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Beaux Arts architecture

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Beaux Arts was a grand and elaborate style of architecture taught at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris.

The school was established in the Napoleonic era to perpetuate artistic principles that would dominate French architecture for over 250 years (~1650-1920). Beaux Arts emphasized Greek and Roman structures. Identifying features include wall surfaces with decorative garlands, floral patterns, or shields; facade with quoins, pilasters, or columns (usually paired and with Ionic or Corinthian capitals); walls of masonry (usually smooth, light-colored stone); first-story typically rusticated (exaggerated stonework joints); and a symmetrical facade. Roof-line balustrades and balustraded window balconies are common. Classical quoins, pilasters and columns are almost universal.


17th century

The Ecole was established to monitor painting, sculpture and architecture.


East facade of the Louvre.


RIchard Morris Hunt is first American to attend the Ecole. Later Americans include Louis Sullivan, H H Richardson, John Stewardson, Bernard Maybeck, Addison Mizner, Julia Morgan, John Mervin Carrére and Thomas Hastings.


Paris Opera (1861-74).


Memorial Hall (1875-6, Hermann J Schwarzmann) at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia

Late 19th century

By the end of the 19th century, Beaux Arts had declined in popularity.


Carrére and Hastings designed Whitehall in Palm Beach, Florida.


New York's Grand Central Terminal (1903-13, Reed and Stem; Warren and Westmore).


A C Bliss House in Washington DC


F W Striebinger's Tremaine-Gallagher House