What Is Greek Revival Architecture | Characteristics
living room with lit fireplace

What Are Features of Greek Revival?

How to Identify Architectural Styles in the Washington, DC Area

One of the best things about living in the Washington, DC metropolitan area is the versatility and diversity. Every day, you can talk to different people, try different food, even see different house styles. One such style is Greek Revival. There are numerous architectural styles, so how do you identify this one? What makes Greek Revival stand out? 

What Is Greek Revival?

What is a Greek Revival house? What are its distinguishing characteristics? This style is characterized by heavy cornices, gables with pediments, and unadorned friezes. Elements include:

  • Stucco and/or wood (intended to resemble stone or marble temples, the buildings were usually painted white or enhanced with a faux finish)
  • Low pitched gable and hip roofs
  • Columns and pilasters
  • Elaborate door surrounds

Brief Summary of the Greek Revival Style

Greek Revival ArchitectureWith British influence waning considerably after the War of 1812 and the nation rapidly expanding westward, the style was fundamentally an expression of America’s triumphant sense of destiny and the sense that our newly formed nation was the spiritual descendant of Greece, birthplace of democracy. The gable-fronted house, found throughout America, is one of the style’s enduring legacies.

Differences Between Classical Revival and Greek Revival

The Classical Revival style developed at the end of the 18th century and was inspired by ancient buildings in Rome and Greece. The Roman Classical Revival style (also referred to as Roman Classicism) was promoted and popularized by Thomas Jefferson. Emphasis turned from Rome to Greece around 1820 as the Greek Revival style developed. This style was similar to the Roman Classical Revival style in terms of temple form, front pediment, and classical order columns, but it was much more popular and widespread.

Learn more about Greek Revival architecture and see more pictures here.

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