The historic houses of British Columbia present
a rich and varied legacy that records in three dimensions the dreams
and accomplishments of their builders. Houses provide shelter, but
beyond this, also tell us stories about domestic functions, societal
status, and personal aspirations. Each house is embedded in an historical
context and timeframe, and when we analyze its style and details,
we can better understand the people who lived there.
The structural and finishing elements of a house
are inseparable from its symbolism. The style of a building is its
distinctive shape or mode of expression, and is evoked partly by
form and partly by decoration and finishes. Architectural styles
appear and disappear due to fundamental shifts in society's values,
cultural priorities, moral attitudes and economic status, and are
more than just a change in fashion.
Most 'high' style or academically-designed houses
reflected a consciously-chosen image or mode of expression, which
in British Columbia was usually the revival of an historical European
model. Not every house has an easily identifiable style. A prominent
or lavish house is more likely to aspire to high style and 'academic'
correctness the equivalent of a purebred while a more
utilitarian or vernacular house may reflect a more eclectic blending
By following this guide you will be able to determine,
if not a particular style for your house, at least the influences
that determined its appearance.