According to “Buffalo as an Architectural Museum” website,
Second Italian Renaissance Revival is a later revival of First Renaissance revival (1840-1890).
” A later revival of Renaissance-inspired design in American houses occurred from about 1890-1930 and was the purest in its resemblance to the Italian originals. The period benefited from first hand familiarity with original models, improved printing technology for photographic documentation, and perfected masonry veneering techniques after W.W.I.
At first, this style was relatively rare, found mostly in architect-designed landmark houses. By about 1920, the technique of veneering a single layer of brick or stone onto the outside of wood framed walls had been perfected leading to smaller and less costly Italian Renaissance designs that were popular in suburban neighborhoods.
One of the architects who popularized the style was Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1895), the first American to study at the prestigious L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Hunt was one of the architects who designed buildings for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago where the style received great publicity.
The Italian Renaissance style was much less common than the more popular Tudor and Colonial Revival styles of the period. The style declined steadily in popularity through the 1930s, and post-1940 examples are rare.”
According to John Blumenson in “Identifying American Architecture”,
“Scale and size distinguish the later Revival from the earlier Renaissance Revival. Large buildings – usually three tall stories – are organized into distinct horizontal divisions by pronounced belt or string courses. Each floor is articulated differently. If the Doric Order or rustication is used on the first floor then the upper floor will be treated with a different order and finish. The window trim or surround also usually changes from floor to floor. Additional floors are seen in the small mezzanine or entresol windows. Arcade and arched openings often are seen in the same building with straight-headed or pedimented openings. Enriched and projecting cornices are supported with large modillions or consoles. The roof often is highlighted with a balustrade.In turning to larger Renaissance buildings for models, architects working in this style opened the door for greater size, textural richness, and variety in form. The style well suited the grandiosity required by a very rich client like Cornelius Vanderbilt, who commissioned The Breakers, in Newport, Rhode Island.”
Identifying features of the Italian Renaissance:
- low-pitched hipped roofs covered with ceramic tiles
- widely overhanging eaves, often supported by decorative brackets
- upper-story windows smaller and less elaborate than windows below
- commonly with arches above doors, first-story windows, or porches
- symmetrical facade
Buffalo as an Architectural Museum: http://www.buffaloah.com/a/DCTNRY/r/renaiss.html#Scale
Blumenson, John. Identifying American Architecture. New York: Norton. 1981. pp 41.