450 Years of Houses in the United States

450 Years of Houses in the United States

The history of architecture is made up of demographic, cultural, and social changes. In its relatively short history, American architecture has evolved with changes in the country, representing the catalog of various cultural influences that make up the United States as a whole. Many elements of American home design have remained intact over the past 450 years, reflecting longstanding American traditions and values that have stood the test of time.

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As part of its 50th-anniversary celebrations, American Home Shield decided to review the evolution of these styles. The history of the American home is both a history of architecture and a testament to pivotal moments in American history, including American independence and self-government, westward expansion, the industrial revolution, and the subsequent baby boom. to World War II.

Cape Cod (1600s–1950s)

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Cape Cod (1600s–1950s). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

"The first Cape Cod-style houses were built by Puritan settlers who came to America in the late 17th century. They modeled the spaces after the half-timbered houses of their English homeland but adapted the style to the stormy New England climate. Over the course of a few generations, a modest one- to the one-and-a-half-story house with wooden shutters emerged. The Rev. Timothy Dwight - president of Yale University in Connecticut - recognized these houses as he traveled along the Massachusetts coast, where Cape Cod ventures into the Atlantic Ocean. In an 1800 book describing his travels, Dwight is credited with having coined the term "Cape Cod" to describe this prolific class or type of colonial architecture. Although Victorian styles overshadowed the plain of the Cabo, these houses returned, in greater numbers than ever, during the Colonial Revival of the 1930s, often larger than the originals and with dif different framing methods, interior shots, stairs, and details. Due to the romantic associations of 18th-century models and the ubiquity of 20th century Capes, this is arguably the most recognized home style in America. "

Elements: Post and beam, rectangular footprint, one floor with an additional half-story under roof, side gable roof, fairly steep, central chimney, tile or clapboard siding, little ornamentation.

States: New England, New York State, Ohio, Michigan.

Georgian Colonial (1690s–1830s)

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Colonial Georgiano (1690s–1830). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

"The Georgian style came to the United States through British architectural construction manuals called pattern books around 1700. Although the Georgian style was popular in England in the 17th and 18th centuries, it is based on the classical forms of the earlier period of the Italian Renaissance. The English master architects Inigo Jones, Christopher Wren, and James Gibbs, inspired by the classicism of the Italian Renaissance, developed the Georgian style in England. The first examples of the great style are in the south, usually built by wealthy tobacco planters. large examples, of wood rather than brick as in Virginia, became more common in the north only after 1750."

Elements: Square and symmetrical shape, center paneled entry door, decorative wreath above the entry door, flattened columns on each side of the door, five windows in front, paired chimneys, medium slope roof, the minimum overhang of the roof, 9 or 12 small window panes on each window pane, dental moldings (square cuts in the shape of teeth) along the eave.

States: Pennsylvania, Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts.

Federal (1780–1840)

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Federal (1780–1840). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

"After the Revolution, Americans wanted both cultural and political independence and began to change the style of their buildings to reflect their change in allegiance. While the houses were not radically different and were still based on British sources, the buildings of The high style of the new age had a new and American name. The Federalist party, which ironically tended to favor British interests in foreign affairs, was the Merchants and Landlords party. These were the people with the means to build houses. The name "Federal" is a general term for buildings dating from the end of the Revolution (1783) until the first great style of the machine age, the Greek Renaissance, became popular in the 1820s and 1830s. Other terms used for buildings from the federal decades are Adamesque and Neoclassical."

Features: Low-pitched roof or flat roof with balustrade, windows arranged symmetrically around a center door, semicircular fan over the front door, narrow side windows flanking the front door, decorative crown or ceiling over the front door, trim tooth-shaped teeth on the cornice, Palladian window, circular or elliptical windows, blinds, decorative garlands and garlands, rooms and oval arches.

States: Massachusetts, Virginia, New England.

Greek Revival (1825–1860)

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Renacimiento Griego (1825–1860). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

"The British architect James" Athenian "Stuart is said to have been the first to introduce the Greek Renaissance to Britain, but it was in America that the Greek Renaissance fully flourished. As a new democracy, 19th century Americans were inspired by the birthplace of democracy and in Greek culture, art, and philosophy and all the symbolism and meaning it had for a nation in the midst of defining itself. Americans began to reject the federal style with its British influences and sought an American style with authentic democratic roots. The Greek War of Independence (1821-1832) was another driving force that encouraged Americans to embrace the values ​​of a country that had created democracy and was fighting for its independence from the Ottoman Empire. In Greece, temples were built with marble painted in primary colors. But when they were discovered by Europeans in the 18th century or XVIII, the painting was no longer, leaving the white marble. And to this day, people associate the Greek Renaissance with the color white, the appearance of white columns."

Elements: pediment, symmetrical shape, heavy cornice, wide smooth frieze, simple and bold moldings, colonnaded entrance porch, decorative pilasters, narrow windows around the front door.

States: Manhattan, Philadelphia, Louisiana.

Italian (1840–1885)

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Italiano (1840–1885). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

"The style derives from the labyrinthine farmhouses of Italy, usually built of masonry, with their characteristic square towers and informal details. By the 1830s, Italian had spread to the United States, where architects began to transform it into something truly American with only hints of its Italian origin. Therefore, when working in this style, architects had a greater degree of artistic freedom than in earlier, more rigid styles. The Italian style was popularized in the United States by Alexander Jackson Davis in the 1840s as an alternative to Gothic or Greek Revival styles. Davis's design for Blandwood is the oldest example of Italian architecture in the United States, built-in 1844 as the residence of the Governor of North Carolina, John Motley Morehead."

Elements: flat or low-pitched roofs, large eaves corbels, decorative corbels or corbels, brick, stone, or stucco is used to build the exterior, tall, rounded windows.

States: Across the Midwest, Northeast, and San Francisco.

Queen Anne (1880–1910)

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Queen Anne (1880–1910). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

"The Queen Anne style represented the culmination of the 19th century picturesque or romantic movement. Based on a premise of 'decorative excess' and variety, there were few attempts to stay true to a particular style or historical details. Rather, the style showed a combination of various forms and stylistic features taken from the early parts of the Victorian and Romantic eras. "Queen Anne" is somewhat misleading given her much earlier reign (1702-1714) during the times when Renaissance-inspired architecture was the last two decades of the 19th century saw Queen Anne become the most dominant residential style in the US, much favored by the Victorian elite who had become rich from industrial growth. Middle-class and working-class families often enjoyed their own versions, however, in the form of smaller L-shaped huts or other "popular" variants decorated with some of the varieties typical of trim or cladding of the style."

Elements: steep roof, complicated asymmetrical shape, front gable, a one-story porch that runs along one or two sides of the house, round or square towers, textured wall surfaces with decorative tiles, patterned masonry or patterned wood, ornamental spindles and supports, bay windows.

States: popular in the southern states.

Arts and Crafts (Craftsman) (1905–1930)

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Artes y Oficios (Craftsman) (1905–1930). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

"In reaction to the ornate and manufactured styles of the Victorian era, Arts and Crafts-style homes embraced artisan design and accessible materials. The style originated in Britain in the mid-1800s and arrived in the United States in the early 1800s. 20th century The term "Arts and Crafts" refers to a broader social movement that encompasses not only architecture, but also interior design, textiles, fine arts, and more. The design movement began as a revolt against the opulence of the Industrial Revolution, where design could be unnecessarily exaggerated. Arts and Crafts, instead, focused on the opposite: rather than being mass-produced and uninspired, the movement was about being handcrafted and personal. was that if quality could replace quantity, good design and taste would prevail. The Arts and Crafts movement was directly related to the rise of C-style houses. raftsman and Bungalow, architecture that played with the same mentality of simple but thoughtful structures. The bungalows were intended to give working-class families the ability to own a well-designed home that was easy to maintain and manage."

Elements: Wood, stone or stucco siding, low pitched roof, wide eaves with triangular corbels, exposed ceiling beams, porch with thick square or round columns, stone porch supports, stone exterior fireplace, open floor plans, few hallways, numerous windows, some windows with stained or leaded glass, beamed ceilings, dark wood siding and trim, built-in cabinets, shelves, and seating.

States: California, Northeast, and Southwest.

Art Deco + Art Moderne (1920–1945)

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Art Deco + Art Moderne (1920–1945). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

"Art Deco was the first widely popular style in the US that broke with the revivalist tradition represented by Beaux-Arts and period houses. Art Deco uses a decorating style that was applied to jewelry, clothing, furniture, handicrafts, and In this case, buildings. Industrial designers used Art Deco motifs to decorate cars, trains, kitchen appliances, and many other machine-age innovations. Art Deco takes its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs e Industriels Modernes, held in Paris in 1925. The Art Deco style first gained public attention in a design competition for the Chicago Tribune headquarters in 1922. Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen submitted an Art Deco design that was not chosen but was widely advertised and adopted as an exciting new style of architecture."

Elements: asymmetrical, low horizontal shape, flat roof, no cornices or eaves, smooth white walls, streamlined appearance, rounded corners, glass block windows and wrap-around windows, horizontal row windows, porthole windows and other nautical details, aluminum and steel window and door trim, mirrored panels, steel balustrades, open floor plans.

States: California (Los Angeles and Venice Beach), Chicago, Manhattan, Miami.

Ranch (1945–1980)

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Ranch (1945–1980). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

"True ranch-style homes first appeared in the 1920s. Originally, they were based on the Spanish colonial architecture used in the American Southwest. Efforts to combine that style with modern architectural touches created the California Ranch-style home. That led to a boom in the construction of these houses from the 1940s to the 1970s. Their livability, flexibility in floor plans, and simple design were perfect for the growth of the American suburbs after World War II. A small number of architects who worked in California and the Southwest during the 1920s and 1930s designed the first suburban ranch-style homes. These were based on the simple one-story houses built by ranchers who lived in the harsh climate of the plains and mountains of the west. For young architects seeking forms defined by their function and not layers of trinkets victorianas, or the colonial-style treatments popular in the East, rancher houses had a particular appeal."

Elements: low slope gable roof, deep eaves close to the wall, horizontal and steep arrangement - long, narrow and low to the ground, rectangular, L-shaped or U-shaped design, large windows - sash, sliding and boxed, sliding glass doors to patio, attached garage, simple floor plans, emphasis on openness (few interior walls) and efficient use of space, built with natural materials: oak, wood or exterior flooring made of brick, they lack any decorative details, apart from the decorative shutters.

States: California and Southwest.

Prefabricated Homes (1945-presente)

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Casas Prefabricadas (1945-presente). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

"Prefabrication is a method of producing standardized components off-site in a factory or workshop, which can be assembled on site. Components can be shipped packaged or partially assembled and are not subject to fluctuating weather conditions when manufactured. Prefabrication was a solution where there were no suitable local materials, for example in the former colonies where buildings had to be built quickly or where there was a shortage of skills and materials. After the development of the assembly line by Henry Ford in 1913, it was still made easier to make modular homes at an affordable price for many more consumers. And after World War II, when the United States faced a housing crisis as soldiers returned home and raised families, modular construction offered quick and affordable housing options. low cost to house a new generation of Americans. modular buildings have provided innovative and affordable solutions. By 1958, approximately 10 percent of new homes in the United States were manufactured."

Elements: large flat sections that are manufactured off-site in advance, style often inspired by postmodern or futuristic architecture, materials typically include wood and glass panels and sheet metal.

States: most popular in South and West regions.

For more information visit: American Home Shield


  1. Craven, J. (2018) About the American Cape Cod Style House thoughtco.com
  2. Old House Journal. (2021) A History of Cape Cod Design oldhouseonline.com
  3. Wikipedia. (2021) Cape Cod (house) wikipedia.com
  4. PHMC. (2015) Georgian Style 1700 - 1800 phmc.state.pa.us
  5. Poore, P. (2021) Georgian Style, 1710–1800 oldhouseonline.com
  6. Vila, B. The Federal House bobvila.com
  7. Wentworth, B. Federal askthearchitect.org
  8. Hohenadel, K. (2020) What Is Greek Revival Architecture? thespruce.com
  9. Fricker, J. & Fricker, D. (2010) The Greek Revival Style crt.state.la.us
  10. Wentworth. Italianate Style (1840-1885) wentworthstudio.com
  11. Wikipedia. (2021) Italianate architecture wikipedia.org
  12. Paradis, T. (2013) Italianate architecturestyles.org
  13. Paradis, T. (2014) Queen Anne architecturestyles.org
  14. Sidler, S. (2011) American Queen Anne Style thecraftsmanblog.com
  15. Knierim, A (2019) What Is an Arts and Crafts Home? thespruce.com
  16. Massey, J.C & Maxwell, S. (2021) Arts & Crafts Architecture and How To Spot Arts & Crafts Homes oldhouseonline.com
  17. Paradis, T. (2013) Art Deco and Moderne architecturestyles.org
  18. PHMC. (2015) Art Deco Style 1925 - 1940 phmc.state.pa.us
  19. Randel, S. (2016) Roots of Style: Art Deco and Art Moderne houzz.com
  20. Guerra, T. Facts on Ranch-Style Homes homeguides.sfgate.com
  21. Salant, K. (2006) The Ranch, an Architectural Archetype Forged on the Frontier washingtonpost.com
  22. Winkler, M. What Makes Tudor Homes Unique? homeguides.sfgate.com
  23. Hearn, J. (2018) A short history of prefabrication prefabmuseum.uk
  25. Wikipedia. (2021) Prefabricated home wikipedia.org
  26. Jones, J. (2020) U.S. States Where Manufactured Housing Is on the Rise constructioncoverage.com

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Cite: Arellano, Mónica. "450 Years of Houses in the United States" [450 años de evolución de la casa en Estados Unidos] 04 Feb 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/973982/450-years-of-homes-in-the-united-states> ISSN 0719-8884

Art Deco + Art Moderne (1920–1945). Image Cortesía de American Home Shield

从科德角式到预制装配式,美国住宅 450 年变迁史

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