Palladian style in country architecture

English or Italian? The question of style for the design of a country house is one of the most important, so we continue the story of recognizable features of "English" architecture, and today we will talk about the legacy of the great Italian architect Andrea Palladio.

Villa Rotonda Villa Rotonda
Villa Rotonda, Andrea Palladio is a classic and benchmark of the Palladian style.

His key ideas - symmetry, perspective and adherence to the principles of antique architecture - determined the appearance of not only English Palladian houses, but were recognized throughout the world. The English Palladianism was formed in the first half of the 18th century, but its principles sound surprisingly contemporary and in the minds of contemporary architects they are tightly associated with the national, purely English architectural style.

Chiswick House.
Chickswick House, Lord Burlington is already a neo-Palladian style. The number of chimneys and their pomp deserves special attention.

What is the appeal of the Palladian style today?

First of all harmony of proportions, clear form, simplicity and nobility of lines. The relationship between the parts and the whole is subordinated to the idea of unity of buildings and the surrounding space, where each element naturally arises from the other. This leads to a stinginess on decorations and obligatory taking into account the peculiarities of the landscape. The famous Villa Rotonda is identical on all four sides - to look great from any point, as it stands on an open hill.

ВThe hallmark of the Palladian style is the colonnaded porticoes, the three-part (with a high arched opening in the center and two rectangular on the sides) windows and the cross layout (which has its roots in the architecture of ancient Roman temples). Instead of porticos often planned loggias, often closed gables - they give a special sound of the facade. The advantage of the Palladian style is that it is equally good for majestic buildings and small country estates.

The typical Palladian villa is often three-storey, has a tall main house (traditionally with a dome) and wings at its sides, at the base is a rusticated basement or ground floor with service rooms. The portico's external stairway opens to the mezzanine level where the bedrooms and living quarters are located. The proportions of the rooms are set by means of simple mathematical relations such as 3:4 and 4:5.

"Like the human body, which has both noble and beautiful parts and less noble and beautiful, but no less necessary, without which the former could not exist, a house should have parts worthy and honorable, and others not so elegant, without which, however, the former would lose some of its dignity and beauty. The blessed Creator has arranged our members in such a way that the most beautiful of them are best seen, the less beautiful are hidden. Likewise, in a building we must make the main and important rooms accessible to view, and the less beautiful ones hidden as far away as possible.

Therefore, in the lower part of the house I arrange the cellars, pantries, kitchen, washing rooms, ovens. From this come two advantages: first, the front rooms are free from services, and second, they are at a sufficient distance from the ground; besides, they are accessible to view, and have a beautiful view. The smaller rooms are divided into study rooms and libraries, in which cabinets are placed to hide personal equipment and junk, and bedrooms, dining rooms and guest rooms, which should be free of unnecessary things."

Andrea Palladio
"Four Books on Architecture."

Features of the Palladian style

  • austere forms (the simplest geometric forms are used - the square, the circle, the triangle, based on Vitruvius' "golden ratio")
  • symmetrical facade and in general the symmetry of the parts of the building
  • smooth walls in light colors: brick or stone
  • porticos or loggias in the center of the facade, which are decorated with columns
  • covered colonnades on both sides of the main house
  • Palladian windows
  • rectilinear roofs
  • if you have an attic floor, you can make attic windows on the high walls under the roof
  • harmony with the surrounding landscape


How to apply Palladianism to your cottage

  1. Do not make contrasting white decorative frames. It is better to leave them in the color of the wall. At most, they can be darker, but necessarily monochrome with the wall. Palladianism in the later English reading suggests a freer relationship with color.
  2. There shouldn't be a lot of decorations. It is better that they be of high quality and have a historic rather than newfangled look.
  3. Use noble sand tones, ideally stucco, travertine, marble.
  4. Palladian window styling is possible with additional false windows.
  5. Make a more grand entrance, arrange a portico.
  6. Choose a roof in the color of deaf red clay. Ideally natural shingles.
  7. Plant southern shrubs, use clay vases.
  8. Request a facade design from us.

Special windows

Palladian window Palladian windows
A Palladian window consists of three openings: a large central window ending in a semicircular arch, and two small side windows separated from the central window by pilasters. Sometimes small columns are used instead of pilasters.

Famous houses

The facade of the White House.
The Palladian principles used in the construction of the White House building in Washington, D.C. (by James Hoban) established the significance of this style for architects around the world.
Monticello façade
The Monticello, the residence of Thomas Jefferson, the eminent American statesman and public figure, the third president of the United States, was designed by him in the Palladian style.
Villa Cornaro Villa Cornaro
Villa Cornaro.
Villa Seraceno
Villa Seraceno. Andrea Palladio is an example of relatively small Palladian architecture.
Morris-Jumel Manor
The estate of Roger Morris. Palladian architecture in a democratic size.
Shakhmatovo Estate
Alexander Blok's Shakhmatovo estate: the Palladian style has become a favorite for the design of Russian country estates.

Palladianism in our time

A house in the English style
Improvisation within the Palladianism: an "English house" built by Oleg Carlson in the suburbs of Moscow. Its facades are carefully stylized as a British country palace in the Palladian style.
Palladian façades
Palladian motifs in small houses.
Palladian façades of cottages
Palladian façades of cottages.
Shakhmatovo Estate
A modern private villa in the suburbs of Moscow designed by the SL*Project architectural studio conceived in accordance with the principles of Andrea Palladio.