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Edwardian Architecture – The Grand Style of Revival Architecture

As the name implies, Edwardian Architecture(1901-1914) is an architectural style that was popular during the reign of King Edward. It is less ornate than Victorian Architecture, apart from a subset – used for major buildings – known as Edwardian Baroque architecture.

The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 marked the end of Victorian Era. Her son and successor Edward VII continued to rule the kingdom. The Edwardian Era was the last period of British history to be named after the reigning monarch.

The themes of design in Edwardian period was a sequence of alternations that determined what the best buildings looked alike!

Characteristics of Edwardian Architecture

  • Less ornamental than Victorian Architecture
  • Extensive rustication(usually more at ground floor) running into voussoirs of arched openings
  • Redbrick work exteriors
  • Porches with wooden frames
  • Domed corner rooftop pavilions
  • central taller tower-like element creating a lively rooftop silhouette
  • Exaggerated keystones
  • Segmental arched Pavilions
  • Columns with engaged blocks
  • Simple internal decorative features
  • Use of lighter colors
  • Less complex decorative patterns
  • Ornaments were grouped

Examples of Edwardian Architecture

1. Cape Town City Hall

Image source: flickr.com
  • Building: Cape Town City Hall
  • Function/Use: Previously a City Hall, Present – venue for cultural events
  • Location: Grand Parade, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Date of construction: 1900, Renovated in 2018
  • Architect: Messrs Henry Austin Reid, Frederick George Green
  • Historical Influence : Baroque Architecture, Victorian Architecture
  • Key Features: Turret clock
  • Materials Used: honey-coloured oolitic limestone
  • Structure:  When it was constructed, it served as a city hall, watchhouse, and senate. The hall’s main chamber boasts an organ with 3000 pipes and regularly hosts musical concerts by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and other intriguing events. It is a two-story structure built of honey-colored oolithic limestone.
  • Façade: The building that features Corinthian columns, arches, an impressive clock tower, and sculptural triangular pediments stands with its majestic grandeur and is one of the monumental buildings of Edwardian architecture. The tower of the city hall has a Turret clock which strikes the hours and makes melodious ringing sounds.

2. Admiralty Arch

Image source: en.wikipedia.org
  • Building: Admiralty Arch
  • Function/Use: Triumphal arch, Government Building. In the past, it served as a residence, later as government offices until 2011. In 2012, the government proposed for redevelopment into a hotel and apartments.
  • Location: The Mall, London
  • Date of construction: 1912
  • Architect: Aston Webb
  • Historical Influence : Neoclassical Architecture
  • Key Features: Landmark Building
  • Structure: Admiralty arch adjoins the old Admiralty building, hence the name. The structure combines the features of triumphal arch with government buildings. It is typically asymmetrical – the right wing is one floor more than of the left wing.

3. 53 King Street

Image source: en.wikipedia.org
  • Building: 53 King Street
  • Function/Use: Lloyds Bank
  • Location: 53 King Street, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Date of construction: 1915
  • Architect: Charles Heathcote
  • Historical Influence : Baroque Architecture, Neoclassical Architecture
  • Key Features: Chamfered corner building
  • Materials Used: Portland stone, Granite plinth
  • Structure: The structure is built on an L-shaped site with seven bays on King Street and eight bays facing Cross Street and between them chamfered corner. It has a basement, four stories and a double attic.
  • Façade: The baroque Portland stone building features carvings and statuary by Earp, Hobbs and Miller.

4. Ashton Memorial

Edwardian Architecture
Image source: baldhiker.com
  • BuildingAshton Memorial
  • Function/Use: folly, Memorial
  • Location: Williamson Park, Lancaster, England
  • Date of construction: 1907-1909
  • Architect: John Belcher
  • Historical Influence : Neoclassical architecture
  • Key Features: dominates the Lancaster skyline, dome
  • Materials Used: Portland stone, granite, copper
  • Structure: The building has been described as “England’s grandest folly” and the “Taj Mahal of the North.” Portland stone is used for its construction, while the exterior of the dome is from copper and the steps from granite. The external stonework is hung on a steel frame similar to modern buildings. At around 150 feet (50 m) tall, it dominates the Lancaster skyline and is visible for many miles around.
  • Façade: The façade features sculptures representing “Commerce”, “Science”, “Industry” and “Art” by Herbert Hampton, around the dome.

5. Government Offices Great George Street

Edwardian Architecture
Image source: flickr.com
  • Building: Government Offices Great George Street
  • Function/Use: UK Government office
  • Location: Westminster, London
  • Date of construction: 1908 – 1917
  • Architect: J. M. Brydon
  • Historical Influence : Neoclassical architecture, Victorian Architecture
  • Key Features: rustication at ground floor running into voussoirs of arched openings
  • Materials Used: Portland stone
  • Structure: The construction took place in two phases – the East end was completed in 1908 and the West end in 1917. There was a major refurbishment of the building in 2002. The building occupies the entire block bounded by Parliament Street, Great George Street, Horse Guards Road and King Charles Street and forms the northern boundary of Parliament Square.

6. General Post Office, Hobart

Edwardian Architecture
Image source: en.wikipedia.org
  • Building:  General Post Office, Hobart
  • Function/Use: Postal system
  • Location: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • Date of construction: 1901-1905
  • Architect: Alan Cameron Walker
  • Historical Influence : Neoclassical Architecture
  • Key Features: Central clock tower, Landmark building
  • Materials Used: Sandstone, brick, slate ashlar
  • Structure: The structure is asymmetrical with a central tower and two wings flanking the tower in L shape (Macquarie and Elizabeth Streets). The central tower was named after the Queen Victoria in 1906 that has traditional Westminster chimes. It is a two story building with four story tower and five bay arcade entry.
  • Façade: The ashlar façade along with rustications between the openings not only provides horizontal emphasis but also a typical example of Edwardian (classical) architecture.

7. Terraced Houses in Australia

Historic terrace houses in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, NSW, Australia. Image source: design-talking.com
  • Building: Terraced Houses in Australia, It refers to large numbers of terraced houses in Australia
  • Function/Use: Residential houses
  • Location: Paddington, NSW, Sydney, Australia
  • Date of construction: 1850 – 1901
  • Historical Influence : Architecture of London and Paris
  • Key Features: Terraced houses
  • Materials Used: Brick, stucco, cast iron
  • Housing: The terraced housing in Australia ranged from expensive middle class( three, four, and five story’s) to single story cottages in working class suburbs. They were built uniformly in a row of property line with buildings that share a common wall and have identical fronts for each exterior. Brick covered with stucco, and cast iron ornamental work in balconies were the most commonly used building materials. Many terraces were built in the “Filigree” style – heavy use of cast-iron ornamentation in balconies and verandah’s.

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