When you're searching for a new home you don't get exposed to the most artistic side of architecture. Modern private homes, especially in subdivisions, tend to be boxy, practical, and very similar to one another. If that style of building just doesn't do it for you, there are other homes out there built in far more interesting styles, such as neoclassical. For more information on what makes a building neoclassical and where you can expect to find this type of architecture, read on.
An architect would be able to recognize a neoclassical structure instantly because of their expertise, but in actuality most people are familiar with neoclassical stylings, it's just that they aren't connecting the name with the look. Have you ever seen a large, light colored building replete with columns and bas reliefs? Have you ever seen a room decorated so that the light plaster walls with their carved mouldings and panels accentuate the dark wood floors? Then you've seen a neoclassical building.
Most neoclassical architecture dates from about the mid 1700s as an attempt to return to the elegant architecture that was so abundant in ancient Greece and Rome, with nods to the Renaissance and the Baroque style, which was popular in the prior period. Most developments came along much too late to get caught up in the neoclassical movement, so most of the best examples of this type of architecture can be found in Europe, particularly in Great Britain, Germany, and Spain, though there are a lot of late-stage examples in the eastern United States.
Neoclassical isn't a style that you should expect to find represented in the homes you're looking at. Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and Romantic can all be considered offshoots of neoclassical design. All of these styles tend to be found on a grander scale where its intricacies can be better appreciated, such as in public buildings. Cathedrals, bridges, palaces, museums, and government buildings are all common types of neoclassical architecture.
Visiting Europe is a great way to appreciate this type of architecture, but if you're unable to travel far from your home, there are some notable examples here in North America. The Massey building in Toronto is a good example, as is the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. In fact, a visit to the capitol area will reveal many examples of neoclassicism, including the Jefferson Memorial, the White House, and the Washington Monument.
If you enjoyed our article about Neoclassical Design, you may also be interested in reading an article about another architectural style called, "Tudor Revival"