Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project
Glossary

Definitions and Visual Examples (some based on definitions of the Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus)
(as noted in Questionnaire, Part II./Section 2. Description/A. Building/1. Architectural classification)

Dartmouth Hall, Dartmouth College (photo courtesy of University of Maryland slide collection) AMERICAN COLONIAL
Refers to the culture and style of architecture created in the region of the current United States during the period when it was colonized by Europeans, primarily during the 17th and 18th centuries. The term generally refers specifically to the culture and styles of the British colonies on the East Coast of the United States, generally not including the French or Spanish colonies, which are usually called French colonial or Spanish colonial.
Example image: Dartmouth Hall, 1784-1791 (and later), Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. (photo courtesy of University of Maryland slide collection)
President's House, Williams College (HABS/HAER) FEDERAL
Refers to the architecture that flourished in the new American republic from approximately 1785 to 1820. Inspired by European neo-classicism, especially as practiced in England by Robert Adam, though modified by late colonial tendencies, it also reflects the revival of Roman architectural styles, especially in the design of government buildings. Endorsed by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Henry Latrobe, that theme was driven partially by the metaphorical concept of the United States as analogous to the Roman Republic in its political philosophy.
Example image: President's House, Williams College, Williamstown, Mass. (HABS/HAER)
Morrison College, Transylvania University (HABS/HAER) GREEK REVIVAL
Refers to a style of architecture in Europe and the United States begun in the 1750s in Europe, and flourishing there from the 1790s and then in this country from approximately 1815 to the 1850s, which was characterized by the use of classical Greek forms and ornament. Inspired by 18th-century archaeological discoveries, it attempted to follow closely original models. Greek revival buildings often look like temples, with a series of large stone or wood columns marking part or all of the structure, though there are many examples that emphasize Greek details rather than whole buildings. In the United States, it flourished at the time of the Greek war for independence from Turkey, and many saw the style as a manifestation of democracy.
Example image: Morrison College, 1830, Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky. (HABS/HAER)
Ralston Hall, Univ. of Notre Dame de Namur ITALIANATE
A mid- to-late-19th-century architectural style, it was inspired by Italian Renaissance buildings, both the high-style urban palazzo and the less formal country villa. Often residential and often featuring a low-pitched hipped roof topped by a belvedere, or rooftop pavilions intended as lookouts or for the enjoyment of a view, it can also refer to more formal buildings ranging from commercial to public and residential.
Example image: Ralston Hall, University of Notre Dame de Namur, after 1865, Belmont, Calif. (HABS/HAER)
Old Main building, Bethany College (HABS/HAER) GOTHIC REVIVAL
Refers mainly to a style that flourished first in England and then spread to the European continent but even more strongly to America, beginning in the mid- to late 18th century, triumphing in the mid-19th century, and continuing into the twentieth. The style is characterized by the use of pointed arches, rosettes, pinnacles, tracery, foils, and polychrome effects inspired by Gothic architecture and at times reproduced with the general aim of historical accuracy, though often the spirit was as important as the details. Especially associated with churches, it could also be found in a wide range of building types, including by the late 19th and 20th century examples in campus architecture in what came to be called Collegiate Gothic.
Example image: "Old Main" Building, 1911-1912, Bethany College, Bethany, W. Va. (HABS/HAER)
Glatfelter Hall, Gettysbury College (HABS/HAER) ROMANESQUE REVIVAL
Refers to a style in European and American architecture dating from the 1820s to the end of the 19th century that was based on 11th- and 12th-century Romanesque church architecture. It is primarily characterized by the use of semicircular arches, barrel and groin vaults, massive blocks of masonry and, at times, the spare use of Romanesque and/or naturalistic ornament. A specific variety, called Richardsonian Romanesque, was inspired by the architecture of the American H. H. Richardson, and flourished in the last three decades of the 19th century.
Example image: Glatfelter Hall, 1888-1889, Gettysbury College, Gettysburg, Pa. (HABS/HAER)
Residential Village (Theme House), Agnes Scott College (CIC-HCAP collection) VICTORIAN STYLES
Refers to a wide variety of styles exhibited during the 19th century during Queen Victorias reign in Britain (1837-1900) and during the same period in the United States. Often labeled Romantic, these styles, which ranged from Italianate and Gothic revival to vernacular and Queen Anne revival, were expressed in all building types.
Example image: Residential Village (Theme House), 1895-1896, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Ga. (CIC-HCAP collection)
Cochran Hall, Allegheny College (CIC-HCAP collection) BEAUX-ARTS CLASSICISM
Refers to the revival of classicism, especially as practiced in Italy and France during the Renaissance and Baroque eras of the 15th to 18th centuries, that flourished in Europe and America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Inspired by the approach to architectural design espoused at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, this style included the use of classically articulated and often symmetrical massing, a primary axial orientation in plan (often with subsidiary axes), and hierarchically arranged and related internal spaces that offered the opportunity for a directed, processional movement through a building. Its flourishing in America coincided with the emergence of the United States as a world power.
Example image: Cochran Hall, 1907-1908, Allegheny College, Meadville, Penn. (CIC-HCAP collection)
Washington Hall, Washington and Lee University COLONIAL REVIVAL
Refers to a movement in architecture and interior design prevalent in the late 19th century and well into the 20th that revives the styles of the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries in colonial and federal America. The style, though especially seen in domestic architecture, also was found in other building types. Subsumed within this general rubric was not only a revival of 17th century clapboard buildings, but also a Georgian revival, which was inspired by English and American architecture of the 18th century. This latter tends to feature symmetrical façades, often characterized by brick, pitched roofs, windows with sashes, and fanlights. It also often includes white painted trim and decorative moldings and elements.
Example image: Washington Hall, 1824, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va. (HABS)
Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, Lourdes College (CIC-HCAP collection) MISSION/MISSION REVIVAL
As a subtype of Spanish Colonial revival architectural style, this style is characterized by simplicity of form and ornamentation. Particularly between approximately 1900 and 1915 (although also later) especially in the southern, western, and southwestern regions of the United States, Mission revival architecture was utilized in all kinds of buildings.
Example image: Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, 1959-1961, Lourdes College, Sylvania, Ohio (CIC-HCAP collection)
Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, Florida Southern College (HABS/HAER) MODERN/PRE- AND POST-WWII
Refers to the style of architecture that emerged in Holland, France, and Germany just before but primarily after World War I and spread throughout the world, becoming a leading architectural style until the 1960s/1970s. This style is characterized by a rejection of traditional period styling; an emphasis on volume over mass; the use of lightweight, mass-produced, industrial materials, but also reinforced concrete; frequent rejection of ornament and color; repetitive modular forms; and the use of flat surfaces, typically alternating with areas of glass. Some later examples may also be particularly sculptural in massing.
Example image: Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, des. 1940, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Fla. (HABS/HAER)
Williams College Museum of Art (rear façade), Williams College (Williams College Department of Art slide collection) POSTMODERN
Refers to architecture as early as the mid-1960s but more often from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, in which buildings often have a renewed interest in the color and patterns of materials, and, in many cases, the use of stylistic quotations from many different periods combined to a contradictory effect of varying scale, proportions, and scenographic effect.
Example image: Williams College Museum of Art (rear façade), addition of ca. 1981, Williamstown, Mass. (Williams College, Dept. of Art, slide collection)
Admissions and Careers Services Center, Trinity College (CIC-HCAP collection) CONTEMPORARY
Although often used earlier in the twentieth century to refer to modernism, it especially refers to architecture from 1995 to the present, encompassing a wide range of architectural styles and approaches, often incorporating elements of modernism and postmodernism.
Example image: Admissions and Careers Services Center (detail, exterior), Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. (CIC-HCAP collection)
Old Castle, Baker University (HABS/HAER) REGIONALIST/VERNACULAR
Refers to architecture that does not fit easily into the stylistic categories given above that rely primarily on period styling. This kind of architecture instead emphasizes the building traditions and materials of a particular region. These buildings may have been constructed during any period in American architecture. Fieldstone buildings in Pennsylvania or the Midwest, adobe or stucco mission-type buildings with tile roofs in the West or Southwest, and local limestone buildings in Indiana, are a few examples of this kind of response in campus architecture.
Example image: Old Castle, 1858, Baker University, Baldwin City, Kans. (HABS/HAER)

Further Definitions
(as noted in Questionnaire, Part II./Section 2. Description/B. Entire campus and C. Campus plan)

Informal or not formally planned:
No comprehensive master plan was a part of campus building or landscaping efforts. Campus has developed without any overarching schema.

Irregular/Picturesque:
Master plan of part or all of the campus has curving roads and pathways that provide circulation amidst non-hierarchically placed buildings. Vegetation, either natural or planned, often is clustered in irregular, unsymmetrical groupings, so as to create a more natural, though actually planned, picturesque effect.

Linear:
Master plan of all or part of the campus has a primary axis, on one or both sides of which building and/or landscaping efforts have been concentrated. Circulation on the campus is directed along this primary axis.

Quadrangle/Beaux-Arts classicism:
Master plan of part or all of the campus has a primary axis that serves as an important means of circulation and orientation for buildings. Structures are often placed in symmetrical arrangements, with a clear hierarchy in size and location established between the focal point(s) of a central building or structure placed at one end or both ends of the plan and subsidiary buildings located around these elements.

Modern (open plan):
Though clearly planned, these campuses utilize a master plan that has a more open orientation between buildings, with no obvious reliance on the hierarchical arrangements of the more classically-ordered quadrangle and Beaux-Arts tradition.

 

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Last update: November 2006