Built from 1880-1900 Richardsonian Romanesque is a rare type of architecture that is easily identified by rounded, sometimes massive arches that appear over windows, doors, and porch supports. Masonry walls and asymmetrical facades are typical and most houses have towers.
They were popularized by a Louisiana-born and Harvard-educated architect named Henry Hobson Richardson. Richardson studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris before setting up shop in Boston.
His designs were popular with large scale public buildings. Richardson died at the age of 48 after only completing a few private homes in his signature style but a monograph published after his death inspired a revival of the form and lengthened it’s tour of duty.
These images were captured near Dupont Circle in Washington DC where a number of privately owned Richardsonians can still be found. Note the brass marker near the lower right of the frame that designates the property as part of the National Trust. Homeowners with this marking receive tax credits in exchange for agreeing not to alter the facades of the buildings. The area around Dupont is a historic district within the District.
Since the homes were made from masonry they were always more expensive to build than a comparable Stick style. Because of that, many buildings of this style were designed, financed and constructed as landmark buildings. Scattered examples of the type occur across the country but most are concentrated in the cities of the northeast. Above is another rendition done in red brick which also bears the mark of the National Trust.
The plan above dates from 1886 and depicts a three unit apartment building. Presented as a "block of brick dwellings of moderate cost," and drawn by W.Claude Frederic an architect in Baltimore, Maryland they are essentially one bedroom apartments with no kitchens. They do offer amenities that include domed ceilings, a conservatory, and a tiled reception hall. Nice!
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