Picturesque Movement: Gothic Revival & Italianette
In the 1840s and 1850s, a reaction began against the earlier architectural styles, like the Greek Revival, which had looked back to Classical models. Instead, a new type of house design, referred to as Picturesque or Romantic, took hold. Emphasizing irregularity in their floor plans and a variety of decorative motifs derived from medieval sources, these kinds of houses would predominate to the end of the nineteenth century. The first two Picturesque styles to appear were the Gothic Revival and Italianate.
As America transitioned into the latter half of the nineteenth century, Gothic architecture grew in popularity. The spirituality of Gothic design was quickly adopted as a counteraction to industrialization. Instead of the classical forms of the previous decades, Gothic Revivalism brought an organic nature back into American architecture. Instead of Greek and Roman columns, lintels, pediments, and round arches, Gothic Revivalism radiated romanticism and naturalism through slender, clustered columns, steeply pitched roofs with interior vaulting, stepped buttresses, and pointed arches. The Gothic Revival resurrected the sacredness of the past through the use of decoration and organic geometric forms. Churches in particular adopted Gothic architecture as their new style. They used Gothic architecture as a symbolic message of expressive piety similar to European cathedrals. During the middle ages in Europe, Gothic cathedrals were enormous and overpowering, dwarfing individuals in the architecture to impress upon him the power of God. To American churches, the medieval, Gothic style was purposeful and fitting to the principles and functions of the church. Moving into the last quarter of the nineteenth century, American churches wanted to engage in an age of faith, not empiricism. . Established in Ann Arbor in 1827, Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church exudes these aspects...