American Federal Architecture

The Federal style is the first phase of Neoclassicism in America. American Neoclassic architecture differs from England’s in scale, construction methods, and building materials. Wood frame construction and brick prevail instead of stone. Master craftsman design and build most structures, therefore design emphasis on classical models is not depended upon.
The style is largely urban and concentrates along the eastern seaboard. Thomas Jefferson promotes the Neoclassical image to be the symbolic image of the new nation. “Buildings are to be read as models.”

Design Characteristics to Remember:
1. Building types include statehouses, churches, meetinghouses, banks, theaters, and warehouses.
2. Capitals are formed called statehouses.
3. Churches and meetinghouses continue earlier forms derived from the early 18th century, but carry slender proportion, curving forms, and refined classical ornamentation.
4. Urban structures are sited on streets and lawns often surround.
5. Floor plans are symmetrical or as close as they can be. Common to find both rectilinear and circular spaces within the same building.
6. Materials: brick with some wood in the dominate building material
7. entrances show combinations of circular and rectangular forms. Columns are widely spaced.
8. Doors are surrounded by pediments and columns, may have one or two doors for entry.
9. Roofs may be low-pitched gables or flat and hidden by a balustrade. Statehouses, churches, and steeples often have domes and cupolas.

Below are photos which represent American Federal Architecture: 1. the U.S. Capital. 2. the Massachusetts State House. 3. Monticello. 4. Mount Vernon. 5. and the University of Virginia.

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