In the beginning of the 18th century the French colonies have settled in Louisiana, in the Mississippi Valley and have made their influence in the architecture. Among the characteristics a building in that style includes: thin wooden columns, there are no hallways in the interior, wide porches that were often called galleries, doors designed with a lot of small glass panes, wide and hipped roof and timber frame on the ground.
How would Creole Cottage look like?
- The culture of the West Indies, the Caribbean and the French evolved and the Creole Cottage appeared. The common features of this type of house involved wood frame, small space for storage, there were no halls in the interior, gabled roof, the attic contained sleeping area, one room was placed in each corner of the house, which means 4 rooms in total, and the shape of the house was rectangular or square.
- In New Orleans the farm workers constructed these houses on the sidewalk one next to each other.How Antebellum Plantation Homes looked like?
- In the period of Civil War the plantation owners in the Mississippi Valley built their homes in the French Colonial style. They were square and symmetrical and included a lot of balconies and pillars.
- Also the elements of the Greek revival were put into the architectural design and the plantation homes had wide porches that had the role as passage ways from one room to another.
- This house was designed in a classical style with a lot of gracious pillars. In the first half of the 19th century the idea of the French Colonial architectural style was mixed with the practical townhouses in order to get the most of the use of the place. Each house had a level that was covered with porch containing columns or pillars.
The design of the Shotgun Houses
- These types of houses have been built in the time of the Civil War. This style became very popular in New Orleans and in other towns in the South.
- The features of the shotgun houses included: the house had to be wide 3.5 meters entirely, no more than this; the living room had to be at the front and the kitchen and the bedrooms in the behind; the roof had to provide ventilation in a natural way; the rooms had to be arranged in one row with no hallways; the entire house had to be based on stilts in order to not be any damage from overflow; the house had to have 2 doors, one at the front and one at the back;
- By the theories these houses are called shotgun because if you shoot with a gun the bullet will go from the front door and would get out directly from the back door.
- By the other theories these houses are called like this because it is considered that were constructed from packing crates that have held shells of shotguns.
- Another theory states that the name comes from the African dialect and means “place of assembly”.
- These houses became very popular after the Katrina Hurricane that destroyed a lot of homes in New Orleans. People were building their houses in this style.
- The thick walls of the townhouses located directly on the pathway were the recognizable element of the Creole Townhouses.
- Among the features of this design of house included steep roofs, dormers, iron balconies, arched openings and brick construction mainly.
The iron balconies as recognizable characteristics of the French Colonial style
- The iron balconies on the townhouses, the cottages and the other buildings became main element in the design of the French Colonial style buildings. The iron details were added to every building instead of porches and wooden pillars. Very often the twisted iron as a decoration would cover the entire façade of the building.
- The balconies made from shaped iron were also a popular attraction during the French colonization in New Orleans. A lot of the cultures since then have been using strong material for decorations.
- These balconies designed with shaped iron were from the Victorian elaboration from a Spanish idea. The idea came from the Creole blacksmiths, who were black men who created this type of decoration. They were made with the purpose to replace the wooden pillars in the buildings.Conclusion
From all this we can see that the French Colonial style was very used and popular in the beginning of the 19th century and since then its influenced in the architecture has increased. A lot of the buildings and designs today have a scent of this colonial style that is still alive in the architecture.
To be continued…..