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NeoClassical Architecture Style and Defining Characteristics

Category: Environment Art
November 14, 2008 (Updated: October 18, 2019)

Symmetrical, massive perfection of simple forms (US Capitol building)

Neoclassical architecture began in 1800s as a reaction to Rococo and Baroque architectural styles.

Rococo and Baroque architecture focused on elaborate ornaments, detail and decoration.

Neoclassical architecture response was to go back to simple, massive, classical form of the Greek and Roman architecture era.

Neoclassical Architecture Characteristics

  • Massive scale
  • Symmetrical floorplans
  • Simplicity of form
  • Built to achieve classical perfection (from Greeks and Romans)
  • Uncluttered appearance (minimum decorations)
  • Roofs are flat and often domed
  • Supported with tall columns (Doric or Ionic)
  • Gardens around buildings follow geometric patterns
  • Built in 1800s

The temple represents the purest, ideal form for Neoclassical architecture:

Temple is the ideal for Neoclassical architecture

A series of columns (Doric or Ionic) are a consistent repeated element in Neoclassical architecture;

Series of columns

Roofs are flat and horizontal and often containing a centered dome.

Neoclassical roofs were flat with centered dome

Building's facade is usually flat and long with a series of free-standing columns:

Facade simplicity and free standing columns

Exterior is built to represent classical perfection and simplicity of form.

Classical perfection of form in Monticello building

Decorations are kept to a minimum:

Simpicity of Basilica in Baltimore

There are often gardens around buildings that followed geometric patterns:

Geometric gardens around buildings

Interiors contain the same principles of massive scale, symmetry, simplicity, and tall columns:

Interior of Pantheon in Paris

Games That Feature Neoclassical Architecture

Games that have featured Neoclassical architecture style.

Pantheon in Paris from "Assassins Creed: Unity"

US Capitol Building from "The Division 2"

White House Building in "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2"

Recommended Books

Here are some recommended architecture books. Links below are Amazon affiliate links, meaning WoLD earns a small commision if you purchase it through the links which helps me run this website.

Architectural Details: A Visual Guide to 5000 Years of Building Styles

Neoclassical and 19th Century Architecture

Neoclassical (Architecture and Design Library)


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My name is AlexG. I am self-taught level designer, game environment artist and the creator of World of Level Design.com. I've learned everything I know from personal experimentation and decades of being around various online communities of fellow environment artist and level designers. On World of Level Design you will find tutorials to make you become the best level designer and game environment artist.

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