Building Identity - Styles

Walk through Peterborough and look at the buildings around you. Have you thought about how the city scape came to be? The city’s prominent architects, the meanings of their chosen architectural styles, and the availability of building materials all influenced the city’s design. This combination of factors resulted in the Peterborough we see today.

Second Empire
The Second Empire architectural style was popular between 1865 and 1880. Second Empire features high windows surrounded by elaborate mouldings and flat mansard roofs. Building elements were often highly embellished with iron castings.  Examples of Second Empire buildings in Peterborough include Cox Terrace, Morrow Building, and Verulam building.

Romanesque Revival
The Romanesque Revival style became popular when Western access to Greece and Rome opened in the mid-19th century. Romanesque Revival buildings have more simplified arches and windows than their historical inspirations. However, the style includes lots of ornamentation and a sense of grandeur. An example of Romanesque Revival architecture in Peterborough is the Peterborough Drill Hall and Armoury.

Gothic Revival
Gothic Revival features scalloping, decorative patterns, lancet windows, and hood mouldings. Throughout the 19th century, Gothic Revival appeared in Canada for civic buildings and expensive residences, but it was more commonly used in churches. Peterborough examples include St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church and St. Peter-in-Chains Cathedral. The style continued to be popular until the early 1900s.

Georgian Revival
Georgian Revival was a popular style for residential dwellings in Peterborough. This style is known for simplicity, symmetry, and solidity. It often has balanced facades, subtle ornamentation and minimal detailing. Homes in the Georgian Revival style are designed to be dignified and pleasing to the eye.

City Beautiful
Do you feel proud when you look around your city? The City Beautiful movement from the turn of the 20th century brought grandeur and style to cities, as well as a sense of patriotism and civic pride. Advocates believed the style would improve quality of life and promote social order.  City Hall and Carnegie Library are well-known examples of the City Beautiful style in Peterborough.

Edwardian Classicism
Edwardian Classicism was a popular residential style in Peterborough in the early 20th century. It is a simple, balanced, and classical style. Residential dwellings tend to have gabled roofs and elegant detailing. Porticos or verandas at entrances are also common. Edwardian Classicism is found in Peterborough’s historic Avenues neighbourhood.

This is not a drill! Construction and Architecture Tools:

Have you ever dreamed of becoming an architect or working in construction? Look at the photographs of architectural tools from the PMA’s collection - they are all used to make visions of buildings come to life. You might be familiar with some of them. Construction techniques use measuring tapes, hammers, and levers to make buildings exist.

Many architectural styles require detailed work. Trowels level, smooth, and shape building materials such as cement, concrete, and mortar.  Designs such as grooves, cuts, and carvings can be added later using a chisel.

Drafting kits hold tools used to make technical drawings.  Architects used these tools to draw floor plans, elevations, and façades in their designs.  Computers have taken over these traditional tools.  Architects today use Computer-Aided Drafting and Design instead of hand drawing.

If you were an architect, what would you design? What tools would you use?

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