Italian Renaissance Revival style
The Italian Renaissance Revival style (1890-1930) developed at the very end of the Victorian period of architecture. Like the Romanesque styles and other later classically-inspired styles, the Italian Renaissance Revival style looked to Italy and the ancient world for inspiration. This style developed in direct contrast to the medieval form and appearance of other popular styles of the time: the Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, and Shingle styles.
This, and the earlier Italianate style, were both modeled on the 16th century buildings of the Italian Renaissance. However, Italian Renaissance Revival style buildings are much closer stylistically to the original form than the Italianate style. This added authenticity was due to greater familiarity with the original buildings - via photographs versus pattern books - and advances in masonry veneering techniques that developed in the early-20th century.
The most predominant feature of this style is its imposing scale and formal design incorporating classical details such as columns and round arches and balustrades. This style can take several distinct forms, but all variations are almost always of masonry (usually stone) construction.
One version of the style features a large rectangular building, usually three or more storeys in height, topped by a flat roof with a crowning balustrade. Another common feature for this flat roof version of the Italian Renaissance Revival style is a rusticated stone first floor with upper floors having a smooth finish. Porch arcades and porticos are often seen in this version as well.
The other most common form of this style features a hipped roof, often of clay tiles, with broadly overhanging, bracketed eaves. This variation bears some resemblance to the Spanish Colonial Revival style which was popular in the same period. While having a similar form and tiled roof, the Spanish Colonial Revival style lacks the classical details like columns, pilasters and pedimented windows.
The Italian Renaissance Revival style was first popularised on the East Coast by architects such as McKim, Mead & White as early as the 1880s. This elegant style is seen mostly in up-scale, architect-designed buildings, such as mansions, schools, government offices, churches and other public buildings.
The most commonly identifiable features include the following:
- Low-pitched hipped or flat roof.
- Symmetrical façade.
- Masonry construction.
- Impressive size and scale.
- Round arch entrance and windows.
- Classical details: columns, pilasters.
- Roof line parapet or balustrade.
- Arcaded and rusticated ground level.
This article was written by PHMC.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki:
- Architectural styles.
- Art Deco.
- Art Moderne.
- Arts and craft movement.
- Beaux Arts style.
- Chicago school of architecture.
- Classical orders in architecture.
- Concept architectural design.
- English architectural stylistic periods.
- Gothic revival style.
- Polite architecture.
- Spanish Colonial revival style.
- The history of fabric structures.
- Tudor revival style.
- Vernacular architecture.
 External references
- PHMC - Italian Renaissance Revival
Featured articles and news
Do you know all the various types of defects in brickwork?
US museum reveals plans for an installation made entirely of paper tubes.
Review of a book looking at how contemporary architecture found its expression within neoliberal capitalism.
The Great Mosque of Djenne, the largest mud-brick building in the world.
Amanda Clack, RICS President offers recommendations to government on Brexit and the construction skills shortage.
Tired of the commute? This architecture firm believes the best solution is to take cars underground.
Why do so many women leave engineering? Probably not for the reason you’re thinking.
For over 30 years David Trench was one of the UK's leading project managers. Read about his career through some of his most famous projects.
Leading institutes join forces calling for property flood resilience measures to help householders avoid repeat flooding.
CITB publish new report calling for the development of new skills standards for offsite construction.
Residents of neighbouring building go to High Court claiming viewing platform infringes their human rights.
If only Easter eggs came as large as this one in a Japanese bird sanctuary.