, Louisiana. Local people sometimes call it the Vieux Carré (Old Square). It is next to the Mississippi River and includes Bourbon Street, Rampart Street, Jackson Square and the French Market. The area is popular… …   Universalium

  • French Renaissance — is a recent term used to describe a cultural and artistic movement in France from the late 15th century to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan European Renaissance that many cultural historians believe originated in northern… …   Wikipedia

  • Architecture of Portugal — refers to the architecture practised in the territory of present day Portugal since before the foundation of the country, in the 12th century. The term may also refer to buildings created under Portuguese influence or by Portuguese architects… …   Wikipedia

  • French Colonial — was one of four domestic architectural styles that developed during the colonial period in what would become the United States. The other styles were Colonial Georgian, Dutch Colonial, and Spanish Colonial. French Colonial developed in the… …   Wikipedia

  • French Gothic architecture — is the style of architecture that was prevalent in France from 1140 until about 1500. equence of Gothic styles: FranceThe designations of styles in French Gothic architecture are as follows:* Early Gothic * High Gothic * Rayonnant * Late Gothic… …   Wikipedia

  • French Renaissance architecture — is the style of architecture which was imported from Italy during the early 16th century and developed in the light of local architectural traditions. During the early years of the 16th century the French were involved in wars in northern Italy,… …   Wikipedia

  • French Popular Party — Parti Populaire Français Leader Jacques Doriot …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”