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Arts and Crafts Style Architecture – Embracing Craftsmanship

The Arts and crafts Movement (1870-1910) is a reaction against machines. It originated in England in the mid-19th century. The artisans and craftsmen went against machine aesthetics. Arts and Crafts Style Architecture was a celebration of art forms and individual craftsmanship.

One of the main principles of Arts and Crafts Style Architecture was to create an architectural style that expressed the hand of the craftsman who created it. They have used mostly hand-crafted elements and their inspiration was from the earlier styles of architecture such as Baroque, Rococo, Classical as well as traditional craftsmanship. It is an individual expression by both artists and workers.

One of the pioneer architects who led the Arts and Crafts Movement both spiritually and intellectually was designer William Morris. He believes that the nature of the material and the method of production are two important aspects; where the craftsman has to deal according to the nature of the material and the method of production will express their own individuality and expression through the material. A unique piece of product can be formed (combining artisans and materials), which cannot be mass produced (by machine).

It focuses on the social structure and economic livelihood of artisans around an art form. The movement was to provide affordable, beautiful, hand-crafted, natural, light-filled home interiors that only add to the aesthetics but also delight and nurture society.

Inspired by nature, the Arts and Crafts Style architecture uses a lot of figurative depictions and quality materials noted for handmade as well as expressing a folk style of visual expression.

Features of Arts and Crafts Style Architecture

  • Vernacular references
  • Simple forms
  • The emphasis of horizontal lines
  • Picturesque sensibility
  • Use of Natural and local materials
  • Indigenous materials and crafts
  • Exposed wood beam interiors
  • Displays the hand of the craftsman
  • Biomorphic design (Nature inspired forms and shapes)
  • Connection with nature
  • Asymmetrical designs
  • Chimneys as a dominant exterior feature
  • Handcrafted details
  • Stained glass
  • Low pitched roofs and Porches

Examples of Arts and Crafts Style Architecture

1. Red House

Arts and Crafts Style Architecture
Image source: tumblrgallery.xyz
  • Building: Red House
  • Function/Use: Residence/Villa
  • Location: Bexleyheath
  • Date of construction: 1859-60
  • Architect: Philip Webb
  • Historical Influence: Queen Anne style
  • Key Features: Sloped roofs, towering chimneys, arches
  • Materials Used: Brick
  • Structure: The Red House exhibiting vernacular appeal is an arts and crafts home of the artist (and poet) William Morris and his family. It focuses on the advancement of the work of individual craftsmen that was necessary during medieval times. Built-in Red brick, the home gets its name from the material color.
  • Façade: The home has steeply pitched roofs with chimneys projecting the roof that breaks the monotony. Windows are placed according to the function of the room, thus giving the exterior an irregular and asymmetrical form. The conical roof continued to be a part of many houses in the arts and crafts style architecture.

2. Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

Image source: flwright.org
  • BuildingFrank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
  • Function/Use: House and design studio
  • Location: Oak Park, Illinois, US
  • Date of construction: 1889
  • Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Historical Influence: Shingle style
  • Key Features: façade, sculptures
  • Materials Used: Brick and shingles
  • Universal Value: National Register of Historic Places, National Historic Landmark
  • Structure: The original building was designed as a shingle-style home with a large gabled façade. Later Wright added and expanded this home experimenting with his ideas for domestic architecture. The brick and shingle structure comprises a large two-story drafting room, octagonal-shaped library, reception, hall with office, kitchen, nursery as well as other rooms.
  • Façade: The façade was built against the Victorian style. Wright pointedly configured the house’s windows to block views of neighboring Victorian homes.
  • Interiors: The interior spaces were decorated with native plants and other inspirational elements from classical sculptures to Japanese prints.

3. Stotfold House, Bromley

Image source: wikipedia.org
  • Building: Stotfold House
  • Function/Use: House/Residence
  • Location: Bromley, London, England
  • Date of construction: 1907
  • Architect: Thomas Phillips Figgis
  • Historical Influence: Victorian Architecture
  • Key Features: Pitched roofs, chimneys,
  • Materials Used: Brick, wood
  • Structure: Statfold house is a fine example of Arts and Crafts style architecture with unusual form and irregular massing.
  • Façade: The home connects with the exterior gardens and landscape. Extended patios on both sides and also large areas of glasswork accentuate the connection with nature.

4. Robert R. Blacker House

Arts and Crafts Style Architecture
Image source: flickr.com
  • Building: Robert R. Blacker House
  • Function/Use: Residence/House
  • Location: Pasadena, California, U.S
  • Date of construction: 1907
  • Architect: Greene and Greene
  • Historical Influence: Classical styles
  • Key Features: Broad overhangs, rafters
  • Materials Used: Redwood, Douglas Fir, leaded glass
  • Universal Value: National Register of Historic Places
  • Structure: Robert R. Blacker House can be considered as one of the finest examples of craftsman’s style houses ever designed by Greene and Greene architects. Everything in the house was custom-designed by the architects even to the finest and small detail.
  • Façade: The exterior is made with old-growth redwood and Douglas fir, leaded doors and windows, transom panels, tail rafters that are cantilevered beyond the roof line, shingles, and other craftsman-designed interior design elements. The broad overhangs and rafters add a distinct visual entity as well as provide horizontal emphasis.

5. Horniman Museum

Arts and Crafts Style Architecture
  • Building: Horniman Museum
  • Function/Use: Museum
  • Location: Forest hill, London, England
  • Date of construction: 1898-1901
  • Architect: Charles Harrison Townsend
  • Historical Influence: Victorian, Greek, and Roman Architecture
  • Key Features: Clock tower and Greco-Roman mural
  • Materials Used: Granular limestone
  • Structure: The museum is constructed using Doulting stone – a granular limestone. It features a large ornate tower and a house.
  • Façade: The façade of the house has a Greco-Roman mural embedded in the front, rounded gable. The house and the tower have soft round stone corners that imbibe organic and natural aesthetic architecture.

6. Goddards House and Garden

Image source: nationaltrust.org.uk
  • Building: Goddards House and Garden
  • Function/Use: House
  • Location: Dringhouses, York, England,
  • Date of construction: 1927
  • Architect: Walter Brierley
  • Historical Influence: Classical styles of architecture
  • Key Features: chimneys, bricks arranged in geometrical patterns
  • Materials Used: handmade locally produced bricks, Stone
  • Structure: The structure is made of handmade locally produced bricks that are arranged in geometrical patterns on the gable fronts. It also includes a four-acre garden designed in arts and crafts style architecture.
  • Façade: The brick patterns in the façade create a distinctive visual interest and the chimney stacks on the roof were a favorite design feature of the arts and crafts style.

7. Stoneywell

Image source: tripadvisor.in
  • Building: Stoneywell
  • Function/Use: House/Residence
  • Location: Ulverscroft, England
  • Date of construction: 1898-99
  • Architect: Ernest Gimson
  • Historical Influence: Classical styles of architecture
  • Key Features: Connects with the natural landscape
  • Materials Used: Local stone, timber, slates
  • Structure: This home embraces the vernacular aesthetic important to the Arts and Crafts Style architecture. The house is built on a slope where the entrance is approached from above and the visitor has to walk around the house to enter it. It is constructed using locally available stones and uses exposed bedrock as a natural foundation.
  • Façade: The Stoneywell house creates an impression as it connects with the organic part of the landscape and its rural surroundings. The roof is of slates where the massive chimney stack buttresses the south wall.

8. The Orchard, Chorleywood

Image source: flickr.com
  • Building: The Orchard
  • Function/Use: Residence
  • Location: Chorleywood, near London, England
  • Date of construction: 1899-1900
  • Architect: Charles Francis Annesley Voysey
  • Historical Influence: Late Medieval Vernacular Architecture
  • Key Features: steep roofs, abstracted wall planes
  • Materials Used: Ashlar stone
  • Structure: The structure – built of Ashlar stone, masonry dressed around doors and windows, with broad surfaces between openings covered with rough stucco painted white was inspired by late Medieval Vernacular architecture.
  • Façade: A traditional design rendered with abstract clarity and highlighted by crisp, white stuccoed wall surfaces that accentuated the façade design and extreme care in craftsmanship were the ideologies of English architect Charles Francis Annesley Voysey.

9. Oregon Public Library

Image source: en.wikipedia.org
  • Building: Oregon Public Library
  • Function/Use: Public library
  • Location: Oregon, Illinois, United States
  • Date of construction: 1909
  • Architect: Pond and Pond architects
  • Historical Influence: Classical Revival
  • Key Features: Simple massing
  • Materials Used: buff-colored brick
  • Universal Value: U.S. National Register of Historic Places, U.S. Historic district Contributing property
  • Structure: The two-story Oregon Public Library is constructed with buff-colored brick and is designed asymmetrical as well as known for its playfully creative style. Its simple massing and noticeable lack of ornamentation throughout the structure connect the building closest to the Arts and Crafts movement.
  • Façade: Red-brick belt coursing and accents contrast the buff-colored brick on the majority of the façade. The entire entry façade is a gable-front, temple-style design and on the library’s east wing there are stone-capped modified buttresses. Its rooflines, main entrance, and the placement and style of the windows are all asymmetrical in nature, a hallmark of the Arts and Crafts style of Architecture.

10. Wightwick Manor

Image source: tripadvisor.com
  • Building: Wightwick Manor
  • Function/Use: House
  • Location: Wightwick Bank
  • Date of construction: 1887-1893
  • Architect: Edward Ould
  • Historical Influence: Victorian Architecture
  • Key Features: Timber frames, sloped roofs
  • Materials Used: Timber, stone, red brick
  • Structure: The design of the Wightwick Manor house combines timber frames, patterned shingles, red brick, and roof in an appealing manner. The elaborate pendant imitation Jacobean plaster ceiling was designed by Leonard Shuffrey. Notes taken by Theodore Mander at a lecture given in Wolverhampton in 1884 by Oscar Wilde on the ‘House Beautiful’ inspired Wight wick’s interiors. Taking inspiration from this lecture, Theodore and his wife Flora decorated its interiors with the designs of William Morris and his Arts and Crafts contemporaries. 

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