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: