Romanesque Revival, Richardsonian Romanesque

Corbel tables and round arches distinguish buildings in the Romanesque Revival or the Round-arched Style, which originates in Germany in the early 19th century. Romanesque Revival is a less popular alternative to Gothic Revival in England and North America. During the 1870s, American architect Henry Hobson Richardson creates a personal style that becomes known as Richardson Romanesque. This style is based upon Romanesque structures and other sources, which was the first style to be taken up in Europe.

Romanesque Revival- Difinitive characteristics of Romanesque Revival are round arches and corbel tables used as stringcources or to define rooflines.

Richardson Romanesque- Buildings are of roughfaced stone that gives a weighty, massive appearance. Voussoirs, lintels, capitals, ornament, and other details are often a different color form walls.


Common motifs include round arches, corbel tables, hood moldings, battlements, and rose windows for Romanesque Revival. Richardson Romanesque motifs include round arches, Syrian arches, floral capitals, lozenges, chevrons, and terra-cotta panels of floral ornament.


Types – Romanesque Revival  include  churches, schools, libraries, museums, hospitals, train stations, courthouses, and city halls. Richardson Romanesque include state capitols, offices, department stores, warehouses, churches, and bridges. Residences include roow houses.

  • Site orientation public structures usually are located outside or near city centers.
  • Residences have lawns that surround.
  •  Floor plans (Romanesque Revival) use the three plans Basilica, Latin Cross, and Greek Cross. (Richardson Romanesque) These plans have a new and original openness and fluidity of space.
  • Materials (Romanesque Revival) structures are most often brick. (Richardson Romanesque) use cat iron for structure, Ashlar masonry, fieldstone, brownstone, rocks, boulders, and granite.
  • Facades (Richardson Romanesque) are usually asymmetrical with a horizontal emphasis. (Romanesque Revival) Usually have one or two towers flanking a central portion.
  • Most windows are composed of round arches or rectangular ones.
  • Doors (Romanesque Revival) are plain and carved doors. (Richardson Romanesque) Have a large Syrian arch or triple arches often anounce the entrance.
  • Roofs (Romanesque Revival) are usually flat or low-pitched gables or cross gables. (Richardson Romanesque) Gable roofs with side parapets define public buildings.

Werdersche Kirche

Staabibliothek – State Library


Smithsonian Institution

Natural History Museum

Marshall Field Wholesale Store

Allegheny County Court House

Trinity Church- Boston


  • Colors include terra-cotta reds, greens, blues, golds, and browns.
  • Lighting is medieval- style lighting fixtures in brass, iron, or copper are used.
  • Floors may be stone, polished marble, encaustic tiles in colorful patterns, or wood. Carpet in important spaces.
  • Wall treatments include stone, marble, tile, dark wood paneling, wallpaper and embossed leather.
  • Windows are rounded- arches that may have stained or colored glass.
  • Doors are carved wood.
  • Ceilings may be beamed, trussed in the medieval manner, coffered, vaulted or flat.
  • Residence may have painted ceiling decorations.

Senate Chamber, New York State Capitol

Waiting Room, Union Station

Furnishings and Decorative Arts:

Herry Hobson Richardson Armchair


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