What is Victorian architecture?

The term Victorian architecture refers not to a specific style, but to a period of time – the reign of Queen Victoria in the United Kingdom from 1837 to 1901. Victorian architecture spans more than 60 years and includes a number of overlapping styles, including Early Gothic Revival, Folk Victorian, Greek, Italian Revival, Second Empire, Stick, Romance Revival, Shingle, and Colonial Revival. And it certainly had a great influence on interior design in Barcelona.

Victorian architecture originated in England and still largely defines the architecture of cities and towns there. However, several Victorian architectural styles also spread internationally, for example in North America, Australia, and Barcelona, where different countries and regions adapted to local tastes, lifestyles, and building materials.

History of Victorian architecture

The victorian architecture dates back to the Georgian period (1814-1730) and the late Georgian period (1837-1830) and we characterize it by spacious rooms. Generally, these were three-story dwellings with families living on the first two floors and servants on the smaller third floor.

The Victorian era was a time of growing prosperity, the rise of the middle class, and the boom in mass production made possible by the Industrial Revolution. People built Victorian homes to accommodate people from all income levels. This meant everything from rows of staircases built for factory workers on busy, narrow streets with no gardens or toilets, to semi-detached and detached houses. By the end of the Victorian era, modern amenities included hot and cold water, toilets, and gas.

Innovations in building technology and mass production of building materials that we normally transported by rail. For example, machine-made bricks, gray roofing slate from Wales, and the introduction of plate glass in the 1930s, which increased window size over earlier times. They saved builders time and contributed to a building boom in the 1850s and 1870s when millions of Victorian homes that architects built.

Interesting facts about Victorian architecture

In San Francisco, one of the city’s most iconic backdrops is a series of painted women’s Victorian and Edwardian homes, which were painted three or more colors in the 1960s to highlight their ornate architectural details. These Victorian homes in San Francisco, which overlook Alamo Square Park, are perhaps the most famous in the country. Set against the backdrop of the city’s modern skyline, 710-720 Steiner Street is rightfully known as Postcard Row and has been a popular location for countless film and television productions, including the ’90s comedy Full House.

Similar to Victorian architecture is the Edwardian style of architecture, which began after the death of Queen Victoria and the reign of King Edward VII (1901-1910), although everything up to 1914 belongs to this period. The Edwardian style was less ornate than the Victorian, the interior decoration was simpler and less cluttered. This coincides with the Arts and Crafts movement. It began in 1880 when artists and architects responded to the technological advances and mass production that had begun in the Victorian era and sought to produce goods that glorified human craftsmanship.

In the 21st century, the heroes of nineteenth-century Victorian architecture, such as the British Victorian Society, strive to preserve historic Victorian and Edwardian architecture. And it helps interested people learn how to adapt Victorian buildings to modern lifestyles. While preserving and respecting their unique features and history.

Important elements

Two to three stories. Victorian houses are usually large and magnificent.

Exterior walls of wood or stone. Most Victorian styles have wood facades, but the Second Empire and Roman styles almost always have stone exterior walls.

Complicated, asymmetrical form. Unlike the Greek Box Revival style, Victorian houses have wings and bays in different directions.

Decorative ornamentation. Victorian houses commonly referred to as gingerbread houses, designers usually decorate them with intricate wood or metal ornamentation.

Textured wall surfaces. Angled shingles, patterned or semi-patterned brickwork are those we commonly use for Victorian facades.

Steep, faceted roof, or mansard roof. Victorian houses often have pitched and sloping rooflines with many slopes pointing in different directions. The second style of Victorian Empire has a mansard roof with an apartment roof with windows on the side to maximize space inside the house.

One-story porch. Large and intricate porches with spindles and decorative brackets in the style of each queen are especially popular.

Towers. Some Victorian high-rises decorate designers with a round or octagonal tower with a sloping, pointed roof.

Bold colors. Before the Victorian era, most houses were solid colors, usually white or beige. By 1887, bright khaki colors like burnt Cena and mustard yellow were in vogue.

Famous examples

Gingerbread House. Kurd built this house in 1889 in Savannah, Ga. It is one of the best examples of Gothic steamboat architecture.

Wedding Cake House. Like many Victorian houses, it was decorated with Gothic wood around 1850 to match architectural trends.

Painted Ladies in San Francisco. The term “Painted Ladies” refers to Victorian houses that were painted three or more colors to decorate their architectural details. 

Rosson House. This Phoenix home, built-in 1895, is a perfect example of the Queen’s style and is now a museum. Its precise decorations are often referred to as Eastlake details, after the masterful creations of furniture designer Charles Eastlake.