Romanesque Revival (1840-1910)
The Romanesque Revival architectural style originated in Europe in the early 19th century. Buildings in this style are based on medieval and early Christian Romanesque cathedrals of the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
Romanesque Revival buildings in the United States are simpler than their European counterparts. Common features of the style in the United States include:
For Romanesque Revival churches, the typical plan is basilican, with a long, narrow nave, vestibule, central tower or paired side towers, and self-contained massing. Broad, smooth wall surfaces of monochromatic brick or ashlar masonry laid with thin mortar joints were favored.
New churches, schools, and public buildings were increasingly designed in an imposing variant of the Romanesque Revival style in the nineteenth century in the United States. Diplomats, theologians, educational reformers, clergymen, and rulers supported Romanesque Revival architecture in large part because of the style's many associations with the staunch faith and communal solidarity of the early Christian era.
There were two phases of Romanesque Revival in the United States. Early Romanesque Revival structures of the 1840s-1850s resembled their Gothic predecessors with accurate interpretations of early Mediaeval forms. The best-known example of early Romanesque Revival in the United States is the Smithsonian Institution in Washington built between 1846 and 1855.
A later phase, Richardsonian Romanesque, originated in the 1870s in the work of the Boston-based architect Henry Hobson Richardson who attended Harvard and L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He was inspired by Romanesque architecture in Spain and the south of France and experimented with these and a variety of other sources to create his own unique style typically characterized as massive, weighty buildings clad in polychromed and rough-hewn stone and punctuated by Syrian arches and sculpted Byzantine capitals.
The style was not used in San Francisco until the late 1880s. Although known by local architects, the style was not initially embraced due to its cost and its use of earthquake-prone masonry construction. Most early examples were designed by out-of-state architects, particularly Burnham & Root, who were early adopters of the style in their hometown of Chicago.
My Reaction to Richardsonian Romanesque Buildings
I can think of only two architectural styles which I find always and everywhere creepy - institutionsl buildings that suck light and joy from the world: Richardsonian Romanesque and Brutalism.
Consider Briarcliff Asylum, the fictional Richardsonian Romanesque building which is the setting of the television series, American Horror Story: Asylum.
Although Briarcliff is populated by psychopaths and monsters and their victims, much of the unremitting dread emanates from the building itself. In The Hollywood Reporter (12/5/2012), Cathy Whitlock examines the Briarcliff sets created by production designer Mark Worthington:
Briarcliff's gothic gloom emanates in part from Worthington's referencing of 19th century architects Frank Furness and Henry Hobson Richardson. "Victorian eclecticism [pioneered by Furness] is this weird melange of styles that were almost grotesque," says Worthington. "The buildings are built for horror. The proportions aren't quite comfortable and nice, which contributes to getting away from the cliche of just another mental hospital." Richardson's style, dubbed Richardsonian Romanesque and characterized by massive arches and rusticated stone walls, was perfected in his 1869 design for the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane.
|Name||Year||Address||City||Sort Address||Sort Name|
|Alameda City Hall||1895||Santa Clara Avenue and Oak Street||Alameda||Santa Clara||Alameda City Hall|
|Brooks Arcade||1891||260 South State Street||Salt Lake City||State 0260||Brooks Arcade|
|Calaveras County Courthouse||1867||30 North Main Street||San Andreas||Main 0030||Calaveras County Courthouse|
|Carson City Civic Auditorium||1939||813 North Carson Street||Carson City||Carson N 0813||Carson City Civic Auditorium|
|Carson City Post Office||1890||401 North Carson Street||Carson City||Carson N 0401||Carson City Post Office|
|Firehouse No. 3||1893||1215 19th Street||Sacramento||Street 19 1215||Firehouse No. 3|
|First Baptist Church||1932||1200 Truxtun Avenue||Bakersfield||Truxtun 1200||First Baptist Church|
|First National Bank of Oakdale||1909||338 East F Street||Oakdale||Street F 0338||First National Bank of Oakdale|
|First Unitarian Church||1889||1187 Franklin Street||San Francisco||Franklin 1187||First Unitarian Church|
|First Unitarian Church of Oakland||1891||685 14th Street||Oakland||Street 14 0685||First Unitarian Church of Oakland|
|First Unitarian Universalist Church||1891||160 North 3rd Street||San Jose||Street 03 N 0160||First Unitarian Universalist Church|
|Fresno Brewing Company||1907||100 M Street||Fresno||Street M 0100||Fresno Brewing Company|
|Fresno Water Tower||1894||2444 Fresno Street||Fresno||Franklin 2444||Fresno Water Tower|
|Fritsch Block||1890||158 East 200 South||Salt Lake City||Street 200||Fritsch Block|
|Geneva Office Building and Power House||1901||2301 San Jose Avenue||San Francisco||San Jose 2301||Geneva Office Building and Power House|
|Gilroy City Hall||1904||7410 Monterey Street||Gilroy||Monterey 7410||Gilroy City Hall|
|Goodman Library||1901||1219 1st Street||Napa||Street 01 1219||Goodman Library|
|Hanford Carnegie Library||1906||109 East 8th Street||Hanford||Street 08 E 0109||Hanford Carnegie Library|
|Hills Bros. Coffee Plant||1926||2 Harrison Street||San Francisco||Harrison 0002||Hills Bros. Coffee Plant|
|Jackson Brewing Company||1908||1475-1489 Folsom Street||San Francisco||Folsom 1475||Jackson Brewing Company|
|Jessie Street Substation||1909||220 Jessie Street||San Francisco||Jessie 0220||Jessie Street Substation|
|Merced County High School||1897||2125 M Street||Merced||Street M 2125||Merced County High School|
|Mills Building||1890||220 Montgomery Street||San Francisco||Montgomery 0220||Mills Building|
|Minersville (Utah) City Hall||1935||60 Main Street||Minersville||Main 0060||Minersville (Utah) City Hall|
|Molino Lodge||1859||3rd and C Streets||Tehama||Street 03||Molino Lodge|
|Notre Dame des Victoires Church||1913||564 Bush Street||San Francisco||Bush 0564||Notre Dame des Victoires Church|
|Nye County Courthouse||1905||McCulloch Street||Tonopah, Nevada||McCulloch||Nye County Courthouse|
|Old Post Office||1892||110 Market Street||San Jose||Market 0110||Old Post Office|
|Preston Castle||1890||Palm Drive||Ione||Palm||Preston Castle|
|Ruhstaller Building||1899||900 J Street||Sacramento||Street J 0900||Ruhstaller Building|
|Sacramento Memorial Auditorium||1925||16th and J Streets||Sacramento||Street 16||Sacramento Memorial Auditorium|
|Sacred Heart Church||1897||554 Fillmore Street||San Francisco||Fillmore 0554||Sacred Heart Church|
|San Francisco Chronicle Building||1890||690 Market Street||San Francisco||Market 0690||San Francisco Chronicle Building|
|San Francisco Gas Light Company||1893||3640 Buchanan Street||San Francisco||Buchanan 3640||San Francisco Gas Light Company|
|Sharon Building||1888||Golden Gate Park||San Francisco||Golden Gate||Sharon Building|
|Southern Pacific Depot||1888||559 El Camino Real||San Carlos||El Camino 0559||Southern Pacific Depot|
|Southern Pacific Depot||1925||5th and I Streets||Sacramento||Street 005||Southern Pacific Depot|
|St. Boniface Church||1902||133 Golden Gate Avenue||San Francisco||Golden Gate 0133||St. Boniface Church|
|St. Brigid Church||1902||2151 Van Ness Avenue||San Francisco||Van Ness 2151||St. Brigid Church|
|St. Joseph's Church||1913||1401 Howard Street||San Francisco||Howard 1401||St. Joseph's Church|
|St. Mark's Lutheran Church||1895||1111 O'Farrell Street||San Francisco||O'Farrell 1111||St. Mark's Lutheran Church|
|St. Mary's Parish||1906||515 Main Street||Red Bluff||Main 0515||St. Mary's Parish|
|Temple Sherith Israel||1905||2266 California Street||San Francisco||California 2266||Temple Sherith Israel|
|Tretheway Block||1892||229 East Weber Street||Stockton||Weber E 0229||Tretheway Block|
|Trinity Presbyterian Church||1892||3261 23rd Street||San Francisco||Street 023 3261||Trinity Presbyterian Church|
|Whittier Mansion||1894||2090 Jackson Street||San Francisco||Jackson 2090||Whittier Mansion|
|San Luis Obispo Carnegie Library||1905||696 Monterey Street||San Luis Obispo||Monterey 696||San Luis Obispo Carnegie Library|
|Greystone Cellars||1888||2555 Main Street||St. Helena||Main 2555||Greystone Cellars|