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Italianate and/or Villa Style.
Buildings with gently pitched they seem flat roots crowning a boxy
volume often with a frieze of tiny attic windows. In its more romantic
version, the Villa StyIe, it utilizes a tall, usually asymmetrically
(1840-80)--The architecture of Italy served as the inspiration for this building style, which could be as picturesque as the Gothic or as restrained as the classical. This adaptability made it immensely popular in the 1850s. In New York, the style was used for urban row houses and commercial buildings. The development of cast iron at this time permitted the inexpensive mass production of decorative features that few could have afforded in carved stone. This led to the creation of cast-iron districts in nearly every American city, including New York.
Italianate buildings often have a formal symmetry accentuated by pronounced moldings and decorative details. The commercial buildings resemble Italian palaces and tend to be rectangular buildings of several, spacious stories well suited to their original purposes as work spaces. The facades usually have the following features:
A flat or low-pitched roof
A bracketed cornice and an elaborate entablature
Windows rounded at the top (flattened arches above windows are common, too)
Large moldings over windows, called hood moldings
Columns or pilasters flanking, or separating, windows
Belt courses or entablatures at each story
Vertical rows of windows and horizontal belt courses giving the building a very regular, compartmentalized look
New York's SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District has 26 blocks jammed with cast-iron facades, many in the Italianate manner. The single richest section is Greene Street between Houston and Canal streets. Stroll along here and take in building after building of sculptural facades. At Greene and Broome streets is the Gunther Building (Griffith Thomas, 1871), a fine example of the Italianate. The most celebrated building in SoHo is the Haughwout Store (John P. Gaynor, 1857), at the corner of Broadway and Broome streets, a New York version of a Venetian palace (now housing a Staples store, of all things). The handsome facade with cast iron on two sides has a window arrangement -- two small, Corinthian columns supporting an arch over each window -- based directly on a 15th-century, Italian design.