Victorian Architecture: Gothic Revival and Italianate

A Gothic revival house sirrounded by a white picket fence with an iron gate

Victorian Architecture: Gothic Revival and Italianate

The architecture most commonly associated with the Victorian age is Gothic Revival. Italianate also was common at the time. Both styles are very distinctive, making it easy to tell the age of a building.

Let’s take a look at each:

Gothic Revival

A Gothic revival house sirrounded by a white picket fence with an iron gate
A Gothic revival house

Gothic Revival gets its name from Gothic architecture popular during the Middle Ages. The revival started as early as the 18th century, but is associated with the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Famous Gothic Revival buildings include Canada’s Parliament Hill, United Kingdom’s Houses of Parliament, New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the buildings of Boston College.

Architectural characteristics:

  • Arches, gables and towers
  • Pitched roofs
  • Pointed windows
  • Lacy trim
  • Homes had porches and two floors
  • Asymmetrical floorplans
  • Decorative ornamentation

Italianate

A yellow Italianate house surrounded by a white picket fence
An Italianate house

Another popular architectural style was Italianate, a re-creation of Italian Renaissance architecture. It began in the early 19th century and reached its peak in the 1890s.

Famous Italianate buildings include the government buildings in Wellington, New Zealand.

Architectural characteristics:

  • Low, almost flat roofs
  • Tall windows
  • Balconies
  • Eaves supported by corbels
  • A tower might protrude from the roof
  • Two or three stories

Enjoy architecture? Visit the Interior Design and Architecture section of my Pinterest board Life: 1890 to 1920.

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Updated: 23 October 2020
Melina Druga
Most kids have an active imagination. My imagination has stayed strong into adulthood, and I’ve funneled that creativity into a successful writing career. I write history, both fiction and nonfiction, because although your school history classes may have been boring, the past is not. My goal is to bring the past to life in all its myriad of colors.

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