Romanesque Revival Architecture in Downtown Savannah

Posted on December 12, 2017 by

Savannah Cotton Exchange

The Savannah Cotton Exchange features a grand archway and a stunning burnt orange stone color.

Can’t get enough of Savannah’s dreamy architecture? Neither can we! Our architecture series continues with the Romanesque Revival style. Think stately designs and stunning arches and windows. This style kept the foundation of the original Romanesque design, but simplified the style in details and decorative elements. And while there may only be a few examples here in Savannah, their gorgeous and grand design speaks for itself.

History

Romanesque Revival, also known as Neo-Romanesque, architecture first appeared in the mid-19th century. With inspiration taken from the historic Romanesque style—popularized in the 11th and 12th centuries—this new version was commonly used for churches, universities and synagogues.

Early to mid-19th-century, Greek Revival designs ruled architecture. And around 1847, social reformer Robert Dale Owens argued Greek architecture did not reflect the fast-growing American style. The common temple foundation and flat roof that Greek Revival employed did not provide the elements like chimneys, windows and multi-levels that the buildings required. He proposed that features of the Romanesque style would satisfy the American building necessities and be flexible enough to grow with the ever-changing American lifestyle.

Characteristics

Arches over doorways and arcades are low and wide.

Round-shaped columns and towers adorn the building façade and roof.

Constructed with square stones with a dark red/orange color

Columns are sometimes included in the Corinthian style, or a similarly detailed leaf spiral design is included on the pilasters.

Where to Find

The Cotton Exchange, situated between Bay Street and River Street, is our most iconic example of Romanesque Revival. The vibrant, burnt orange color of the building is an obvious giveaway. It also features a grand arch over the center entryway, and a subtle spiral design on the pointed roof.