Art Synk

Victorian Architecture: Design Characteristics & World Building Potential

Art School, Mar 21, 2022
victorian architecture watercolor

Painting by Kristen

Surroundings have the ability to transport you to another world. Thanks to magnificent woodwork and an attention to detail rarely seen in modern design, the Victorian style evokes feelings of grandeur and independence of spirit. Victorian architecture is technically a period, referring to Queen Victoria's reign in Britain from 1837 to 1901. However, the convergence of aesthetics resulted in the formation of what we now recognize as a unified style.

Victorians borrowed heavily from Gothic aesthetics and techniques. The Gothic art movement originated in Northern France in the 12th century. This style, which emerged as a response to Romanesque art, led to the creation of Gothic architecture. This style was largely reserved for churches featuring stained glass windows, pointed arches, rib vaults, flying buttresses, and elaborate decorations.


victorian architecture

-Cylindrical turrets and pitched roofs

-Color: pastels, jewel tones and earth tones

-Bay windows and stained glass

-Wraparound front porches

victorian architecture

They can simultaneously evoke feelings of charm and ruin. Some of the greatest examples of this duality can be seen in American cities founded throughout the nineteenth century. For example, Detroit is a Victorian graveyard, with a number of buildings and mansions, many of which have fallen into disrepair. This makes Detroit an ideal backdrop for films like Only Lovers Left Alive, a romantic horror about a centuries-long love affair between two vampires.

Worldbuilding potential is immense for this style. Adventure stories, as shown in Hunter X Hunter, work well in this context. Fantasy and isekai, a subgenre in which the protagonist is abruptly transported to a different world, can make use of an otherworldly setting. In Gothic fiction, it can be home to witches, vampires, and other occult creatures. And of course, historical tales benefit from research into its era or when building a fictitious universe set in the past.

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