5 historic buildings that best describe the beauty of Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture is defined a little differently from other styles like Art Deco architecture or Baroque architecture. It simply refers to the architecture of the victorian era, or during the reign of Queen Victoria over the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It is found in these countries but also in many other places around the world.
Victorian architecture also shares characteristics with the Georgian aesthetic as these styles became fashionable relatively close to each other, with the Victorian period starting right after Georgian.
Since Victorian architecture describes a period rather than a specific style, the characteristics vary greatly depending on the type of building. In Victorian homes, common features include steep roofs, gables, brick finishes, towers and turrets, and wraparound porches.
In this article, we break down a few examples of Victorian architecture at many scales and from around the world.
Examples of Victorian architecture
Palace of Westminster
Built by architects Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin, the Palace of Westminster is an important example of Victorian architecture also designed in the Gothic style. It acts as the UK’s House of Parliament and is an important and recognizable architectural symbol in the UK and around the world. The current palace was built after several fires destroyed the old royal palace and the royal residences.
The Royal Albert Music Hall
The Royal Albert Music Hall is one of the most famous buildings in the UK. It is an appropriate building for this list since it was opened by Queen Victoria herself in 1871. Located in South Kensington, London, the structure is an important part of London architecture and one of the examples most important architecture in the United Kingdom.
The building was named after Queen Victoria’s late husband Prince Albert. It is designed as an ellipse and is primarily constructed of Fareham Red brick with mosaic details that run throughout the building.
The painted ladies
Technically, all Painted Ladies in San Francisco, California, are examples of Victorian architecture. The group of houses includes Victorian and Edwardian style buildings. But what exactly are Victorian homes? It is a broad term that describes housing built under Queen Victoria to meet the demand for housing during the Industrial Revolution. The characteristics of this style spread beyond the UK, changing slightly as it was adopted in different regions.
As you would expect after learning some of the characteristics of Victorian architecture, bright colors were not a common feature of Victorian styles. San Francisco homes were first called Painted Ladies in a 1978 book Painted Ladies: the resplendent Victorians of San Francisco.
Terminus Chhatrapati Shivaji
The Terminus Chhatrapati Shivaji is a prime example of Victorian – or at least partially Victorian – architecture outside of the UK and US. It was originally called Victoria Terminal until it was renamed in honor of the Warrior King Shivaji.
The resort is a mix of several styles, including Victorian Gothic Top and traditional Indian architecture. Specifically, Indian architectural elements can be found in the turrets, wood carvings, ironwork, pointed arches and other intricate details throughout the project.
Palm House in Kew Gardens
This classic greenhouse is called the Palm house because it mainly shelters tropical plants like palm trees. Built by Richard Turner according to plans by Decimus Burton, the Palm House of Kew Gardens was built as a symbol of wealth in Victorian Britain. It features wrought iron used in a structural capacity with solid glass panels.
The design of the greenhouse is described as resembling the overturned hull of a ship. Indeed, the designers of Palm House used the logic of shipbuilding for the innovative new type of building.