How to Recognize French Architecture in America

Five Methods:Considering the RegionIdentifying Creole CottagesIdentifying Briquette-entre-poteauxIdentifying ColombageIdentifying French-Inspired House Styles

French architecture is not a single patent but a set of phases and times that make up the different aspects of this art. However, French architecture in America is called the American Colonial style or French Colonial and has a unique set of characteristics that defines it. Among the many buildings you can find three main manifestations:

  • Creole Cottages
  • Briquette-between poteaux
  • French Colonial with classical influences

Method 1
Considering the Region

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    Know that you can find most of this type of architecture concentrated in three specific regions:
    • French Louisiana (where It is believed that his first demonstration was held)
    • Mississippi
    • Alabama
    • Illinois, and Michigan (Although outnumbered)

Method 2
Identifying Creole Cottages

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    Look at the front of the house. The Creole Cottages or poteaux-en-terre (into the earth), are the easiest to identify, with the following set of features:
    • One level floor
    • Wood frame
    • Square or rectangular shape
    • Main roofline extends over the porch or sidewalk
    • Hipped or gabled roof
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    Look inside the infrastructure. Genuine houses built from scratch by the standards of this architecture should have the following patterns:
    • Small storage spaces at the rear
    • A sleeping area in the attic
    • Four adjoining rooms - one room in each corner of the house
    • No interior halls
    • Basement

Method 3
Identifying Briquette-entre-poteaux

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    Look at the front of the house. These homes gain double-louvred doors, flared hip roofs, dormers, and shutters. One level floors are not mandatory. Briquette-entre-poteaux (small bricks between posts) is an evolution of the basic French Colonial house.
  2. 2
    Identify the main features from outside:
    • Timber frame with brick or "bousillage" (mud combined with moss and animal hair)
    • wide hipped roof extends over porches
    • thin wooden columns
    • living quarters raised above ground level
    • wide porches, called "galleries"
    • french doors (doors with many small panes of glass)
  3. 3
    Search inside the infrastructure by the following:
    • no interior hallways
    • porches used as passageway between rooms
  4. 4
    Look at examples.
    • One level house:
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  5. 5
    Two level house:
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Method 4
Identifying Colombage

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    Look for similarities with the previous two styles, remember the stones. If the house is stone and is similar to the above, it is very likely that you're looking at Colombage. It is a less common type of buildings since it is a brick construction. Despite there being some differences with the most common features it nonetheless belongs to the colonial French.
  2. 2
    Search for the following:
    • Espaces between the timbers filled with stone (pierrotage) or bricks( briquettes-entre-poteaux that were usually very soft)
    • Classical Influences
    • Symmetrical and square
    • Columns, pillars and Balconies
    • Used for more important buildings and houses

Method 5
Identifying French-Inspired House Styles

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    Recognize that architects can mix styles, so not everything follows a specific pattern. There are some houses that blend styles and make the exception of the previous examples.
  2. 2
    Look at the following basic characteristics (although you have to rely a little on your instinct to really identify as French architecture):
    • Dormers
    • Hipped roof
    • Flared eaves
  3. 3
    Remember that some French style homes also can have:
    • Decorative half-timbering
    • Round tower at entryway
    • Arched doorway

Article Info

Categories: Architecture and Design Occupations