The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



American Architecture: Touring Regional Styles in the US

 May 15, 2023 |  Home Decor, Just For Fun |  new homeowner, real estate, entertaining

The United States has a rich history of architecture that draws influence from many different parts of the globe. Throughout its history, regional climates and cultures have heavily influenced the ways that their iconic cities grew and the unique look of their homes. Although recent trends toward a common, international look have reduced regional influences, a legacy of architectural taste still has considerable impact in the US.

Per an article by design specialists at Dwell, architect Marlon Blackwell describes the current context as “...a shared language, that’s almost global, based in the International Style or Modernist language…Where it becomes geographically and culturally specific, then that’s where it becomes altered.”

Although many American cities will see a variety of architectural styles in their neighborhoods today with only small variations that pull from regional factors, these styles cut their teeth on the shores of New England, in the wide open midwestern plains, and in the sandy Southwest. Today, let’s take a brief tour of some of the United States’ favorite architectural styles.

The Northeast - Cape Cod
Some of the US’s most iconic homes were built by pioneers in the Northeast, with their styles slowly adapted and updated over time. Unsurprisingly, there are a number of iconic architectural styles that are closely associated with the New England area. With that said, one of the most popular styles that is evocative of this region is the Cape Cod home.

Tracing their lineage back to English cottage-style homes, Cape Cod homes were named after the Massachusetts region of the same name. Most classically identified by fairly basic, boxy design and steep roofs, these homes utilized a large central chimney and fireplace to combat the punishing New England winters. The modern Cape Cod home will commonly have its chimney relocated to either end of the home, but its traditional minimal exterior ornamentation and emphasis on symmetry still rings true.

The Midwest - Prairie Style
In an effort to invent a truly “American” architectural style, the acclaimed home designer Frank Lloyd Wright developed the Prairie Style as a subset of the American Craftsman style. Springing first out of Chicago, Prairie Style highlights craftsmanship, natural elements, and simplicity (partly in response to the “overly busy” Victorian-style homes which were popular at the time).

Taking advantage of unused space in the Midwest, Prairie-style homes were built horizontally rather than vertically and they incorporated generous porch space as well as extended eave overhangs. Inside, these homes love open floor plans, which encourage family interaction and promote social gatherings. An iconic fixture throughout the Midwest and in California today, Prairie-style homes continue to influence modern architectural styles through their adoption of natural lighting and horizontal lines.

The Southwest - Adobe
Also known as Pueblo-style, Adobe houses draw from the styles of traditional homes constructed by the natives of Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Utah, and Southern Colorado. Flat roofs and thick walls crafted from adobe bricks create an iconic looking home that thrives in warmer climates due to the ability to absorb heat during the day and gradually release that heat through the night.

Contemporary Adobe-style homes don’t make use of the original materials that gave them their iconic look. Today, imitative materials and contemporary influences like slanted roofs have been incorporated into the Pueblo Revival style, though overall earthy shades on the exterior retain that unmistakable overall look.

The West Coast - Mediterranean Revival
As with many cities and regions throughout the United States, the West Coast has embraced many different architectural styles over the years, with some gaining popularity for a period before fading away somewhat. Today, home buyers are likely to find an eclectic array of choices in Californian cities, but one style of home that’s carved out a unique footprint in the West Coast market is the Mediterranean Revival.

Tile roofs and plain, often “white” stucco walls help identify this style which draws heavily from Spanish architecture. These homes sometimes also are designed with an interior courtyard in mind, which lends itself well to modern trends that have encouraged a return to nature. Fountains and greenery are great features that can pull a Mediterranean concept together.

This list is by no means exhaustive - what’s your favorite architectural style? If you are in the market for a new house, don’t forget to schedule a professional home inspection with NPI to get the full picture! Home maintenance issues should never come as a surprise. Call NPI before you buy!

Comments are closed.





Downsizing Tips for Seniors Downsizing Tips for Seniors: How to Make the Process Easier Read Living in a smaller home means less to take care of, smaller utility bills and mortgage payments, and the opportunity to stay safe and healthy in order to age in place. Here are a few tips to make the process easier.
Home Maintenance, Safety
imagealt Building Permits: Why You Need One and How to Get It Read While it’s true that building permits can be a pain, they actually serve a very important role that makes the process worthwhile. We’ll explain why building permits are a thing, why you need one and how to get one.
How to Remove Wallpaper Removing Wallpaper
Made Easy
Wallpaper is notoriously difficult to remove (picture hours and hours of steaming, scraping, peeling, etc.). Life’s too short, and you’ve got better things to do. Here's what you need to get the job done fast.
Home Maintenance, Home Decor