Architecture 101- Spotlight on Tudor

Published October 5, 2012 by Julie Provenzano

Stately and confident, warm and inviting, quaint yet classic, highly livable- welcome to the aesthetic appeal of the time-honored Tudor.  Set apart from other architectural styles by its signature half-timbered, traditionally hand hewn post and beam construction, and  known for its steeply pitched roofs and “black and white” effect, the Tudor stands out as a style steeped in rustic simplicity yet brimming with country cottage character.  Echoing the refined taste of an English country manor, the Tudor is dignified in appearance and conventional in form.

Drawing from the Gothic, traditional Tudor style is the meeting point of three architectural signatures: Elizabethan, Arts and Crafts and Jacobean.  In order to fully appreciate the Tudor’s individuality, it helps to examine each school of influence. 

Elizabethan architecture was grand in scale and geometric in design.  While the Tudor is committed to the geometric design of the Elizabethan tradition- tall, large, squared off segments- it’s stamp of individuality lies in the presence of Dutch gables (curvature where the roof points meet), and unique jetties (overhangs traditionally used to maximize second story floor space while allowing ample street space below). 

The simplistic yet functional Tudor design arises from the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  A response to the ornate and showy style of the Victorian era, the Arts and Crafts movement called for a return to traditional craftsmanship and contained elements of the medieval, romantic and folk elements of design- exposed exterior hand hewn timbers and a black or brown and white visual aesthetic.  In addition, the formal and functional design of the traditional Tudor floor plan as well as the balanced appeal of its exterior elevation are examples of the influence of Jacobean architecture on the Tudor style.

Interior spaces of the Tudor include long narrow doorways, extensive use of strong simple woodwork- paneling, window frames, etc- and prominent, centrally located, large wooden staircases often visible straight to the upper story of the dwelling.  Many Tudors boast large reception foyers, great halls and generous room sizes.  These large spaces are complimented by more intimate design elements such as inglenook fireplaces and leaded glass geometric window patterns.

The Tudor building boom in Dallas reigned supreme from around 1900 to 1940.  In keeping with true Dallas tradition, Dallas architects and designers developed their own unique version of the Tudor and many striking examples can be found throughout East Dallas, Oak Cliff and other locations.  The M Streets area of the city has the highest concentration of Tudor style homes and cottages anywhere in the United States. 

Dallas Tudor design often entails the appearance of a true Tudor façade or exterior, combined with locally available and sustainable materials such as brick and stone.  Machine cut timbers replaced the more rustic hand cut pieces while still reflecting the country charm of days gone by.  Interior spaces were originally designed with the emerging “modern family” in mind.   Many existing Tudor style homes within the Metroplex have been remodeled, maintained and updated to 21st century standards.  Grand archways, sprawling shady lawns, tall spire chimneys and gracious elevations are benchmarks of the most significant Dallas Tudor style homes. 

The Tudor style boasts timeless appeal, elegant stature and country refinement- a testament to the richness of days gone by and a beacon of architectural significance

The timeless and elegant Tudor