Second Empire architecture

For Second Empire architecture in Europe, see Second Empire architecture in Europe.
For Second Empire architecture in the United States and Canada, see Second Empire architecture in the United States and Canada.

Second Empire is an architectural style, most popular in the last half of the nineteenth century and early years of the twentieth century. It was so named for the architectural elements in vogue during the era of the Second French Empire.[1] As the Second Empire style evolved from its 17th century Renaissance foundations, it acquired an eclectic mix of earlier European styles, most notably the Baroque, often combined with mansard roofs and or low, square based domes.[2]

The style quickly spread and evolved as Baroque Revival architecture throughout Europe and across the Atlantic. Its suitability for super-scaling allowed it to be widely used in the design of municipal and corporate buildings. In the United States, where one of the leading architects working in the style was Alfred B. Mullett, buildings in the style were often closer to their 17th-century roots than examples of the style found in Europe.[3]


  1. Copplestone, Trewin, ed., World Architecture: An illustrated history from earliest times, Crescent Books, New York, 1963 pp.310-311
  2. Copplestone, p. 310.
  3. Copplestone, p. 311.
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