Anyone who happens to travel across this great country will notice that styles can change as you move from place to place, sometimes quite drastically and sometimes quite abruptly.
The same can be said of houses. And while it’s impressively under-simplifying the complexities of the different regions, let’s break the country into just a few distinct areas…
While it’s true that a home built in Atlanta is unlikely to look anything like a home built in Boston, one thing can be said of the houses bordering the Atlantic Ocean, they are magnificent reminders of a time that existed long ago. The oldest homes in the country in fact, dating back to the late 1600s. While houses of that era were definitely influenced by British colonial construction, they were often modified to take advantage of their environment. Take South Carolina, for example. An entire style of construction has its roots here and is making a strong comeback: the Charleston Single House. These unique structures are only one room wide so as to take advantage of the breeze in the days before modern cooling was invented.
Philadelphia, on the other hand is nearly as old but requires slightly different construction. The weather impeded early home builders and tended to force residents closer together and today’s construction reflects that—while still holding true to the historic nature of the city that was heavily influenced by the Georgian style of construction brought over from the early Dutch pioneers. Many contractors take great precaution to ensure that their modern dwelling construction reflects the prestige and majesty of the past by incorporating additions like custom windows and doors to historic houses. This lets them use modern building techniques that take advantage of newer more efficient materials while still staying true to the style and history with one of a kind windows, unique doors and porches, and high-efficiency roofing and siding.
The center of our country shows a much more distinct split between rural and urban communities. With a lot of the southern part of the Midwest devoted to farming, houses tended to be much larger—housing several generations of families at a time. While the invention of automobiles allowed for commuting, you can still see many people living on their own with miles separating them from their nearest neighbor.
The Midwest tends to be heavily influenced by designers like Frank Lloyd Wright. A design he pioneered called the Prairie house is still very popular throughout the Midwest and appeals to people of all styles. This architectural style features low-pitched roofs and overhanging eaves, these homes often include open floor plans with a lot of room for all sizes of families.
Houses closer to the Pacific Ocean are much newer and tend to be influenced by one of two things, space and weather. Cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are very constrained and available space is hard to come by so homes in these regions tend to be skinny and tall. Because of the limited options in construction, the design and styles tend to be rather dramatic so as to stand out, one famous example being the “Painted Ladies” of San Francisco, which are built in the flamboyant Queen Anne style of architecture.
In cities like Phoenix and Seattle, architectural styles tend to be influenced by international appeal. Seattle, Washington and the Pacific Northwest have adopted many styles from Japan, leaning towards smaller houses with crisp, clean lines and lots of openings into lush green yards that take advantage of abundant natural light. Seattle also has many examples of modern and contemporary construction influenced by architects such as Frank Gehry or even Louis Sullivan, often considered America’s first modern architect and one of the mentors to Frank Lloyd Wright.
This is in sharp contrast to the styles of Phoenix, Arizona, which tends to take advantage of the neutral colors and styles of the southwest. Spanish colonialism has greatly influenced this area, creating homes that often blend into the environment of the desert. You will also find many homes that have flat roofs, as these designs are easier to keep air conditioned. –
Penguin Drop Caps are a series of twenty-six collectible hardcover editions of classic literature and poetry. More than just beautifully repackaged literary works – Drop Caps are decorative objects that make a design statement in libraries, living rooms, nurseries and offices.
Penguin Drop Caps debuted with an ‘A’ for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a ‘B’ for Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and a ‘C’ for Willa Cather’s My Ántonia, and continues with more perennial classics.
Designed to reflect the color wheel, each cover features a specially commissioned illustrated letter of the alphabet by type designer Jessica Hische. A collaboration between Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, the Drop Caps series design encompasses a rainbow-hued spectrum across all twenty-six books. —
About the Artist
Jessica Hische is a web designer, typographer and illustrator. She has been named a Forbes Magazine “30 under 30″ in art and design as well as an ADC Young Gun. She serves on the board of directors for the Type Directors Club and is one of Print Magazine‘s “New Visual Artists”. In addition to Penguin books, she has designed for Tiffany & Co, Wes Anderson, and McSweeney’s. Hische resides primarily in San Francisco, but makes frequent appearances in Brooklyn. —
DISCOVER: Penguin Drop Caps