Neo-Eclectic (1965-Present)

According to “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past” by Alan Higgins,

“By the 1960s, the public popularity of modern forms and details began to give way to more traditional characteristics. However, the new forms did not assemble details in traditional ways. Instead, details from a variety of historic styles were thrown together as “pick and choose” packages that could be easily modified to meet public needs. This phenomenon started slowly in the mid-1960s, but spread rapidly during the 1970s and continues today on a larger scale. This movement was not led by architects as has traditionally been the case with the development of new forms and styles. Rather, contractors and builders who were developing mid-size and large residences popularized Neo-Eclectic homes. The derogatory term McMansion is typically applied to many Neo-Eclectic homes, referring to the fact that the houses are composed of cheap materials and a menu of mix and match details. These styles have been applied not only to residences but also small-scale commercial and public buildings.

Neo-Eclectic buildings recreate historic details with modern materials such as vinyl and faux stone. Decorative details are typically picked from a catalog based upon the individual’s desires. This often leads to much ornamentation that would not be found on true, historic forms. Neo-Eclectic structures typically feature high, vaulted roofs with multiple gables or hips. Buildings are typically two to three stories and feature at least two garage bays. These buildings are setback considerably from the street, allowing for a landscaped front yard. Interiors are typically open and earthen colors are often used in paints and materials.” Please see below for more common features of Neo-Eclectic houses.

Identifying Features:

As noted in “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past” by Alan Higgins, the defining features of the Neo-Eclectic style are:

  • Historic Styles are imitated in modern
  • Details from several historic styles combined in nontraditional ways
  • Brick, stone, Vinyl and composite materials are combined
  • High roofs with multiple gables or hips
  • Typically 2 to 3 stories
  • Have at least 2 garage bays
  • Setback from the street
  • Earthly colors used in paints and materials
  • Open floor plans with living and eating areas together

  • Higgins, Alan. “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past,” (accessed March 1, 2010).
  1. Higgins, Alan. “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past,” PDF.
  2. Higgins, Alan. “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past,” PDF.
  3. Higgins, Alan. “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past,” PDF.