Arts and Crafts houses are symmetrical and picturesque with steeply pitched hipped roofs, mostly built pre-WWI. Arts and Crafts houses are usually set low to the ground and often feature multiple and prominent chimneys and half-timbering on their upper floors. Windows are typically leaded glass in small panes, often set in multiple assemblies. They are in the English Arts & Crafts tradition, while Craftsman houses come from the American Arts & Crafts tradition. Architect Samuel Maclure’s grand mansions of the Edwardian era are the best representatives of the Arts & Crafts Style in British Columbia. They have more of a “sheltering roof,” more of a horizontal form, than Tudor Revival Style houses.
An English movement beginning in the early 20th century, Arts and Crafts designs responded to changes brought about by rapid industrialization. The movement encompassed artistic, ideological, and political elements, which translated into a style. In architecture, Arts and Crafts encouraged the use of simple forms, relation to the environment, and natural materials. It celebrated craftsmanship with a return to earlier materials and techniques. Inspired by the writings of English thinker John Ruskin, William Morris was one of the leading proponents of Arts and Crafts. He commissioned the first Arts and Crafts building in England. From there, the style spread and established itself in North America. In Vancouver, the Arts and Crafts style is most often seen in stately homes of the wealthy. They are sometimes confused with half-timbered Tudor Revival buildings.
Between WWI and WWII, the Arts and Crafts movement style shifted to expressions in a smaller scale, the Interwar Arts and Crafts.
- Steeply pitched hipped roofs
- Horizontal profile
- Multiple prominent chimneys
- Half timbering on upper floors
- Windows typically made up of small panes
- Windows in multiple assemblies
Compared to Tudor Revival styles:
- Arts and Crafts houses are set closer to the ground than Tudor Revival houses and more sheltering roof (living spaces in the roof – ie. dormer), fewer gables, interior chimneys
The use of local materials was encouraged by Arts and Crafts principles. In Vancouver, this included wooden shingles, siding and trim, as well as brick, stone and stucco. Many of the homes have smooth stucco surfaces with little applied decoration, though some include ‘Tudor’ half-timbering and medieval detailing. Lower floors of some Arts and Crafts homes can be ornamented with brick, similar to Tudor Revival styles.