Aesthetic Exploration: Victorian Architecture


Victorian architecture refers not to a particular style but to an era—the reign of Queen Victoria over the United Kingdom of Great Britain from 1837 to 1901. During this long reign, architecture in Britain was dominated by many different styles. Some were evocative of the past—Gothic, Elizabethan, Jacobean, Scottish Baronial, Italianate, and Greek, to name a few however new styles were emerging such as Arts and Crafts and later Art Nouveau. The Victorian era was a period of increasing wealth, an expanding middle class, and a boom in mass production facilitated by the Industrial Revolution. Victorian-era housing was built to accommodate people from all walks of society and income levels, including everything from rows of terraced houses built for factory workers to detached houses. These larger, nicer houses by the end of the Victorian era featured modern conveniences like running hot and cold water, sanitation, and gas.


Characteristics of Victorian Architecture:

1. Ornamentation: Victorian buildings were designed to be ornamental. Interiors were decorated with extravagant, ornate furnishings, while decorative gables, eaves, and rooftop finials adorned the exteriors.

2. Colorful exteriors: Victorian homes and buildings are commonly painted in a variety of pastels, jewel tones, and earthy colors. Some feature a monochromatic color scheme while others feature several contrasting colors. Stained glass windows also provided color to both the interior and exterior of Victorian homes.

3. Complicated structures: In contrast with the simple structures of previous eras, Victorian buildings feature bay windows, steeply pitched rooflines (also known as Mansard roofs), and large, wraparound porches.


I particularly enjoy this aesthetic because it offers a lot of character to houses and creates added flair that I feel is lacking in most modern architecture. I live with my roommates in the Mapelton Hill neighborhood in Boulder where we are in a Victorian house built in 1902 which is around the same time when most other houses in the neighborhood built and they are all very unique.

Example of Mapelton Hill Victorian Architecture:



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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Great insight into the Victorian aesthetic. I find myself drawn to this aesthetic as well because it is so common on the among American history. Being a young nation, many cities west of the Applications were developed in the Victorian time period. It is wonderful to see neighborhoods of Victorian Houses restored to their former glory. The Mapleton district is a prime example. With how ordinate these houses are, how were they affordable? And why so common place? It seems that simpler houses would serve the same function, but less intricate designs in the decorations.

    • Bodhin Peterson-Smart
      February 8, 2023 8:36 pm

      Why victorian architecture was affordable at the time is something that has puzzled me a bit as well since the amount of time and energy put into these homes and buildings must have been fairly significant. You see this also walking around Old Main area with the buildings on Norlin quad. There is a level of detail and attention you don’t see in modern architecture.

  • Chin-Hsuan(Andrea) Wang
    February 5, 2023 11:29 am

    Thank you for sharing your observation to the surroundings! I often walk through the 1800 Mapleton district but never notice that the house’s aesthetic is in Victorian style. The Houses were kept in such great conditions, so that I cannot help but feel surprised about how old they are! I’m also curious about which part is your favorite design in a Victorian style house?

    • Bodhin Peterson-Smart
      February 8, 2023 8:58 pm

      I totally agree with you the houses in the Mapleton District are very well-kept and taken care of for how old they are. I think my favorite part of victorian architecture is the ornateness of the houses and little details.


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