5 Defining North American Architecture Trends



Originating in England, but spreading shortly thereafter to North America and Australia, Victorian architecture refers to a prominent style during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 1800s. The architectural style features decorative gables, eaves, and rooftop finials, pastel paint colors, and ornate interior furnishings. Victorian homes are common in several North American cities, including Toronto and San Francisco. 


Art Deco


First rising to popularity in the United States and Western Europe, Art Deco is characterized by sleek forms, geometric patterns, and sharp angles. Sunrise and sunburst motifs are common. This trend was a direct response to the ornamental Art Nouveau trends at the turn of the 20th century. Miami Beach, Florida has an “Art Deco village” with more than 800 structures, including residential, in this style. Other famous Art Deco buildings include the University of Montreal in Quebec, the Chrysler Building in New York City and the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. 


Arts and Crafts Movement


Producing homes which appealed to the average working class family, the Arts and Crafts movement was a simplified response to ornate Victorian architecture.This era birthed Craftsman and Bungalow-style homes, which feature low pitched roofs, exposed beams, built-ins, and fireplaces. These homes are widely popular across the North America suburbs. Though Arts and Crafts as an artistic style began to decline after World War I, the architectural style remained prominent for homebuilders due to the economical design and appeal to the middle class.




The original Tudor style originated in England in the late 15th Century. Spreading to North America in the 20th century, Tudor Revivals were inspired by the cottages built 400 to 500 years earlier. Defining characteristics include steeply pitched roofs and multiple gables, half timbered façades, brick chimneys, and asymmetrical floor plans. The “mock tudors” can be found in suburbs with homes built between 1890 and 1940, and are more common in neighborhoods featuring late Medieval and early Renaissance styles.


Cape Cod


Cape Cod homes date back to Puritan colonists in the 17th century, and were first designed in Northeastern American and Atlantic Canadian regions. These cottage style structures feature minimal ornamentation, gabled roofs with moderate steepness, symmetrical façades, and a large central chimneys. A revival of Colonial Cape Cod houses took place between 1930 and 1950 due to the popularity of this colonial style. Cape Cod homes are found along the eastern seaboard of North America, and are particularly popular in areas such as Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Prince Edward Island.


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