U.S. Capitol Building

Neoclassical / Federalist / Idealist Architecture
: (1730 - 1925)

The Neoclassical style was highly influenced by European classical ideals during the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. It was essentially based off of the techniques used in ancient Greece and Rome. Since Neoclassicism is more correctly described as an approach to design, the terms “federalist” and “idealist” are commonly used to help describe this approach. (3)

The Federal style originated as an expansion of the Georgian era of architecture. Commonly referred to as the Adam style, it refers to the building styles that incorporated popular European architectural elements into American homes. (1)

Areas of Use:
Mount vernon

Mount Vernon: near Alexandria, VA. George Washington's neoclassical style home that was influenced by federalist ideals.

Neoclassical architecture is typically seen in the designs of U.S. government buildings and sometimes smaller private homes. Federal style houses can commonly be found in almost every eastern city ranging from New England to Virginia.


The Neoclassical style is well known for its symmetrical shape, tall rising columns, triangular pediments, and the use of dome-shaped roofs. While Jefferson’s Monticello is an excellent example of a Neoclassical home, it is more specifically defined to be influenced by his idealist approach to classicism. (2)


Thomas Jefferson's Monticello: Charlottesville, VA

Federal style homes are typically square or rectangular in shape, and feature a hip roof that is capped by a balustrade and simple gable shapes. Architectural elements on the exterior can mostly be found at the front porch or entryway. The columns and moldings on these homes are generally simple and narrow. However, they will often integrate geometrical shapes into the design to reflect classicism. (1)

Famous Architects: (1)

- Great Britain’s Robert Adam (1728 – 1792)

- Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio

250px-Rose Hill Manor, Frederick, Maryland

Rosehill Manor, MD

Famous Houses:

- Mount Vernon: near Alexandria, VA

- Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello: Charlottesville, VA

- Rosehill Manor, MD


American Colonial
Neoclassical / Federalist / Idealist
Greek Revival
Arts and Crafts
Art Nouveau
Beaux Arts
Art Deco
20th Century Trends

References: (1) (2) (3)