The Second Bank of the United Sates in Philadelphia (1818-24), by William Strickland (1788-1854), is the first American building o be designed in the form of a Greek temple; it has an eight-columned pedimented portico on the model of the Parthenon at front and rear. Windows were introduced along all four walls to make the interior spaces functional...
The color pallete changed with the move to Greek Revival architecture. Houses were often white, but grays and muted earth-tones were acceptable so long as the trim was white.
Most Greek Revival buildings have evenly spaced, multi-paned windows and entrances marked by sidelights and rectangular transoms. Substantial cornices often extended into gable ends as "returns." Roofs were low pitched gables, similar to those of classical temples. Columns and pilasters proportioned to imitate ancient forms appear on larger Greek Revival buildings. Nearly always, the bolder forms of the style contrast with the lighter delicacy of the Federal style.
Amidst growing patriotism and a decreasing dependency on England, a new architectural movement called the Greek Revival emerged in America. It was embraced by influential pattern book authors Asher Benjamin and Minard Lafever, architects of the early 1800s and contemporaries of Charles Bullfinch. Benjamin was one of our earliest and most famous architects.
The Greek Revolution made Greece independent of the Turks (the Ottoman Empire) in the 1820s. The newly won independence recalled, to fascinated American intellectuals, the patrician democracy of ancient Greece and its elegant architecture, created more than 400 years before the birth of Christ. In America, classical columns and orders were used mostly for decoration, often at entrance doorways in otherwise simply designed row houses.
From 1830 to 1850 nearly every new public or private building incorporated some Greek Revival elements. The style was adopted in most areas of the country, with regional differences. In warm southern climates, piazzas and porticoes were popular. Austere farmhouses with understated pilasters were built further north.
Most strongly associated with public buildings, the style flourished across America from 1825 through the 1850s. While the Federal style was inspired by both Roman and Greek models, but did not tend to reproduce Classical architectural details exactly, the Greek style represented a new focus on reproducing the exact proportions of Classical Greek temple fronts, with appropriate pediments and colonnades.
Special features that identify the Greek Revival style of architecture are described below....:
A. Anthemion (crown) - ornament based on the honeysuckle flower and leaves.
B. Column - a vertical supporting pillar.
C. Dome - a large circular roof or ceiling.
The model for Greek Revival architecture was the ancient Greek temple, in which a series of columns supported by a horizontal superstructure called an entablature, of triangular pediment. In the United States, the style was based on the Greek orders: sets of building elements determined by the type of columns that were used.
Earlier, architect Charles Bulfinch had introduced the Greek Revival style to New England after touring Europe between 1785 and 1787, although he did not strictly adhere to thistle later.
Greek Revival architecture is said to have been the first style to achieve national prominence on America. Design elements were derived from British examples of Greek Revival architecture. Between 1820 and 1859 the Greek Revival style of architecture flourished across the country, during a time of rapid expansion.
The Greek Revival style was in full swing from 1825 to 1855. Where did it come from? America's founding fathers of our country grew up with the Georgian architectural style, imported from their mother country, England. But the succeeding generations of Americans rejected the style as too English and imperial. Greek Revival buildings, whether public buildings or private homes, often emphasize a columned and pedimented entrance. Philadelphia was at the center of this movement that swept the country's public and domestic building until it was succeeded by the Picturesque Italianate and Gothic styles in the 1850s.
The Greek Revival style was a predominant style of architecture between 1820 and 1860. […] The Greek Revival house, in its fullest sense, looks nothing less than a Greek temple, with columns supporting an entablature.