The Adam or Federal Colonial architecture style was the dominant style of architecture in the United states around the period of 1780-1820’s. It came about as a refining development of the earlier Georgian architectural style. The term Adam style has it’s roots in the work of the Adam brothers. They had a large architectural firm in Britain during the time of this French Colonial popularity. Robert Adam’s design influences and techniques were prominent in this style. People often refer to Federal Colonial style as the English Adam style in America as a result of his influences.
Federal Colonial architecture is usually a simple box like that of the Georgian colonial style, french colonials, dutch colonial, and early classical revival architecture. It is usually a two story with two or more rooms deep. You will always see the windows and doors arranged in a symmetrical pattern. What makes the federal style different from other colonial styles? Architects sometimes modified the boxy design with projecting wings on one or both sides to add additional living space.
Features that identify Federal Colonial architecture
Identifying features of the federal colonial architecture style include many elements. A fanlight over the front door with or without sidelights is a key feature. In addition, the fanlight is usually a semi-circular or elliptical shape. Decorative moldings emphasize the front door in many cases. Windows have double-hung sashes with 6 panes per sash. Furthermore, the home is built with windows aligned horizontally and vertically in a symmetrical pattern five rank on the front facade. The windows are never in pairs; however, Palladian style windows in three parts are common above the front door. Architects generally design Federal Colonial buildings with hip roofs. However, they can be design with a gable roof. This Colonial style is also commonly seen with and without covered entries.