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"Georgian architecture" Top 5 Page for this destination Williamsburg Local Custom Tip by matcrazy1

Williamsburg Local Customs: 60 reviews and 75 photos

by matcrazy1

The mansions and upper class houses were built in Georgian style in Williamsburg in the 18th century. The George Wythe House is a very good example of the style. At first the edifice didn't look very attractive, but I noticed a few interesting feautures of colonial 18th century Georgian houses.

1. The building displays typical for Georgian style Renaissance-inspired symmetry, balanced geometry and proportions, explained by Phillip Kopper here. I found it rather boring. Someone said: symmetry is a feature of fools.

2. The ground floor is raised a little bit (1-2 feet, 0.3 - 0.6 m) above the ground. It saved the house against possible floods after heavy rains and allowed to put small windows down which let some light into a low basement. Before invention of refrigerator upclass houses must have cellars to store food and wine/beer.

3. The second-floor windows are shorter and narrower than those on the first floor. Traditionally the first floor was more public, the second more private (less light needed) in colonial mansions.

4. The house looks like the second floor would be added a little bit later or even designed by someone else. The colour of bricks is a little bit different on each floor. The bricks are laid in Flemish bond above the water table and older English bond below with a three-brick course.

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Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 20, 2004
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