Design inspiration from the golden age of American architecture

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 - Architecture

American architecture has many fans around the world, drawing as it does on influences from everywhere. Whether it’s the crisp clean lines of New York’s art deco Chrysler Building, the contemporary Prairie styling of Frank Lloyd Wright’s creations or the more colonial flavored buildings that make up our historic towns and cities, the diversity and richness of architectural styles is evident everywhere you look.


So what are the main architectural styles that feature prominently in America? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular building genres that influence and inspire us today in our architectural creations.


American architecture has always borrowed from historic European styles but has also managed to retain its own unique interpretation on familiar lines and classic shapes. Along with the first British and Irish settlers came a whole new wealth of inspiration and expertise in architectural matters. The state of Massachusetts and the cities of Boston, Plymouth and Dedham respectively are notable for their early colonial buildings, constructed by the first settlers to The New World. Later on, historic styles such as the 18th century Georgian buildings found in cities such as Williamsburg, Virginia and the neo-classicism evident in the nation’s capital Washington DC, moved the design and construction conversation along into more sumptuous areas.


In Victorian times, architects were really beginning to hit their stride and were constructing amazing and ambitious creations. The luxurious architecture of Mohonk Mountain House on the banks of a majestic lake in the Hudson Valley just 90 miles north of New York is a prime example of classic Victorian grandeur that is as popular today with city dwellers as it was back in the day. As one of the first classic spa resorts in the country, Mohonk Mountain House has been operational since the mid-19th century and has traditionally attracted visitors wishing to unwind and relax away from the city buzz. With plenty of activities, spa treatments and entertainment all in a setting of historic opulence, there are many Mohonk Mountain House gifts to choose from in the boutiques as perfect mementos of your stay. As a fine example of East Coast Victorian architecture in the most classic style, Mohonk Mountain House takes some beating.


Moving into contemporary times, American architecture began looking to the skies. Skyscrapers are an American invention and became practical after the invention of the elevator. Chicago was home to the first ever skyscraper and today it boasts one of the most impressive skylines in the world, jam-packed with monolithic, mirrored buildings that take your breath away. Another good hunting ground for early high-rise buildings is New York City, where you can take your pick from the iconic Empire State Building, the Woolworth Building, 40 Wall Street and the previously mentioned Chrysler Building – all super stylish and as beautiful now as when they first pierced the skies.


If you are sitting down to design a new building in America today, you are fortunate to be surrounded by many examples of fine architecture to inspire you and aspire to, because the golden age of American architecture is simply never ending.

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