Richardsonian Romanesque

Richardsonian Romanesque is a style of American architecture named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson, whose masterpiece is Trinity Church, Boston (1872–77)Fact|date=September 2008.

History and development

This very free revival style incorporates 11th and 12th century southern French, Spanish and Italian Romanesque characteristics. It emphasizes clear strong picturesque massing, round-headed "Romanesque" arches, often springing from clusters of short squat columns, recessed entrances, richly varied rustication, boldly blank stretches of walling contrasting with bands of windows, and cylindrical towers with conical caps embedded in the walling.

The style epitomizes work by the generation of architects practising in the 1880s— before the influx of Beaux-Arts styles— such as J. Cleaveland Cady of Cady, Bird and See in New York City, whose American Museum of Natural History's original 77th Street range epitomizes "Richardsonian Romanesque." Some of the practitioners who most faithfully followed Richardson's proportion, massing and detailing had worked in his office. These include Wadsworth Longfellow and Frank Alden (Longfellow, Alden & Harlow of Boston & Pittsburgh); George Shepley and Charles Coolidge (Richardson's former employees, Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge of Boston); and Herbert Burdett (Marling & Burdett of Buffalo). The style influenced the Chicago school of architecture and architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. In Finland, Eliel Saarinen was influenced by Richardson.Fact|date=May 2008


Research is currently ongoing to try to document the westward movement of the artisans and craftsmen, many immigrant Italians and Irish, who built in the Richardsonian Romanesque tradition. The style began in the East, in and around Boston and while it was losing favor there it was gaining popularity further west. Thus stone carvers and masons trained in the Richardsonian manner appear to have surfed the style west, until it died out in the early years of the 20th century.

As an example, four small bank buildings were built in Richardsonian Romanesque style in Osage County, Oklahoma, during 1904-1911.citation|title=PDFlink| [ National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Submission: Richardsonian Romanesque Banks of Osage County TR] |32 MiB|date=December, 1983| accessdate=2008-02-12 |author=Claudia Ahmad and George Carney|publisher=National Park Service]


"For pictures of H.H. Richardson’s own designs and some of the details, see Henry Hobson Richardson."

None of the following structures were designed by Richardson. They illustrate the strength of his architectural personality on progressive North American architecture from 1885 to 1905.

ee also

*Henry Hobson Richardson




*Kelsey, Mavis P. and Donald H. Dyal, "The Courthouses of Texas: A Guide", Texas A&M University Press, College Station Texas 1993 ISBN 0890965471
*Kvaran, Einar Einarsson, "Architectural Sculpture in America" unpublished manuscript
*Kvaran, Einar Einarsson, "Starkweather Memorial Chapel, Highland Cemetery, Ypsilanti, Michigan", Unpublished paper 1983
*Larson, Paul C., Editor, with Susan Brown, "The Spirit of H.H. Richardson on the Midwest Prairies", University Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and Iowa State University Press, Ames 1988
*Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, "H.H.Richardson: Complete Architectural Works", MIT Press, Cambridge MA 1984 ISBN 0262150239
*Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, and Andersen, Dennis Alan, "Distant Corner: Seattle Architects and the Legacy of H. H. Richardson", University of Washington Press, Seattle WA 2003 ISBN 0-295-98238-1
*Van Rensselaer, Mariana Griswold, "Henry Hobson Richardson and His Works", Dover Publications, Inc. NY 1959 (Reprint of 1888 edition) ISBN 0486223205

External links

* [ Digital archive of American architecture:] Richardsonian Romanesque
* [ Richardsonian Romanesque described and illustrated by buildings in Buffalo, New York]
* [ Starkweather Chapel, Ypsilanti, Michigan]
* [ Pueblo Union Depot]

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