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Victorian architecture emerged in England and has largely defined the architecture of its cities and towns. Victorian-era architecture and its influence have also spread internationally to places like North America, Australia, and New Zealand, where numerous countries and regions modified it to fit local tastes, lifestyles, and building materials available locally. Victorian Architecture also has an influence across a few regions of India when the British ruled the country, it was a way to prove dominance and spread their culture.
Victorian architecture states to styles that emerged in the period between 1830 and 1910, throughout the reign of Queen Victoria. Victorian architecture isn’t just limited to one specific style, it is a broad term that embodies many styles that emerged during Victoria’s 63 years of reign as queen. Victorian architecture doesn’t categorize as a standard style, architects and builders of that time created buildings that suited the client’s wishes or just used their creativity.
Victorian houses were built to accommodate large families from all walks of society and varying income levels. Hence, everything from close rows of terraced houses constructed for the worker class on crammed narrow streets didn’t include gardens or sanitation along with semi-detached and detached houses. However, the Industrial Revolution encouraged societal alterations that were inspired by Victorian buildings’ designs. The Victorian era hatched various well-known styles, consisting of Gothic revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, stick style, Romanesque style, and shingle style.
Characteristics of Victorian Architecture
Victorian architecture, especially the residential typology, was commonly painted in a variety of pastels, jewel tones, and earthy colors. Few structures inspired by Victorian architecture feature a monochromatic color scheme, whilst others highlight numerous contrasting colors. The traditional Victorian color palette was dark and consisted of dark, rich, and deep shades of maroon, red, burgundy, chestnut, dark green, brown, and blues. The various bright colors used in the exteriors in Victorian architecture were to customize and personalize their structures.
Mansard roof is a type of roof having two slopes on every side, the lower slope is considerably steeper than the upper. It was a most functional element of the building was to increase the usefulness of the attic story with better light and headroom space; it was very useful in the Victorian era when people had larger families and the income was scarce for the middle class, trying to maintain their stature. Mansard roofs, other than creating extra space, had another advantage is that they were steep and hence were very useful in seasons of rainfall and snow, helping remains slide off easily.
Stained glass windows
One of the most distinctive characteristics of Victorian architecture was the stained glass of all sorts, as it was a way to individualize and personalize a residence. A wide range of designs and features made this a stunning element of Victorian exterior style and Victorian interior style as part of doors, windows, and sometimes even the part of the furniture.
Bay Windows are a very distinctive feature of the Victorian architecture period and are great for creating a little extra interior space and allowing more natural light to enter the building. Victorian Bay windows typically are three-sided, with either full-length windows or provided with an extra seating space. The ground floor bay window often had a slate roof, or it might continue into a first-floor bay, again topped with an individual roof.
Decorative and Ornate gables
The sloped design of a gable roof allows for exceptional water drainage, as the angle of the pitch allowed the rain and snow to slide off the roof easily. Gable Decorations are a great way to accent roof pitches and were exceptionally popular in Craftsman-style homes and Victorian-style architecture.
Victorian houses generally had wraparound porches that encircled the entire house and could have more than one entrance to the porch. This extra accessibility made the travel throughout the house much easier. In the Victorian Era, wraparound porches were usually used to entertain guests and enjoy the views of the gardens.
The victorian landscape had a more formal garden style with garden beds and parterres filled with colorful and exotic species of plants. During the Victorian Era hedging, and landscaping was away to give privacy and demarcate the house’s boundaries from its neighbors, exotic landscaping was also laid to display wealth and sophistication.
Examples of Victorian Architecture in India
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai is a renowned landmark that has become a mark of the city, was built as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway. The terminus was designed by a British-born architect and engineer, Frederick William Stevens, taken from the initial design by Axel Haig. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus construction commenced in 1878, in the south of the old Bori Bunder railway station, and was finished in 1887. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was constructed to mark the 50 years of Queen Victoria’s power. The scale and design of the terminus building were aimed to commemorate, communicate, and stand as a legacy to demonstrate the power of the ruling.
Municipal Corporation Building, Mumbai
The Bombay Municipal Corporation Building is situated opposite of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and residences, one of the largest civic organizations in the country. Municipal Corporation Building was designed by F.W. Stevens with the influence of the Victorian Gothic style. The foundation stone for the Bombay Municipal Corporation Building was laid on 9th December 1884, and the construction of the building was finished in 1893.
The Rajabai Clock Tower
The Rajabai Tower is located in South Mumbai, India, within the Fort campus of the University of Mumbai. The Rajbai Tower was designed by British architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. The construction work started in 1869 and was completed by 1878. The Rajabai Tower has arches that are one of the key elements drawn from Islamic architecture along with the strong influence of Victorian-Gothic architecture style and were embedded in the list of World Heritage Sites in 2018.
Bombay High Court
The Bombay High Court was one of the three High Courts in India founded in the Presidency Towns by exclusive rights conferred by Queen Victoria, bearing the date June 26, 1862. Bombay High Court operated as a court of special and appellate jurisdiction during the British Rule for over 80 years, seizing the uppermost chime of the judicial hierarchy amongst the all-important Bombay Presidency. Bombay High Court although had the right to provide justice, but for reason had Victorian influence in construction, to show British dominance.
Crawford Market is the old name for Jotiba Phule Market is in the soul of South Mumbai. Jotiba Phule Market is the main market in Mumbai, where everything is available. The marketplace was designed by British architect William Emerson and signified an initial push to merge Victorian Gothic architecture with local and indigenous components of the region.
Examples of Victorian Architecture all over the World
Palace Of Westminster, United Kingdom
Palace Of Westminster is one of the greatest highly distinguished Victorian-era. The Palace of Westminster was designed by Augustus Pugin and Charles Barry, construction lasted from 1840 up until 1870. It is the adobe of the United Kingdom’s House of Parliament and is established in Westminster in London. Sir Charles Barry’s joint design and collaborative ideas for the Palace of Westminster utilize the Perpendicular Victorian Gothic style, which was generally common during the 15th century and rebirthed during the Gothic resurgence of the 19th century.
The Painted Ladies, San Francisco, California
San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians, Elizabeth Pomada, and Michael Larsen are the nicknames of the famous the Painted Ladies of San Francisco. In 1963, San Francisco artist Butch Kardum worked with intense blues and greens on his Italianate – Victorian-style designed homes, and later the influences took over when the also neighbors started to renovate the houses into beautiful colorful houses now known as the Painted Ladies. The Painted Ladies represents California’s, Gold Rush. California’s Gold Rush led to a lot of money coming into the city, hence the San Francisco builders wanted to flaunt their newfound wealth with these magnificent residences. Hence, most of the dwellings were ornamented with many striking windows, decorated rooflines, and turrets.
Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Balmoral Castle was inspired by the Scottish baronial and Victorian Gothic revival styles. The architects of Balmoral Castle were William Smith and John Smith. The construction material used to build Balmoral Castle was granite, which was a specialty of the architect William Smith. Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish dwelling of the Royal Family ever since it was bought for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852. The architectural style was mainly Scottish with a blend of Victorian style, and this implementation brought the highland culture in monarchy into the spotlight and combined many of the British lengths throughout the kingdom.
Sydney Town Hall, Australia
The Sydney Town Hall is a late 19th-century recorded in the heritage structures list. The Sydney Town Hall building is located in the city of Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales, Australia. The Town Hall was designed by architect JH Wilson in High Victorian style and built of Pyrmont sandstone. A unique element of Sydney Town Hall was the primary use of Australian ideas for ornate detail all over the structure like its colonial coatings of arms, an abundance of native flora, the metalwork railings, light fixtures, stained glass windows, mosaic floors, and carved cedar infused in the building.
Victoria Law Courts
The Victoria Law Courts on Corporation Street, Birmingham, England. The Victoria Law Court was designed by architects Aston Webb & Ingress Bell and constructed between 1887 – 1891 with additional work carried out in 1894 & 1914, the foundation stone was set by Queen Victoria on March 23, 1887. The Victoria Law Court is a red brick and terracotta building with a strong effect of Victorian architecture style.
Numerous diverse styles arose during the Victorian period few of them were particularly prominent styles that came to the limelight namely Queen Anne, Classical, Gothic Revival, Arts and Crafts, Italianate, and Romanesque Revival. However, Victorian buildings share several key characteristics. Generally, Victorian architecture could be defined as dollhouse shaped, along with curlicue adornments, bright colors, and asymmetrical design patterns. Victorian buildings mostly were brick, with large interior staircases and windows, balconies, porches, and fireplaces in every room.
Victorian style doesn’t just celebrate one unique point though, everything in it has implications, they are not a result of mass production. Victorian homes celebrate opulence, which means every structure has a story behind it that initiates conversations and buzz. The Victorian period was big on discovering new things and styles, including art, literature, socializing, equal rights, design trends, and fresh horizons of status. But now Victorian architecture has just become a style of architecture signifying a particular period that still can be utilized in our interests.