top of page
  • mh0016

What is Shingle Style Architecture

 What is Shingle Style Architecture

Shingle Style homes marked a significant change in American architectural styles, whether sided in shingle, stone, or clapboard. In 1876 the United States was celebrating 100 years of freedom and modern American architecture. While Chicago was constructing the first skyscrapers, East Coast architects were turning old designs into modern shapes. Shingle's architecture broke away from extravagant, decorative designs prevalent in the Victorian period. The style, intentionally rustic, indicated a more relaxed, informal living style.


Unlike the other Victorian-era designs, in favor of complex forms wrapped in cedar shingles, Shingle Style de-emphasized applied decoration and detailing. With the shingles linking the different types together, the few decorative details seemed to intensify the irregularity of the building.


Roofs and walls were covered with shingles that could be stained, painted, or allowed to weather naturally, depending on the weather and place. Sometimes, shingles on the roof will have a different color than shingles on the wall. There were rough-hewn stone foundations and also stone porch columns and stone walls for the first floor.


Complex roof shapes have been popular. There were hipped roofs in a small percentage of Shingle Style homes, usually handled as a wide form punctured by smaller roof forms. While paired or symmetrically arranged cross gables were not unheard of, gables were typically arranged asymmetrically. A side-gabled roof with a tower built in the front was less than a quarter of the Shingle Style buildings. Gables were often positioned to overlap each other for houses with a T or L plan, or the larger gable was crossed with several smaller roof types. The gambrel roof form, used in almost a quarter of Shingle Style homes, allowed the steeper roof shape to incorporate a complete second floor while giving the appearance of only one floor. To add visual complexity to the roof, dormers were often used. The most common dorm was the gable, although dormers with hip roofs, shed roofs, eyebrow windows, polygonal forms, and curved tops can be found by the careful observer.


Approximately one-third of Shingle Style's homes had towers, with tower roofs sometimes incorporated into the main volume of the house to form a continuous roof. Instead of a tower, a part of the wall was often curved out, forming a bulge to provide more interior space and additional visual complexity on the outside.


There were various windows in Shingle Style buildings, some of them with ample proportions, some very small. The standard double-hung window was normally arranged with a sash on the bottom and a sash above. For wide wall areas, windows were set in rows of 2, 3, or even more. Palladian windows, as prominent as they are today, were a traditional eclectic ingredient. Wide windows were placed in bays of 1, 2, or 3 stories for the more complex designs. Often used were transoms or decorative windows in circular, square, or rectangular forms.


There were porches in most Shingle Style houses, perhaps because individuals actually had the opportunity to relax on them. Porch supports, with basic straight balusters used for railings, were mostly plain. Classical columns, shingle-clad columns, or stone props were other support choices. Almost all porch designs were related to the adjacent wall or trim material in some way.

If you’re interested in shingle style homes and wish to construct one, then contact an experienced Architecture Company in CT

52 views0 comments


bottom of page