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The Village of Prestwick: An Architectural Primer

Posted by Rachel R. Vanderveen on Monday, February 11th, 2013 at 1:03pm.

Continuing on in the McKenzie Towne vein (see my previous post in this series here), I'd like to talk a bit about the Village of Prestwick. Now, don't get Prestwick confused with Eastwick- there are no witches here! Au contraire, this McKenzie Towne community (just like the other two) boasts a decidedly inviting atmosphere. People who live here are neighbourly and expect their fellow Prestwickians to follow suit. How could they be unhappy, living in the lovely homes they own? That question brings me to what I want to touch on in this post about Prestwick: architectural style. If you take a look at the McKenzie Towne brochure, you'll see that the house exteriors in Prestwick were styled according to four architectural traditions: Georgian, Craftsman, Queen Anne (Victorian) and National. If you're curious to know the differences between these, please allow me to explain them!

Georgian In architecture, the "Georgian" period relates to the years between 1720 and 1840, when there were a great many Georges on the throne; four in a row, to be exact! Some elements that are definite markers of the Georgian style are:

  • Simple construction: the facade is generally one plane, with a centred front door.
  • Symmetry: windows are spaced in a symmetrical fashion, and, historically, there were two chimneys on either end of the building.
  • Cornices were common and usually embellished with plaster work. Porticos with windows at their centre were also common, though moreso in the later Georgian era.

Craftsman This style, coming out at the early part of the 1900s is one of the first that embraced a family-centred home dynamic. Because fewer and fewer households at the time employed full-time servants (if any), there wasn't a need for a separation between the prep. areas and the living areas. In terms of exterior design, that made for a simpler facade. Generally, you can expect to see the following details on Craftsman-style homes:

  • Roofs with low pitches: these are generally gabled roofs, but hip roofs aren't out of the question.
  • Front porches: the deep eaves of this style create a natural place for a spacious porch.
  • Handcrafted/natural touches: hardwoods, simple stained glass, and stonework are common elements in siding, front doors, and front porch pillars.

Queen Anne In North America, the architectural term "Queen Anne" is used almost synonymously with "Victorian" and can refer to a wide range of styles. However, one thing that draws these together is the immense detail in the exteriors. Here are some hallmarks:

  • Asymmetry: corner towers with turrets and oriel or bay windows give facades plenty of character.
  • Elaborate siding and trim: oftentimes, different textures and colours are used in siding materials, whether the siding is made from tiles, wooden shingles, or brickwork. Scrollwork is usually present.
  • Front porch: this is a large feature of the facade and can wrap around the house entirely. There are often balconies on the second story.

National Also known as the Greek Revival style, the National style was in full force in Europe and North America from around 1825-1860. To identify the National style, look for:

  • Low-pitch roofs: usually gable front, as one would see on a typical Greek building. Chimneys aren't prominent.
  • Front porch: Often with columns supporting the roof, again, to create the feeling of a Greek temple. These porches can differ greatly in size and depth.
  • Facade is generally symmetrical, with six-over-six windows being a typical feature. Sometimes the front door can be set to the side.

Now, while the design of Prestwick's facades was based almost exclusively on these styles, they can be found, to differing extents of faithfulness, throughout the City of Calgary. Here are some examples currently on the market: Georgian, Queen Anne, Craftsman, National. These could already been sold by the time you read this blog post, so let me know if you'd like to see some more examples! If you'd like to take a look at one of these listings, or you're interested in finding a home in a different part of Calgary with architectural features like these, I'd be more than happy to help.

Rachel Vanderveen

The Vanderveen Team
Maxwell South Star Realty
Phone: 403.253.5678 Fax: 403.592.6736

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