Architecture Styles and Their Defining Characteristics


Have you ever looked at a building and wondered what style is it? Is it Romanesque or Bauhaus? There are a lot of characteristics which define different architecture styles. Let’s take a look at 10 styles and their uniqueness. These short descriptions will help.

Victorian Style

Main features: bay or sash windows, steep Mansard roofs, the whole house is wrapped with porches. It might look like a dollhouse, asymmetrical shape and usually with windows that go through 2 or 3 stories. Where to see: Old wooden houses, particularly in Australia and around the United Kingdom.

Islamic Style

Geometric designs on all the buildings. Main focus is on enclosed spaces, interior is more important than exterior, part of the walls are perforated screens and sunlight creates beautiful patterns and shadows because of them. Where to sightsee: as the name suggests, the style is intertwined with the religion; another noteworthy prominent building is Hui Mosque in northwest China.

Romanesque style

Main features: Shapes are mostly rounded, with arches and rows of headed arches. Floral and foliage elements made of stone, moldings decorate the interior and exterior. Around the doors molding looks like twisted rope. A perfect specimen would be the beautiful Porto Cathedral in Portugal.

Baroque style

Pediments look broken at their apex, sometimes you can see ornaments in the center. Columns are always paired. Convex and concave walls are a must! Overall, a very lavish style. Should you want to see it, visit Palace of Versailles for everything gold and luxurious, as many prominent palaces were in this style.

Tudor style

Main features: Roof made of straw, rushes, sedge. Windows have diamond shaped glass panels which have lead castings. Chimneys built from bricks or stones. Elaborate doorways look amazing bringing the whole building together. Where to sightsee: Shakespeare’s sweetheart Anne’s Hathaway’s cottage in Warwickshire, England.


Main features: the whole building looks like a cubicle built from steel and glass. Gives a cold industrial vibe.  Just primary colors like red, blue, yellow. Floor plans are open, roof is flat. Where to sightsee: In the Dessau city, Germany.

Neo- Classical

In this style, walls are blank, too many columns. Buildings are huge, no colors, all lines are clean and straight. Surfaces are flat, tables, panels, no regular bas- reliefs, they were also made flatter. What to see: In Malahide, Ireland you can find a Casino Marino.


Features: Classical square buildings with arches and domes, other parts of the ceilings are flat. Columns are roman type, courtyards are enclosed. This style began and flourished in Italy, as the country provides heaps of building in this fashion. St Peter’s Basilica in Rome is the most famous example with all the details that you can imagine about this style.


All the arches are pointed. Buildings are massive, very high and detailed with small décor elements that are all different.  Ceilings are vaulted. Inside very airy and light. Basically, sharp, slick and pointy – the main basis for the style.

Notre Dame in Paris can be considered as the cliché example, as it is put in every textbook, and for a good reason!


No décor of any kind. Wind and open spaces. Modern materials like concrete are used. Sun and shade are utilized to create warmth and comfort because the building by itself might look and feel cold. Often this style lacks grace… and the great examples are rare to find. Mostly, modernism can be found in many of the newer buildings.