19th century architecture // DESIGN HISTORY

Greetings!  We took a bit of a break last week but are back and ready to take a look at 19th Century Europe.

One of the reasons for the week off was a trip that included walking 20 miles around Paris, so this section holds a particular interest for me.  Many Parisian landmarks we revere today were built as a part of GE Haussman’s renovation of Paris in the mid-19th Century.  This was also the time of Eiffel (of the eponymous Tower), the Industrial Revolution and numerous Expositions and World’s Fairs that featured new architectural and engineering feats.  New building techniques revolutionized 19th Century architecture.  These inventions were so important to design they continue to be used today.


Eiffel’s Garabit Train Viaduct + The Twist Bike Bridge

Eiffel’s train viaduct was built with perforated wrought iron trusses for minimum weight due to high winds that go through the canyon it crosses.


The Twist connects two bike paths on either sides of a canal.  The twisting helps to absorb vibrations created when a cyclist crosses the structure.


L’Ecole des Beaux Arts + The Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C.

The Kogod courtyard is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art.  Much like the atrium in the L’Ecole des Beaux Arts building, the roof is made from steel and glass.  The wave pattern adds a more modern look to the Greek revival structures it connects, much like the L’Ecole roof would have appeared very modern compared to its contemporary counterparts.


St. George’s Church + Avenue Road Showroom in Toronto

Now let’s head over to Liverpool, England, where the Industrial Revolution was in full swing.  This meant larger structures featuring cast iron, steel and glass.  19th Century English buildings, like this church, featured iron and steel in the ceiling of the building as a replacement for fire-prone and expensive wood.

This modern example in Toronto features black steel against the white ceiling, highlighting the truss even more.


Euston Rail Station + Modern San Francisco Home

19th C. English buildings, such as Euston Rail Station featured revival style exteriors and modern, in this case, steel, interiors.

This Noe Valley home maintains its Victorian style on the exterior while the interior almost appears to belong to a completely different home – with a large common room and nana wall that opens into the yard, two features that would not be found in an actual Victorian floor plan.  This type of update has become popular in this space-challenged city where affluent buyers are looking for more contemporary floor plans in classic structures.



Crystal Palace + Sochi’s Iceberg Skating Palace

World Expositions created temporary buildings designed to show off the architectural advances at the time, but to be taken down later.

The modern version of this are Olympic villages.  Often great expense goes into creating amazing architectural structures, such as the “Iceberg Skating Palace” in Sochi, only to be left abandoned and often destroyed once the Olympics has ended.

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