Neoclassical Architectural Style – Meaning, Characteristics, & Types

Architectural Styles, Blog

The Neoclassical architectural style, also referred to as the Classical Revival style, is an architectural style that emerged during the Neoclassical movement. This movement began in the mid-18th century in Italy and France as a reaction to Rococo and Baroque architectural styles.

The Rococo and Baroque architectural styles were believed to be too focused on elaborate details, excessive ornamentations, and decoration. The emergence of neoclassical architecture was a response to going back to simple and classical forms of the Greek and Roman architectural era.

Want to learn more about Neoclassical architecture? Read this article to see the characteristics and types of this architectural style, as well as other notable information on it.

What Is Neoclassical Architecture?

Neoclassical architecture refers to a particular style of building construction that marks the neoclassical movement. This style manifested as a reaction against the Rococo and Baroque architectural styles that many believed were too excessive.

The prevailing style of the neoclassical movement aimed to strip away the excesses and usher in purer and more authentic classical styles. Hence, it is often referred to as the Classical Revival style and is defined by symmetry, simple geometrical design, & minimum ornamentation.

What are the characteristics of the neoclassical architectural style?

The following are some defining characteristics or key elements of the neoclassic architectural style.

  • Simple geometrical forms
  • Dramatic columns
  • Symmetrical floor plans
  • Uncluttered appearance with little ornamentation
  • Doric Greek or Roman detailing
  • Flat or domed roofs
  • Particos
  • Variety of window styles
  • Blank walls

What are the types of neoclassical architecture?

The neoclassical architecture is broken down into three sub-categories. They are palladian, temple, and classic block. Let’s break it down further.

1. Palladian

Palladian-architectural buildings were influenced greatly by Andrea Palladio, an Italian Renaissance architect. These buildings feature central patios supported by a row of columns and a central rectangular window. The White House and the United States Capitol are examples of neoclassical (palladian) style.

2. Temple

The Temple architectural style draws inspiration from the temples in ancient Greece and Rome. Temple-style buildings feature continuous rows of columns around their perimeters and simple gabled roofs. The Paris’ Panthéon Is a famous example of this architectural style.

3. Classic or classical block

Lastly, we have the Classical block buildings that feature square or rectangular floor plans, a flat roof, and exterior columns, creating a classical decorative blocklike appearance. The Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève and the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris are the most famous examples of this architectural style.


What are examples of neoclassical architecture in the United States?

The US Supreme Court Building, the White House, and the US Capitol building are some examples of neoclassical architecture in the United States.

The neoclassical architecture is also referred to as what?

Neoclassical architecture is also referred to as Classical revival architecture.

What materials are used in neoclassical architecture?

A variety of materials (individually or together) can be used to create a neoclassical building, e.g., brick, stone blocks, and marble.

What are the principles of neoclassical design?

Straight lines, symmetry, pale color palette, luxurious materials, and classical details (such as sculptures, paneling, or decorative architectural moldings).

In conclusion

To sum it up, the neoclassical architectural style blends old and new features in order to give a unique, timeless, and calming aesthetic. It originated as a plot to reduce the excessive and elaborate design features that were dominant during the era. The emergence, however, became widespread in the United States and many European countries.

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