ARC544sem - Technical Methods Seminar: Victorian Dreams

Fragment from Bicknell’s Village Builder, 1878.

Fragment from Bicknell’s Village Builder, 1878 

Encompassing the period from about 1840-1900, Victorian architecture is characterized by a wide range of interpretations and re-combinations of distinctly different historical traditions.  

Resulting in such unique styles as Italianate, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Shingle Style, Stick Style, and Richardsonian Romanesque, Victorian architecture evolved out of the technological capacities of industrial mass production, coupled with the desire to re-invent—if not “revive”—aspects of architecture’s past.  


The work of Dennis Maher has ranged from a localized form of civic activism and material experimentation to a synthetic proposition for re-imagining the post-industrial environment  through a variety of modes and media.

While new material and machining possibilities enabled manufacturers to specialize in prefabricated components, this period also saw the emergence and popularization of architectural plan books, pattern books and catalogs.  These provided home owners and builders with the information needed to precisely replicate designs, along with the creative freedom to select and combine the parts. The result was a form of architectural production that was astoundingly diverse while remaining, at the same time, typologically consistent. This course will examine material and constructive possibilities embedded in pattern books of the time period, exploring them through and against examples of Victorian architecture in Buffalo.