Video:Characteristics of a Beaux Arts Homewith Eric Wheeler
Beaux Arts architecture was popular in America at the turn of the 20th century. Most common in public buildings, it has a distinctive, grandiose style. Here's an About.com video on how to identify Beaux Arts homes in your city.See Transcript
Transcript:Characteristics of a Beaux Arts Home
Hello, my name is Eric Wheeler, I'm an architectural historian in Portland, Oregon with About.com. Today, we're going to be talking about Beaux Arts architecture, a style that was very popular in America from about 1890 to 1920.
Origins of Beaux Arts Architecture
It's a style of architecture that's connected to the deepest roots of our Western civilization, echoing the Greco-Roman traditions in architecture. Beaux Arts is a French word. It means "fine arts." So we're standing in front of the first Church of Christ Scientist, known as the Christian Science Church, it's the first one in Portland, and it's a magnificent example of Beaux Arts architecture. You see the columns in front, you see the decorative elements items on the exterior, so it's probably one of the finest pure examples of Beaux Arts style architecture in city of Portland. The high style Beaux Arts most often represented in public buildings, in churches, fraternal buildings and so forth. Beaux Arts actually is a subset of Classical Revival.
Identifying Beaux Arts Homes
The key thing, if you're walking around your neighborhood, and you're in a city you haven't been in and you're downtown, and you see columns, and particularly, if you see columns supporting this big triangle, that's Neo-Classical, and again, Beaux Arts is a subset of that Neo-Classical condition. You will see homes with columns in front, with the pediments, with all kinds of classical detailing on your house that somehow connects you to this kind of grandiose tradition, that Greco-Roman high style, Western civilization tradition.
Thanks for watching, and if you'd like more information on architecture, stay with us here on About.com.
For more examples of the style, see our article: What Is Beaux Arts Architecture?