Jeremy Casson: Architectural Styles of Europe

Having developed a passion for fine art at an early age, Jeremy Casson attended one of the UK’s top art conservation courses while studying at university. Today, he runs his own practice mentoring other conservators.

Beautiful street in Greece with balconies and trees.

From the Greek and Roman classic era to post-modern architecture, this article will explore a selection of European architectural styles, providing an overview of their background and key features.

Greek and Roman

Classical Greek and Roman architecture is characterised by stone posts and beam-bearing columns, with a heavy emphasis on geometry and symmetry. However, while the Greeks favoured the more rudimentary Doric column, the Romans opted to incorporate intricate decorative flourishes and ornate archways.

Running from 900 BC to the 1st century and 590 BC to the 4th century respectively, the ancient Greek and Roman architectural eras overlapped considerably, with their classic influences re-emerging time and time again in subsequent architectural styles.

Greek architecture Roman ruins and columns in Greece.


Adding to the Romans’ use of columns and arches with impressive domed ceilings and basilica structures, the Byzantine architectural phase continued for a thousand years, running from the 4th century to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453.

Originating from the imperial capital of Constantinople, this architectural style emphasised interior decoration over exteriors, frequently incorporating gold detailing and tile mosaics.

Byzantine architecture in Europe.


As the name would suggest, neoclassical architecture harks back to Greek and Roman architectural styles, with many 18th century structures somewhat resembling ancient Greek and Roman temples. With a focus on free-standing columns, elegant lines and an uncluttered appearance, buildings from this era tend to be vast, with prime examples including the White House in Washington D.C. and the Bank of England Building in Liverpool.

Neoclassical architecture in Europe, extravagant moldings on balcony.


Constructed during the reign of Queen Victoria of Great Britain, this architectural style is not limited to a particular design and incorporates elements of the Tudor, Romanesque and Gothic eras.

Millions of Victorian buildings still survive throughout the UK today, with the style having been adopted in the construction of residential homes throughout the industrial revolution. Victorian houses are characterised by a typical ‘dolls house’ appearance, incorporating vivid colours, elaborate trims and asymmetrical designs.

Victorian architecture in England.


Popular with many architects in the first half of the 20th century, this minimalist style prioritises the simplicity of form, with a clean structure, focus on functionality and distinct lack of ornamentation. The modern style took advantage of advancements in steel, concrete and glass and was embraced by some of the world’s best-known architects, including Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Modern architecture concrete office building.


Launched in the 1960s, the post-modern design movement bucked the trend of rigidity and austerity promoted throughout the modern era, incorporating decorative embellishments and artistic elements. Post-modernism drew inspiration from a mix of architectural eras, culminating in a new generation of whimsical, hybrid creations.

Prime examples of the post-modern architectural era include the Dancing House in Prague and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Post modern architecture, the dancing house in Prague.


The Biggest and Most Interesting Man-Made Underground Structures

Take a tour around the world by checking out some of the biggest and most fascinating man-made underground structures!

Underground structures can sometimes be even more incredible than above-ground structures. After all, while appropriately building both structures can be difficult, underground structures often have to deal with even more serious problems, including hydrostatic pressure and the sheer weight of any earth that may lie on top of the structure. Here are six incredible underground structures that have gone against that difficulty.

Deepest Subway Station: Arsenala Station, Kyiv, Ukraine | 346 Feet Deep

Photos By: Unsplash

Going down into the earth to visit a subway station definitely isn’t an inherently strange concept; the deepest station in the NYC subway system is over 150 feet underground. However, this is only about half of the depth of the Arsenala Station, which reaches a staggering 346 feet deep. This is because Arsenala is on a tall hill, but the next station is at ground level. To avoid the mechanical problems that could arise from traversing this hill regularly, the designers just decided to go through the hill.

Deepest Basement: Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia | 120 Feet Deep

Underneath the Sydney Opera House is a parking garage that doubles as the world’s deepest basement. However, it’s not just your ordinary parking garage. Though its initial design was just an underground square, as if the designers had transported a typical garage underground, they ran into troubles with regulations around fire escapes. Eventually, the final design became an underground double helix, making it as interestingly designed as the building it lies underneath.

Longest Underground Tunnel: Gotthard Base Tunnel, Erstfeld and Bodio, Switzerland | 35 Miles Long


The Swiss Alps are some of the most beautiful natural formations in Europe, but because of their massive rise in elevation, people have typically had to either go around or over them to get from one side to the other. This changed with the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which goes 35 miles from Erstfeld to Bodio, two municipalities in Switzerland. It cuts directly through the Swiss Alps, making it the first to create a flat route through the Alps. It was approved in 1992 but didn’t open to the public until 2016.

Deepest Building Foundation: Salesforce Tower, San Francisco, China | 310 Feet Below Grade

San Francisco is well-known for its tendencies toward earthquakes, which means that any tall buildings in San Francisco need to have equally stable foundations. Salesforce Tower is a 1,070-foot-tall building that has a foundation nearly a third of that size. It had to set new seismic safety benchmarks, with a unique foundation that ensures the tower won’t tip over. The base includes a
14-foot-thick concrete slab about an acre wide.

Biggest Underground City: Derinkuyu, Cappadocia, Turkey | 18 Stories Deep

Underground architectural feats didn’t get their start in the modern world. All you have to do to prove that is look at the Derinkuyu underground city, which is underneath Cappadocia. This huge network of tunnels was likely completed over a millenia ago, but it was mostly abandoned in the early 1900s. That means it stayed relatively untouched until 1963, when a man accidentally discovered an entrance in his basement. Nowadays, it’s a tourist attraction and a reminder that architectural wonders aren’t limited to the modern era.

Deepest Underground Research Center: Jinping Underground Laboratory, Jinping, China | 7,900 Feet Deep

Doing research underground can be hugely useful for extremely sensitive physics experiments. On the surface, cosmic radiation can influence the results; a mile underground, that influence is reduced by a factor of 10 million. This is exactly why the Jinping Underground Laboratory, which is inside a former gold mine, was created. Here, scientists research unique concepts, including dark matter and neutrino physics, assured that cosmic radiation plays as miniscule a part as possible in their research.


Underground structures have always been interesting to look at. Whether you’re researching the most incredible skyscraper foundations or you’re just looking at your own basement, it’s a constant reminder that humans love to create things, regardless of what those things are.


Deciding On An Architectural Style For Your First Home

If you are building a custom home, one of the important decisions you have to make involves selecting the right architectural style. This is an exciting stage, thanks to the many architectural styles you can go for. However, it is essential to find a style that you love and also follow the homeowner’s association and deed restrictions in your neighborhood.

Photo By: Cornerstone Architects

If you have not made up your mind about the architectural style to go with, read on.

How to Identify Your Architectural Style

When looking for your dream home, there are many resources you can use to learn about what you like and would work for your family. Here are some tips that will help you:

  • Drive through different neighborhoods and take photographs of homes that you like. You may need to visit different custom home communities to get as many ideas as possible.
  • Search online for images of custom homes that you love. You can find exciting architectural styles on Instagram, Houzz, Dream Source Home, Homebuilder Digest, and Pinterest.
  • Browse various interior design magazines to look for inspiration. Some great choices include Veranda, Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Dwell, Luxe, and Architectural Digest.
  • Consider your environmental and lifestyle needs when evaluating potential architectural styles for your home.

Photo By: Coats Homes

Common Architectural Home Styles

Let’s now look at various home styles.

Modern Style

The Modern style features a geometric residence. Most of the time, the design encompasses a flat roof and clean lines. The floor plan is usually open and spacious, while the windows may extend from the floor to the ceiling. The typical materials used in Modern style architectural design include reinforced concrete, steel, and glass. If you are unsure about an architectural style, both real estate agencies and design studios can order a 3D-rendering in a professional studio in order to see the final result of the architect’s project. This way you can get a better picture of how your home will look like once finished. 


Mediterranean designs feature both indoor and outdoor living. The styles are based on a combination of Spanish, Italian, and Moorish architecture. The architectural designs typically feature large, open outdoor spaces complemented with plants and other natural elements. Mediterranean architecture designs have low-pitched roofs and clay tiles. The layout is usually asymmetrical, which is common with exposed beams and archways.

Photo By: Elite Cabinet Designs


Spanish architectural styles are easy to identify, thanks to their red-tiled roofs and stucco exteriors. The traditional designs tend to have central courtyards for outdoor living. This design features windows and doors carved from wood. The windows are typically small, allowing light but not too much heat. Spanish style homes have low-pitched roofs, and wrought iron is usually used for decoration.

French Chateau

French Chateaus typically feature dramatic chimneys and steep-pitched roofs. The homes tend to be rectangular and have relatively open main living areas. However, the rooms are a little more discrete. French Chateaus have conical shapes and can have three or more levels.

Photo By: Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

French Country

French Country homes are more straightforward and less ornate than French Chateaus. The residences are smaller, and the rooflines are less extreme. The interior typically includes high ceilings, and the floor plan is symmetrical. Hip and gabled roofs are typical of French County houses. For the exterior, the homes feature antique bricks or stones.

Common Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid

After deciding on the architectural style, it’s time to start searching for a house. Here are some tips that will help you avoid the common pitfalls many first-time homebuyers make:

1. Not researching and preparing well

Before starting your search for a new home, understand your family’s finances and needs. Analyze your existing assets and liabilities and get pre-approved for a home loan before starting house hunting. Remember, you are not just buying a house, but also the location. Therefore, find out as much as you can about the prospective neighborhoods where you’d like to live. Some of the things you should check include transport, crime level, quality of schools, and possible upcoming zoning issues. 

2. Choosing the wrong mortgage

To have a bargaining chance, get pre-approved for a loan before going house hunting. Don’t just search online or use an online calculator to get an idea of how much you can borrow. Hop over to this site to find out more on home loans. There is no room for assumptions here. Get in touch with your mortgage broker and find out how much you can get pre-approved for. The lender will consider different factors to determine how much finance you are eligible for. Get quotes from different lenders and compare them before making the final decision on the party to sign a contract with.

3. Being influenced by the market

When searching for a home, your needs should dictate the type of house to go for. Don’t be influenced by “the market” more than your own needs. The real estate market always experiences a cycle. Sometimes, it’s a buyers’ market, and prices are low. Other times, it’s sellers that are having a field day. However, when you need a home, do not let the market dictate your decisions. For instance, do not postpone buying a new home because of market conditions. You cannot predict the market cycle, and failing to act in anticipation of upcoming cycle trends is gambling with your future.

4. Buying an expensive home

An expensive home is one that is beyond your budget. When you start house hunting, you will come across many properties that are beyond your budget but look just too lovely to pass. However, do not be tempted to buy a house that is outside your budget. Doing so can leave you in serious financial trouble in the future. When lenders approve you for a loan, they know that you are capable of paying it back based on your past transaction history and other factors. Spending more on a house than you had budgeted can leave you exposed to potential financial shocks, for example, rising interest rates.

5. Falling in love with a house

If you have found a home that you love, do not let the seller’s agent know. Agents can be very aggressive and persuasive when they know that you are interested in a particular property. The professionals are good at reading emotions. As a buyer, there is always a house for you at the right price. You need to know where to look and be patient. If you cannot afford a home, move on and keep looking. Avoid the mistakes above when searching for a house to buy.


How to Bring a Modern Touch to Your Home Design

Interior design trends change all the time. Every few years, some new style is in vogue. To accommodate buyers’ tastes, developers start incorporating new trends into the houses they build. Flippers renovate houses to become more modern and on-trend. Whether it’s installing kitchen islands, matte black appliances, or integrating smart technology into a home, there’s always something new to be added.

Photo: Best Builders ltd

You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to follow every trend that pops up. It’ll also be a huge hit to your wallet if you’re always taking on new projects to upgrade your house. The best thing for homeowners to do is to identify which trends seem to last longer and which upgrades give the best return on investment. There are upgrades you can make to your home that make it more modern and stylish that you can enjoy now and increase the value of your place for a future sale. Here are a few ways you can bring a modern touch to your home design.

Simplicity as a Style

If you’ve ever walked into a modern home or seen one in a magazine, there’s a key reason why it looks so smooth and clean. There aren’t clothes lying around everywhere. The floor isn’t scattered with toys and they don’t have four different sets of plates in the kitchen.

Modern design is all about minimalism and simplicity. It doesn’t mean you go without; it just means you have less but better things. When you stop buying everything you come across, you have more money to buy designer furniture, quality sheets, and nicer clothes. Modern living is a state of mind that projects into your home. Think about what you can get rid of. Clear things out you don’t use. It will be cathartic, and you’ll have more space to play with.

Contrasting Colors

One of the latest modern interior design trends is starkly contrasting colors in the same room. People love black on white, dark blue on white and other high contrast colors. The significant difference in colors draws the eyes to the shape of furniture and other finishes around the house. It also makes splashes of color pop more, so the bowl of lemons on the kitchen counter, or the colorful art on the wall gives the house more. You can have fewer pieces around your house with the same impact.

Fashionable Finishes

Upgrading your home finishes is always a good bet when you’re making your house more modern. Stainless steel has been in style for decades and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While you’re in the kitchen, think about giving your counters and cabinets an upgrade. Sleek lines with discreet handles are the trend and will bring more attention to the colors and style of the kitchen when things are more uniform.

One thing you can consider is replacing your kitchen countertops. New countertops have a great return on your investment and look fantastic. Two of the most popular countertop stones, according to Marble.com are quartz and granite. Quartz has become much more popular in recent years because it’s produced in factories. That means you can do more with it like make rich dark colors that contrast well against white or cream walls. Quartz is durable, easy to clean and maintain, and can be custom made for most shapes and sizes in a kitchen.

Granite, on the other hand, has been the go-to kitchen countertop material for years. It’s a lovely natural stone that comes in many shapes, tones, and patterns. It’s stain and heat-resistant but is a natural stone, so it will need regular sealant applied to keep water and grime from getting inside the surface. Whichever material you choose, new countertops are one of the best ways to make a house more modern and you can find more information at Slab Market.

Integrate Nature

After you’ve whittled down your home interior to the bare essentials for simplistic, modern design, it’s time to integrate some natural touches. Wood is a major part of modern interior design. Homes in Europe and Japan where modern design is so heavily emphasized, love wooden floors, railings, and other natural finishes. Natural materials are soothing. They bring a calming mood to the home. If you have some room in your budget, think about enlarging bedroom and sitting area windows to give better views of a yard or some trees to bring the outside in.

Another great idea that’s affordable as well is to buy some plants and place them strategically around the house. Don’t overcrowd a room with plants, but a plant in a corner that adds a bit of greenery to your living room or bedroom tie the modern design together nicely. The best thing about plants is that you can move them around every once in a while to give a room a change and a new look.


Top 10 SketchUp Tips for Experts and Beginners

SketchUp is a powerful modelling application that offers far more than the mix of features that are found in the conventional software that has been widely used for over two decades.

The application is designed to be highly flexible so that you can design anything from a small battery to a full city block without having to swap between different programs. When you can design everything in one place, you can afford to invest more into automating and optimizing your workflow to get more work done.

Given the broad range of tools that SketchUp includes, putting together a comprehensive list of all the application’s features would be impossible. Nevertheless, in this SketchUp guide, we managed to pick the top 10 techniques for using the functions and add-ons that make SketchUp one of the best modeling tools available. We have touched on a broad range of issues that are suitable for both basic users and advanced professionals. Let us know on social media how we did on this SketchUp tutorial so that we can continue to give you the best content possible!

1. Use Groups and Components to Organize Your Work

Many beginners struggle to use SketchUp because they fail to make effective use of groups and components when they first start. Groups and components are tools that let you edit subsections of your model without having to worry about messing up its overall structure. You can, then, use the SketchUp app to make modifications like you would if you were duplicating objects to avoid impacting the original model with potentially erroneous changes. The best part about SketchUp is that once you are satisfied with your work, you can also use groups and components to modify all copies of an element at the same time.

2. Make Use of SketchUp’s Object Library

Modeling software typically offers powerful tools, but it generally fails to include a library of base content to help you get started. Thankfully, SketchUp has added a robust warehouse of content that you can download from the internet. The library continues to grow as both SketchUp’s developers and members of the developer community add more objects. Some of the objects that exist include characters, shrubs, couches, and other everyday items. The objects are, of course, available for unrestricted use, and you can modify them completely.

3. Include Imagery from Google

One of the little-known facts about SketchUp is that Google purchased it over a decade ago in 2006. At the time, Google was investing heavily in satellite imagery since it knew that mapping software would have a massive impact on the future. When you use SketchUp, you can take advantage of all the functionality that Google built to import satellite maps and three-dimensional objects from Google Earth. Since content from Google Earth can be used with no copyright restrictions, this library can function as a logical starting point for advanced projects.

4. Make Use of the Follow-Me Tool

Creating advanced spheres is ordinarily difficult, but SketchUp makes creating these objects as easy as possible. All you must do is create two circles that intersect before turning one of the rings on its central axis to create a perfectly spherical object. To confirm your work, you can even use the SketchUp protractor tool to ensure that everything lines up with exact precision. Learning how to use the follow-me tool effectively can cut hours of modeling work down to just a few minutes.

5. Use Soap Skin and Bubble

One of the best add-ons for SketchUp is Soap Skin and Bubble. The plugin lets you turn flat surfaces into a mesh, but it also comes with a particular function that enables you to expand one side as if you are inflating a balloon. You can, then, inflate or deflate the object to create complex structures that can make your model look outstanding.

6. Take Advantage of Textures and Material Properties

SketchUp comes with a robust texture editor that lets you easily modify and create new textures without switching to different applications. Additionally, you can also edit material properties using SketchUp to make sure the planning of your textures look right from different angles and in high-contrast settings. The application even includes access to a free material library that offers metals, plastics, stone, and other common materials.

7. Explore Presentation Features

Professionals often use SketchUp for its unique animation features that are easy to use. However, the animation features are so usable that many architects and other designers use SketchUp to create interactive presentations that let clients quickly flip through sections of a model to make sense of it. You can, for instance, create an animation that pans the camera from one floor to the next inside a building that you are designing.

8. Take Advantage of Rendering Software

Although SketchUp lets you use expensive rendering tools from leading vendors, there are also several high-quality rendering tools that you do not have to pay for. You can, for instance, use Indigo Renderer as an alternative to 3DS Max or V-Ray. If the cost of rendering software is holding you back from starting to use SketchUp, make sure that you give SketchUp’s free rendering tools a try to see if they will work in your situation.

9. Organize Your Toolbar Effectively

You will get the most out of SketchUp’s available functionality when you stay highly organized. To use the hundreds of add-ons that it takes to speed up your workflow, take the time to learn how to use SketchUp’s “hide” and “selection” tools. Thereby, you can download every plugin you want without having to worry about turning your toolbar into a cluttered mess.

10. Learn More on the SketchUcation Forums

In this SketchUp guide, we were only able to cover 10 of the many essential tips. If you want to learn more, you can visit the SketchUcation forms to read high-quality posts and SketchUp tutorials from both experts and beginners. By learning from the community, you can quickly get up to speed on all SketchUp’s functionality so that you can start building the models of your dreams.