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Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: Welcome
Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: Text


The following is a history of architectural styles found throughout the City of Los Angeles. The narrative of architectural styles is helpful in understanding how the architecture of the HPOZ relates to the larger region-wide context. The summary of styles and periods is intentionally broad and is intended to give the reader an understanding of major architectural themes in the City. However, it should be understood that individual structures may adhere rigorously to the themes and descriptions described below, or may defy them altogether based upon the preferences and tastes of individual architects, home-builders and developers.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


The 19th Century architectural styles popular in Los Angeles included the Italianate, Queen Anne, Folk Victorian, and Eastlake/Stick styles; styles that many lay-people might refer to simply as “Victorian.” Most of these styles were transmitted to Los Angeles by means of pattern books or the experience of builders from the eastern United States. Later in the period builders began to embrace more simplified home plans and the Foursquare, Shingle and Victorian Vernacular styles began to emerge (Victorian Vernacular styles generally include the Hippedroof Cottage and the Gabled-roof Cottage). Neoclassical styles were also popular during this period. While there are residential examples of Neoclassical architecture, the styles is most often attributed to commercial and institutional structures.

These 19th Century styles were built most prolifically in the boom years of the 1880s, with consistent building continuing through the turn of the last century. These styles were concentrated in areas near today’s downtown Los Angeles. Many examples of 19th century architectural styles have been lost through redevelopment or urban renewal projects. Surviving examples of 19th Century architectural styles within the City of Los Angeles are most commonly found in neighborhoods surrounding the Downtown area such as Angelino Heights, University Park, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, and South Los Angeles. Surviving examples of the pure Italianate styles are rare in Los Angeles, although Italianate detail is often found mixed with the Eastlake or Queen Anne styles.

The prominent architects in Los Angeles in this period included Ezra Kysar, Morgan & Walls, Bradbeer & Ferris, Frederick Roehrig and Carroll Brown.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


The late 1800s and early 1900s saw a substantial change in design philosophy nation-wide. The Arts and Crafts Movement, born in Western Europe rejected the rigidity and formality of Victorian era design motifs and embraced styles that were more organic and that emphasized craftsmanship and function. During this time in Los Angeles, architectural styles that emerged in popularity include the Craftsman Style in its various iterations (Japanese, Swiss, Tudor, etc.); the Mission Revival Style, unique to the southwestern portion of the United States; and the Prairie Style, initially popularized in the Midwest and Prairie states. Colonial Revival styles, including American Colonial Revival (inspired by architecture of the early American Colonies) and Spanish Colonial Revival (inspired by architecture of the early Spanish colonies) also emerged in popularity during this period, though there is a stronger preponderance of these styles later during the Eclectic Revival period of early to mid-century.

These styles were concentrated in areas spreading from downtown Los Angeles into some of the area’s first streetcar suburbs. Although many examples of these styles have been lost through redevelopment, fire, and deterioration, many fine examples of these styles still exist in Los Angeles. These styles can be commonly found in the greater West Adams area, portions of South Los Angeles, Hollywood and throughout the Northeast Los Angeles environments.

In this period, Los Angeles was beginning to develop a broad base of prominent architects. Prominent architects in Los Angeles during this period included Henry and Charles Greene, the Heineman Brothers, Frank Tyler, Sumner Hunt, Frederick Roehrig, Milwaukee Building Co., Morgan & Walls, J. Martyn Haenke, Hunt & Burns, Charles Plummer, Theodore Eisen, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, Dennis & Farwell, Charles Whittlesby, and Thornton Fitzhugh. Only one surviving example of the work of architects Charles and Henry Greene survives in Los Angeles, in the Harvard Heights HPOZ.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


The period between the World Wars was one of intense building activity in Los Angeles, and a wide range of revival styles emerged in popularity. The Eclectic Revival styles, which draw upon romanticized notions of European, Mediterranean and other ethnic architectural styles, include Colonial Revival; Dutch Colonial Revival; English and English Tudor Revival styles; French Eclectic styles; Italian Renaissance Revival; Mediterranean Revival; Monterey Revival; Spanish Colonial Revival; and to a lesser extent, highly stylized ethnic revival styles such as Egyptian Revival, and Hispano-Moorish styles. Use of the Craftsman Style continued through this period as well. Many of these styles were widely adapted to residential, commercial and institutional use. Styles such as Egyptian Revival, Chateauesque (a French Eclectic style) Mediterranean Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival being particularly popular for use in small and large scale apartment buildings.

All of these styles were based on an exuberantly free adaptation of previous historic or “foreign” architectural styles. The Los Angeles area is home to the largest and most fully developed collection of these styles in the country, probably due to the combination of the building boom that occurred in this region in the 1920s and the influence of the creative spirit of the film industry.

Prominent architects working in these styles included Paul Revere Williams, Walker & Eisen, Curlett & Beelman, Reginald Johnson, Gordon Kauffman, Roland Coates, Arthur R. Kelley, Carleton M. Winslow, and Wallace Neff. Many surviving examples of these styles exist in Los Angeles, particularly in the Mid-Wilshire, Mid City and Hollywood environments.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


The period between the World Wars was also a fertile one for the development of architectural styles that were based on an aggressively modern aesthetic, with clean lines and new styles of geometric decoration, or none at all. The Modern styles: Art Deco, Art Moderne, and Streamline Moderne and the International Style, all took root and flourished in the Los Angeles area during this period. The influence of the clean lines of these styles also gave birth to another style, the Minimal Traditional style, that combined the sparseness and clean lines of the Moderne styles with a thin veneer of the historic revival styles. Early Modern styles were most readily adapted to commercial, institutional and in some cases, multi-family residential structures citywide, though there is certainly a preponderance of early modern single family residential structures in the Silver Lake and Echo Park areas, Hollywood, the Santa Monica Mountains, Mid-Wilshire and West Los Angeles areas.

Prominent architects in the Los Angeles region working in these styles included Richard Neutra, Paul Revere Williams, R.M. Schindler, Stiles O. Clements, Robert Derrah, Milton Black, Lloyd Wright, and Irving Gill.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


The period dating from 1945-1965 saw an enormous explosion in the development of single-family housing in the Los Angeles area. Much of this development took the architectural vocabulary of the pre-war years and combined it into simplified styles suitable for mass developments and small-scale apartments. Residential architectural styles popular in Los Angeles in this period included the Minimal Traditional, the various Ranch styles, Mid-Century Modern styles such as Post and Beam and Contemporary, and the Stucco Box (most popularly expressed in the Dingbat type). Though these styles may be found as in-fill development throughout the City, areas where complete districts of these styles may be found in Los Angeles include Westchester, West Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Fernando Valley.

Prominent architects working in these styles in Los Angeles included Gregory Ain, A. Quincy Jones, J. R. Davidson, Cliff May, John Lautner, Dion Neutra, William Pereira, Rapahael Soriano, and H. Hamilton Harris, although many of these styles were builder-developed.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


The diversity of building periods and architectural styles in Los Angeles is matched only by the diversity of building types. The cityscape is marked by single family homes, big and small; multi-family structures of varying sizes and densities and a breadth of commercial and institutional buildings varying in scale and function. An understanding of building types can be especially helpful in planning and evaluating an in-fill project in a historical context. Some architectural styles in Los Angeles, such as the Spanish Colonial Revival style have been gracefully adapted to a wide range of residential, commercial and institutional building types. Other styles tend to only have been applied to particular building types; for example, the Art Deco style tends to be found most often on commercial and institutional building types, and the Craftsman style, a predominant residential style was rarely applied to commercial building types. While it is important to address issues of architectural style, it is equally important to ensure that new projects fi t in their context with respect to function, layout and type.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


Though most single family homes may be similar by virtue of their use, there is a significant range of single family building types within Los Angeles. Some neighborhoods may be characterized by standard two-to-three story single family homes, and others may be characterized by cottages or bungalows—simple one-story to one-and-a-half-story homes. Idiosyncratic building types may also exist in particular neighborhoods. For example, the Villa, a two-story home oriented lengthwise along the street may be popularly found in affluent pre-war suburbs throughout the Mid-City and Mid-Wilshire areas. While there are always exceptions, attention should be paid to which architectural styles are applied to which single family home types. For example, the English Tudor Revival style has usually been applied to large single family homes, while the simpler English Revival style has usually been applied to bungalows and cottages. The various design guidelines in this document are intended to ensure that additions to single family homes, as well as in-fill projects do not defy established building types as well as architectural styles.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


A wide range of multi-family building types were adapted in historic Los Angeles. Some, such as simple duplexes or garden style apartments were designed to blend with the surrounding single family context, and others, such as traditional four-plexes, one-over-one duplexes or large scale apartment buildings define neighborhoods in their own right. When planning a multi-family project, special attention should be paid to predominant building types, and to what styles are most often applied to those types, to ensure that the project is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. For example, there tend not to be Craftsman style large-scale apartment buildings, though the style is readily applied to duplexes and four-plexes. The Multi-Family In-Fill design guidelines in Chapter 9 provide a clear understanding of the specific multi-family building types.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


While the majority of parcels within Los Angeles HPOZs tend to be residential, there is a significant number of commercial buildings and commercial uses within HPOZ purview. Most commercial buildings in HPOZs tend to be simple one-story and two-story buildings built along the street frontage with traditional store-fronts and offices or apartments above. Institutional building types tend to be defined by their use: churches, schools, libraries, etc. Successful infill projects will adhere both to prevailing architectural styles and building types. The Commercial Rehabilitation and In-Fill chapters (Chapters 10 and 11) provide assistance in this area.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


The Architectural Styles Chapter of this Plan is intended to give an overview of the predominant styles that may exist in the Jefferson Park HPOZ. Each architectural style explanation has been divided into two sections, a textual overview of the style and its development, and a listing of some typical significant architectural features of that style. These descriptions are intended to assist property owners and the HPOZ board in determining the predominant architectural style of a structure, and in understanding the elements of that style. These descriptions are not intended as comprehensive lists of significant features of any style, and are not to be taken as an exhaustive list of what features should be preserved.

The reader may note that each architectural style description contains a note on what architectural styles can commonly be found mixed together. This note is included because architectural styles are not always found in a pure state. Individual owners and builders quite often customized or mixed the elements of different architectural styles together in designing a structure. This may be because cultural tastes were transitioning between two styles, with some styles falling out of favor and new styles being introduced, or simply due to the personal taste of the designer. It is important to realize that these mixed style structures are no less architecturally significant than the “purer” forms of a particular style, and that mixed style structures are not “improved” through remodeling with the goal of achieving a “pure” style. Los Angeles is particularly rich in inventive, “fantasy” structures that show a great deal of creativity on the part of the architect, owner, and builder, and this richness should be preserved.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About



The Folk Victorian style is largely the product of the railroads and the industrial revolution. The elaborate turned and carved wooden decorative elements emblematic of this style were make inexpensive by the development of the assembly line and the steam engine. Therefore, even relatively modest homes could sport elaborate decoration. The Folk Victorian style was prevalent in the United States from 1879 to 1910. The first Folk Victorian structures appeared in Los Angeles around the mid-1880s and the style was often adapted to accessory buildings such as carriage houses.

Common Characteristics of the Folk Victorian Style

The Folk Victorian style is characterized by porches with spindle work detailing, a intricately cut perforated gables (Gingerbread trim), and an asymmetrical facade. The buildings are one or two stories, generally with gabled roofs, wide over-hanging eaves with decorative brackets, and tall narrow windows.

General Characteristics

• Symmetrical roofs, either hipped or front-facing gable

• Large, decorative eave brackets

• Rectangular double-hung windows arranged in pairs or threes

• Prominent porches with intricate spindled posts and brackets

• Rectangular and singular doors with transom lights and decorative crowns

• Clapboard or shingle siding

• Simpler color schemes as compared to Queen Anne and Eastlake, often using high-contrast body and trim colors

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


(Also Hipped-Roof Cottage and Gabled-Roof Cottage)


Similar to the American Foursquare and Shingle styles, the Victorian Vernacular styles act as a transition between the ornate Victorian styles of the 1800s and the simplified and organic Craftsman style of the early 1900s. Victorian Vernacular structures, most widely represented by the Hipped-Roof Cottage and the Gabled-Roof Cottage were built in the Los Angeles area during the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

Common Characteristics of the Victorian Vernacular Style

The Hipped-Roof Cottage is a simple one-story, box-shaped structure with a low-pitched hipped roof, usually having a center dormer. It is related to the Foursquare style, and has many of the same details in a one to one and half story structure. The cottages typically have a full front porch or a porch off-set to one side, frequently set under the main body of the roof. Occasionally, the cottages will have a wrap-around porch. The Gabled-roof cottage would use similar design themes, though the roof would be comprised of a front-facing gable that is usually decorated with restraint in comparison to styles such as Queen Anne. The features of the Hipped-Roof Cottage can often be found mixed with the late Victorian, Prairie and Colonial Revival styles.

General Characteristics

• One and one-and-a-half stories

• Simple hipped or gabled roof, occasionally adorned with gable

• Boxed eaves

• Clapboard siding, with occasional shingle accents

• Porch contained under primary roof

• Rectangular windows, often paired

• Simple two and three-color paint schemes

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About



Early use of the American Colonial Revival style dates from 1890 and it remained popular through the 1950s (consequently, it may also be considered part of 19th Century Styles Period or the Eclectic Revival Period). Popularity of the style resulted from a rejection of the ornate European inspired styles such as Queen Anne, and a desire to return to a more “traditional” American building type. This popularity was reinforced by the City Beautiful movement which gave attention to Neo-classical building forms. Colonial Revival took on added popularity with the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg in the 1920s. This style draws from the simple building forms typical of early American colonial structures, and elements of classical or Georgian architecture. It is closely related to the Neoclassical Revival and Georgian Revival styles.

Common Characteristics of the Colonial Revival Style

Colonial Revival residential structures are typically one or two stories, with hipped or gabled roofs (gables nearly always oriented to the sides of the structure) and symmetrical facades. Porches tend to be diminutive if present at all, nevertheless, entryways tend to be the primary focus, often highlighted with a decorative crown or pediment. and round columns. Doorways are generally single and are rectangular. Windows on older Arts and Crafts period structures, may be arranged in pairs or threes, though later Eclectic Revival Colonial houses often have windows arranged singularly with shutters. More decorative versions of Colonial Revival, such as Adam Revival, Federal Revival or Georgian Revival may integrate Neo-classical design motifs such as quoins and dental brackets. Commercial structures are usually low in scale. Elements of the Colonial Revival style are often found mixed with the Queen Anne and Craftsman architectural styles.

General Characteristics

• Symmetrical Facades, and occasional use of side-porch

• Basic rectangular shape

• Hipped or side-facing gable roof

• Multi-pane double-hung windows, often adorned with shutters

• Central entrance usually adorned with pediments and decorative crown

• Diminutive or no front porch

• High-style variants may use dormers, quoins, dentils and fullheight classical columns

• High contrast, two or three-color paint schemes with house body often in light or white tones

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


(Also Japanese Craftsman, Swiss Craftsman, Tudor Craftsman)


Quintessential to the Arts and Crafts design movement, Craftsman architecture stressed the importance of craftsmanship, simplicity, adapting form to function, and relating the building to the surrounding landscape through its ground-hugging massing and orientation. Many early Craftsman homes utilized design elements also found on English Tudor Revival homes such as exposed half-timbers, a steeply pitched roof and plaster facade surfaces. (These structures may be identified as “Transitional Arts and Crafts.”) Later, the Craftsman style was simplified and often reduced to signature design elements such as an offset front gable roof, tapered porch piers, and extended lintels over door and window openings. In many cases, the Craftsman style incorporated distinctive elements from other architectural styles resulting in numerous variations (namely Asian and Swiss influences).

The Craftsman style is found in single family homes, duplexes, four-plexes and apartment houses are not uncommon. Though larger Craftsman homes do exist, the style is perhaps best known in the Bungalow type: single-story smaller homes built from kits or pre-drawn catalog plans. The Airplane Bungalow is a building type that is wholly unique to the Craftsman style and generally consists of a Bungalow with a small popup second story (resembling, to some extent, an airplane cockpit.

Common Characteristics of the Craftsman Style

Craftsman architecture is usually characterized by a rustic aesthetic of shallowly pitched overhanging gable roofs; earth-colored wood siding; spacious, often L-shaped porches; windows, both casement and doublehung sash, grouped in threes and fours; natural wood for the front doors and through-out the interior; and exposed structural elements such as beams, rafters, braces and joints. Cobblestone or brick was favored for chimneys, porch supports and foundations. Craftsman structures may also exhibit characteristics of Prairie and Mission Revival styles.

General Characteristics

• Broad gabled roofs with deeply overhanging eaves

• Pronounced front porch, symmetrical or offset with massive battered or elephantine columns

• Exposed and decorative beams, rafters, vents

• Decorative brackets and braces

• Grouped rectangular multi-pane windows

• Massive stone or masonry chimneys

• Use of earth tone color palette and natural finishes

• Three-color schemes for body, trim and accents

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About



The Mission Revival style was born in California in the 1890s. It has been an enduring architectural style, and examples continue to be constructed into the present day, although in much smaller numbers than in its heyday in the 1910s and 1920s and with less of an emphasis on Arts and Crafts detail. The Mission Revival style owes its popularity in large part to the publication of “Ramona” in the late 19th Century, the release of the Mary Pickford film of the same title in 1910, and the consequent romanticization of the Mission era in California and resurgence of interest in the Spanish heritage of the southwestern United States.

Common Characteristics of the Mission Revival Style

Mission Revival structures are generally clad with stucco and employ sculpted parapets (espandanas), and arched openings refl ected the simplicity of Southern California’s Mexican and Spanish heritage. Mission Revival style residential structures are typically two or three stories (commercial structures typically are no more than four), have low pitched roofs with gables and wide eaves, arched arcades enclosing large, front porches, a mixture of small square windows, and long, rectangular windows, quatrefoils, Moorish detailing and often towers. The features of the Mission Revival style are often mixed with the Spanish Colonial Revival, Craftsman and Prairie styles. While the Mission Revival style may easily be confused with other Mediterranean and Spanish styles a true Mission Revival structure will exhibit the intricacy of detail associated with the Arts and Crafts movement and will embody the rustic nature of the early California Missions over the ornate formality of other Spanish Colonial settlements.

General Characteristics

• Simple, smooth stucco or plaster siding

• Broad, overhanging eaves with exposed rafters

• Either hipped or gabled tile roof

• Roof parapets

• Large square pillars or twisted columns

• Arched entry and windows with deep openings

• Covered walkways or arcades

• Round or quatrefoil window

• Earthy two or three-color schemes with body coloration consistent with adobe and use of natural wood finishes

• Restrained decorative elements usually consisting of tile, iron, and wood

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


(Also Transitional Craftsman and Tudor Craftsman)


The emergence of the Arts & Crafts movement in architecture marked a significnat departure from the ornate and European-themed styles of the Victorian Era. Arts & Crafts structures emphasized simplicity and a connection to craftsmanship and to nature--a contrast to the fanciful manifestations of styles such as Queen Anne. While the Craftsman Bungalow had not yet established itself as the benchmark for housing of the 1910s, builders began experimenting with Craftsman design themes in the 1900s. Jefferson Park contains a note-worthy collection of such bungalows.

Common Characteristics of the Transitional Arts & Crafts Style

The Transitional Arts & Crafts bungalow generally consists of a simple Victorian Vernacular cottage adorned with ornamentation that often combines Victorian design queues such as turrets and decorative verge boards with Craftsman design ques such as wide eaves, exposed rafters and battered columns. Roofs are often hipped with offset gables over porches. Porches are emphasized by virtue of mass and orientation. Windows often use decorative muntins and art glass and can be fixed, hung, casement, etc. Decorative half-timbering is often used as a means of displaying structural craftsmanship. Natural materials such as masonry, stone, and natural wood finishes abound, and color schemes tend to be earth-toned with harmonious colors used on body, trim and accents.

General Characteristics

• 1½ to 2½ stories (Generally 1 story with an attic in Jefferson Park)

• Combinations of clapboard, shingle, stone or stucco siding

• Typically asymmetrical facades with deep front porches often pronounced by massive gables

• Exposed woodwork such as half-timbers, rafters and brackets

• Square, elephantine or battered columns with masonry piers

• Elaborate multi-pane windows with art glass

• Hipped roof with offset gables

• Natural materials and finishes with harmonious earth tone stains and paints using multiple colors for body, trims and accents

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About



Dutch Colonial Revival emerged as an architectural style in the United States in the early 1900s and structures in this style in Los Angeles generally date from the 1910s to the 1930s. The Dutch Colonial Revival style is imitative of early Dutch Colonial buildings in the Northeastern United States during the American Colonial period. One of the tenants of the style is a gambrel roof that houses a full second story (this originally emerged as a building type where second-story restrictions prevented a full second floor). The Dutch Colonial Revival style is part of the Revival or Romantic architectural movements that were popular in the United States during the early 20th Century.

Common Characteristics of the Dutch Colonial Style

Dutch Colonial Revival structures are typically two-story, with a gambrel roof, shallow eaves, and sometimes sport Dutch doors or half-timbering. Windows are quite often arranged singularly, as are doors. Porches tend to be diminutive in size and use simple square or round columns. Some variants will incorporate Georgian entry features such as pilasters and crowns surrounding the front door. Roofs are nearly always gambrel, and side gables tend to be most widely used. Dutch Colonial Revival features are often mixed with Colonial Revival or Shingle styles.

General Characteristics

• 1½ to 2 stories

• Clapboard, shingle, stone or stucco siding

• Typically symmetrical facades, but also found with side entries

• Gable-end chimneys

• Round windows in gable end

• Porch under overhanging eaves with simple classical columns

• Multi-pane, double-hung windows

• Shed, hipped, or gable dormers

• High-contrast color schemes using two or three colors.

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


(Also English Cottage, English Revival and Storybook)


A romanticized recreation of medieval English architecture, the English Tudor Revival style found popularity in the United States in the 1890s through the 1930s. In Los Angeles, the fi rst Tudor style buildings were built in the early 1900s during the Arts and Crafts Period, though the style continued on in popularity through the 1930s. A higher concentration of English Tudor Revival structures were built during the Eclectic Revival Period, though the style could also be considered an Arts and Crafts Period style. Variations of this style include the English Cottage, which typically includes an asymmetrical fl oor plan but without the half timbering and heavy ornamentation and the playful Storybook Style, which usually over-emphasizes features such as faux-thatched roofs, roof pitch and whimsical ornamentation.

Common Characteristics of the English Tudor Revival Styles

English Tudor Revival structures are typically two or three stories, with steeply pitched roofs, cross gables, and often have shingle or slate roofs that attempt to replicate the look of medieval thatching. English cottage structures will replicate this pattern, though they are often found in single-story versions. English Tudor Revival structures nearly always use half-timbering, stucco and masonry (often arranged in a herring bone pattern, or using clinker bricks) while English Cottage structures may simply be stucco. Windows tend to be arranged singularly, may be casement or use hung sashes, and often utilize artful leaded glass patterns. Chimneys are massive and integral to the overall look of the house. Porches are minimal, and include simple archways and recesses. Doors are usually singular and may be rectangular or arched. The Tudor and English Revival styles features can be found mixed Victorian era styles such as Queen Anne, Arts and Crafts Period structures such as Craftsman, and with other Eclectic Revival period styles such as French Eclectic.

General Characteristics

• One-and-one-half to two stories with irregular plan

• Cross-gabled, medium to steeply pitched roof, sometimes with clipped gables

• Use of half-timbering, patterned masonry, stone and stucco

• Arrangements of tall, narrow windows in bands; small window panes either double-hung or casement

• Over scaled chimneys with decorative brickwork and chimney pots

• Rectangular or arched doorways, often recessed or found within tower features

• Traditionally light colored walls with dark trim and half-timbers

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About



Italian Renaissance Revival buildings were popular in the United States from the early 1900’s and surged in popularity in Los Angeles in the 1910’s. Along with the rest of the Period Revival movement, Italian Renaissance Revival draws upon romanticized notions of historic architectural motifs. The Italian Renaissance Revival style is loosely based on Italian palazzos of the sixteenth century. The style was usually used in particularly grand homes and public buildings where an imposing presence was desired. The style gained particular popularity in Los Angeles because it could easily be integrated with other popular styles both within the Arts and Crafts movement and the Eclectic Revival Movement. There are Italian Renaissance Revival homes in LA that exhibit characteristics of the Mission Revival and Craftsman styles as well as Mediterranean Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival styles.

Common Characteristics of the Italian Renaissance Revival Style

Italian Renaissance Revival homes usually have a low-pitched hipped roof adorned with clay pantile and decorative edge features, elaborate windows on the first floor with a more simplified window pattern on the second, wide roof overhangs with decorative brackets, an emphasis on arches, especially on the first floor and are most often symmetrical. Italian Renaissance Revival structures bear a close resemblance to their Mediterranean Revival counterparts but can usually be distinguished by a higher level of decorative detail, a stronger adherence to order and symmetry and a full second fl oor. One must understand that while Italian Renaissance Revival homes are inspired by Italian palazzos, Mediterranean Revival homes are inspired by more rustic seaside villas found throughout Mediterranean region.

General Characteristics

• Low pitched, hipped tile roof

• Pantiles in reds, greens and blues

• Moderate to wide eaves with decorative bracket supports

• Recessed porches with arched openings

• Classical detailing in use of columns, quoins, pediments, arches, and pilasters

• Most often symmetrical

• Balanced wings

• Use of three-color palette with subdued and formal tones

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About



The Mediterranean Revival style is loosely based on Italian seaside villas from the sixteenth century. The style was particularly prevalent in Southern California, because of a popular association of the California coast with Mediterranean resorts and because the original Mediterranean structures were adapted to a climate not unlike California’s. Though often used in massive and imposing structures, style is somewhat free-flowing, bereft of many of the classical elements that adorn Italian Renaissance Revival counterparts. The first Mediterranean/Italian Renaissance Revival buildings were built in the United States starting in the early 1900s. These styles became popular in Los Angeles in the nineteen-teens.

Common Characteristics of the Mediterranean Revival Style

Structures may be either symmetrical or asymmetrical, often incorporate courtyards and garden walls, archways, arcades and mosaic tile work. Roofs may be gabled or hipped, but are nearly always adorned with clay tile or pantile. Windows are often deeply recessed and may be grouped or singular and often use casements. Elements of the Mediterranean Revival style can often be found mixed with Italian Renaissance Revival, Beaux Arts and Spanish Colonial Revival styles.

General Characteristics

• Rectangular or irregular plans

• Varied, irregular roofs with simple eaves

• Arched and rectangular windows and doors

• Windows may be grouped or singular

• Balconies, patios and courtyards integrated into plan

• Entry often accentuated with decorative columns

• Clay tile roofs

• Vibrant two and three-color schemes with walls in shades reminiscent of adobe

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About



The Monterey Revival style re-creation of the rustic American-influenced Spanish Colonial houses of the Central Coast region of California during the California colonial period of the 1840s. Monterey buildings are a blend of Spanish Adobe construction fused with American Colonial massing. The style emerged in popularity along with various other Spanish and Mediterranean inspired styles in the 1920s.

Common Characteristics of the Monterey Revival Style

Monterey Revival style structures are two stories with different cladding material for each floor, an ‘L’-shaped plan, a low-pitched gabled roof and a cantilevered second floor balcony. Earlier versions exhibit more Spanish Colonial detailing, while later versions contain more colonial references such as shuttered windows and wood siding on the upper or both floors. The Monterey Revival style is often combined with Spanish Colonial Revival, Mediterranean Revival and Minimal Traditional styles.

General Characteristics

• Cantilevered second-floor balcony at front elevation with simple posts and railings

• Always two-stories with disparate building materials between first and second floor

• Low pitched side-gabled roof with clay tile or wood shingle

• Entrance adorned with pediments or crown, no porch

• Windows often adorned with shutters

• Rustic natural colors used on body with vibrant accent colors

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About



Emerging first in Europe and eventually in the United States in the early 1900s, early Modern architects were driven by a desire to experiment with new materials and a more functional use of space. Among the Early Modern styles to find popularity in Southern California in the 1920s through 1940s, Art Deco and Streamline Moderne emerged as perhaps the first definitive architectural styles of the period.

Common Characteristics of the Art Deco Style

The term “Art Deco” comes from the French phrase “Arts Decoratifs” (Decorative Arts) and the style was formally popularized by the Parisian Exposition: 1925. Perhaps the most glamorous of the Moderne styles, Art Deco brought forth a sea change in architecture, furniture design and fashion. Hallmarks of the style include pronounced vertical lines, strong decorative motifs such as sunbursts or chevrons and lavish materials such as stainless steel, aluminum and lacquered wood. Art Deco structures are usually symmetrical and stylized, with recessed, vertical or horizontal rows of windows, and “wedding cake” setbacks. The style was popularly used in cinemas, commercial buildings, and public and institutional structures. Given the monumental statement of the style, it is rarely adapted to single family homes, though there are Art Deco apartment buildings in Los Angeles. Common Characteristics of the Streamline Moderne Style Streamline Moderne emerged as an expression of the technological advancements of the day, particularly related to aviation, automotive and ballistics design. The style presents clean, aerodynamic lines, rounded corners and simple and functional openings. Hallmarks of the style include a strong horizontal orientation corner windows, use of glass block or porthole windows, smooth wall surfaces and fl at roofs. Though there are few single family residences built in the Streamline style in Los Angeles, there are many apartment buildings and commercial structures that are indicative of the style.

General Characteristics

• Can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Flat roof

• Cubic form with flat, un-textured walls in stucco or concrete

• Simple geometric shapes Little ornamentation on Streamline, high ornamentation on Art Deco. Rounded corners on Streamline

• Wrap-around windows, often using glass block, metal framed windows arranged in bands

• Metal trim around doors and windows

• Decorative elements in aluminum and steel often applied in horizontal banding as well as railings, and balusters

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About



The Minimal Traditional style began in the United States during the mid 1930s and lasted until the early 1950’s. In Los Angeles, the style was most prevalent immediately following WWII. The Minimal Traditional style was a response to the economic Depression of the 1930s, conceived and developed by agencies and associations including the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the National Association of Real-estate Boards, and by manufacturers and modern community builders who promoted and financed the construction of efficient, mass-produced and affordable houses.

Common Characteristics of the Minimal Traditional Style

Minimal Traditional structures are boxy, with relatively fl at wall surfaces, a central block with slightly recessed or stepped room wings, attached or detached one and two car garages, intermediate hipped, gabled or gabled on hipped roofs. The style may be perceived as a simplifi ed version of the Colonial Revival styles of the 1920s and 30s, but with much less ornamentation and decorative detailing. Minimal Traditional structures are most often single family homes (often adapted to the Ranch type) or small-scale apartment buildings.

General Characteristics

• Shallow to medium pitched, gabled or hipped roof usually with no eaves

• Small entry porch with simple pillars or columns

• Simple floor plan, rectangular shape, often with small ells

• Garages often attached

• Minimal ornamentation, often inspired by Colonial styles

• Color schemes similar to American Colonial Revival

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About


(Also Shed and Post & Beam)


The term Mid-Century Modern applies to the design aesthetic that influenced architecture, interior design and following the Second World War. The style is a response to the International Style of Early Modernism and offers a more organic and less formal than appearance that the oft misunderstood International Style. The Mid-century Modern styles, namely Post & Beam and Shed, are characterized by simplicity, democratic design and natural shapes. The Mid-Century Modern styles represent the first attempt at bringing Modernism into mainstream urban and suburban architecture. The style prevailed in residential design in Los Angeles from the 1950s through the 1970s.

Common Characteristics of the Mid-Century Modern Styles

This style emphasized creating structures with ample windows and open floor-plans with the intention of opening up interior spaces and bringing the outdoors in. Many Mid-century homes utilized then groundbreaking post and beam architectural design that eliminated bulky support walls in favor of walls seemingly made of glass. Post & Beam refers directly to a specific structural system of overhead ceiling beams supported by vertical posts that was commonly used for fl at roofed buildings but was also widely used for pitched or cross gabled roofs as well. Function was as important as form in Mid-Century designs with an emphasis placed specifi cally on targeting the needs of the average American family. Shed and Post and Beam buildings are usually rectangular with fl at roofs or shed roofs that extend out over exposed ceiling beams often with clerestory windows above. Large panes or walls of glass blur the distinction between indoor and outdoor space, extending living room into garden and back again. Features of Mid-century Modern homes are sometimes combined with International Style, Contemporary, Ranch and Stucco Box styles.

General Characteristics

• Basic Geometric shapes

• Low pitch, fl at or shed roofs with extensive overhangs

• Exposed post and beam structural system

• Floor-to-ceiling glass, clerestory windows

• Integration of interior and exterior space

Chapter 6 Architectural Styles: About
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