Jeffersonian Classicism

Classical Revival style

An architectural style, used in many major public buildings from about 1770 to 1830 and beyond; typified by simplicity, dignity, monumentality, and purity of design; based primarily on the use of Roman forms of classical antiquity, although later examples exhibit some characteristics of the Greek Revival style which followed. Sometimes called Early Classical Revival, Jeffersonian Classicism, Neoclassical Revival, or Roman Classicism. Buildings in this style were usually rectangular in plan, two rooms deep, gable-fronted, with the long side of the house commonly facing the street; they commonly exhibit many of the following attributes: a symmetrical form sometimes similar to a classical temple; two stories high, often with one- or two-story wings; walls of brick, stucco, stone, or wood construction; typically, a two-story monumental portico, painted white, with a triangular pediment, frequently with a semicircular window set within its tympanum; a pedimented roof, usually supported by four columns on square bases; an entablature above the columns; a low hipped roof, occasionally partially hidden by balustrades; usually five-ranked; a paneled door beneath a semicircular or elliptical fanlight. Classical Revival architecture reemerged in popularity from about 1895 to 1940, with modifications, as described under Neoclassical style.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.