Architectural Styles Around Richmond, Virginia

As one of the oldest major cities in the United States, Richmond features stunning examples of various architectural styles. Some of its oldest homes and buildings date back centuries, ranking Richmond as a top tier city for historical architecture. But the area is not without its share of modern homes. From brand-new builds to mid-century gems designed by world-renowned architects, there are many options in Richmond, if you know where to look!  

Historical Styles

To gain an appreciation of the city’s rich historical heritage and architecture, be sure to view some of the classic buildings and homes throughout the city. For instance, the Virginia State Capitol, National Historic Landmark and the second-oldest working statehouse in America, begins any discussion about Richmond architecture. Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, designed the building in 1785 with assistance from French architect, Charles-Louis Clerisseau. It is the first structure in the country to be designed in the style of first century roman temples. 

Many of the original beaded boards still remain in Wills House, a Federal-style building, which dates back to 1812. Once home to a wealthy local merchant who owned an entire block on North 27th Street, Will’s House is the oldest residence in the historic Church Hill North neighborhood. Just two doors down is Wills Store, believed to be the oldest commercial building in Richmond. 

Once owned by a father-and-son shoe manufacturer of the same name, the restored Putney Houses currently serve as offices for Virginia Commonwealth University. The Italianate style was and continues to be popular throughout the city. It’s marked by a loosening of the restrictions found in more rigid architectural forms (i.e. Greek) and distinctive low-pitched roofs, round-head windows, and arcaded porches.  

For endless examples of gorgeous historic homes, take a meandering drive throughout Church Hill, The Fan, The Museum District, and Northside. It’s like spending the day in a museum!  

A very popular style of architecture in the latter 20th century is what has become known as Neocolonial.. This style is loosely based on Georgian, Federalist and Colonial Revival architecture. Neocolonial has become popular because it’s economical to build and maintain, yet retains a classic feel. You’ll find a variety of Colonial styles in the older suburban neighborhoods surrounding Richmond, especially in the Near West End and Henrico, as well as North Chesterfield.

A Bit About the History of Modernism in Richmond

The modern movement arrived in Richmond in the 1930s when metal manufacturer George Edward Hoppe, Jr., built the first International Style home in the Maymont neighborhood.  Hoppe built 15 homes in the area and is generally considered as Richmond’s first true modernist. For the next three decades, architects like Bud Hyland (a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice), George Matsumoto, and Richard Neutra, made their mark as well.

Where to Find Modern Homes in Richmond

Modern homes are sprinkled throughout the Richmond region, but there are pockets where concentrated examples can be found. Highland Hills in Bon Air is one all-modern neighborhood. There are also a number of mid-century modern homes in Tuckahoe and Hillcrest, as well as in Southside along Riverside Drive and Cherokee Road. 

There’s been a wave of modern new home construction in the city over the last several years. Projects like The 2200 at Cary, Citizen 6, and GrayPark have continued Richmond’s modern architecture movement in the city. 

Whatever your preferred architectural style, Richmond offers so many options – certainly more than described here! Let me know if you’d like to explore!

Contact Michelle: 

804.833.2130 •

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