Victorian houses in Phoenix - 1 (Phoenix, Arizona, USA)
The Rosson House is located on the edge of downtown Phoenix. The surroundings of the original site has been an open air museum for historical architectures, the Heritage Square. The impression that I had for the Rosson House was that it was modest rather than I imagined.
The Rosson House completed in 1895 was designed by Alexander P. Petit who had moved with his firm to Arizona after having succeeded in California.
As for this house, ornaments of an exterior appearance and the complicated roof of the Victorian style are pompous. Regardless of this house, a general evaluation of the Victorian style is not very high due to such over-decorated rivalry. So my impression for the Rosson House that it was modest may be imprudent. However, if a wealthy person like the owner, who became the mayor afterwards, was a doctor had built a house in Phoenix where must have had a lot of lands those days, it could have been natural to built a larger house. But, the design and the size of the Rosson House weren't related to such ostentatious air. I didn't expect that.
The house has 10 rooms for the floor area of 260 square meters, including a formal living room, a living room for the family, bedrooms and a room for employee. So it is modest for the bourgeois who had enough income, and the floor area of each room is a moderate size. Both of a formal space and a private space uses the same finishes like the wallpaper with a beautiful pattern or the tin ceiling board with an embossed pattern. In short, there is no difference between both. It means that the house was designed in consideration with the family.
The color and the ornaments are restrained. Even if the air is faintly bright, quietness produces a feet-on-the-ground sense. The reason why I felt a modest atmosphere was because the house was filled with concern for a calm family life rather than it spent money for a formal display.
According to "Housing production in USA" written by Hideyo Toda in 1998, the Victorian style house followed the cross type plan of a church as an expression of the recurrence to Christianity. The Rosson house also has the cross type plan even if it is observed inconspicuously in the complicated form.
The Victorian style house was compared to the beauty of the human's body proportion. Ornaments on a roof that corresponded to the human's head were regarded as important. In a house. In this house, delicate metal works on a yellow steel plate roof create a contrast with brick and are unexpectedly beautiful. A terrace was also an important element which connects a house with the nature created by the hand of God. The Rosson House has many terraces and generated a deep shadow under the strong sunlight of Arizona.
The good relation between the Victorian style house and the religious view lost substances soon and a house turned into the status which showed off belonging to bourgeois. In a decorative architecture, ornament competition would be inevitable. The component which seems to have produced carefully by local hand work at the first glance was supplied by the mail order system which developed in USA those days. That might be the background of the iffy evaluation of the Victorian style house.
However, the Rosson House seemed to have an original devout attitude appropriate for the Victoria style which had kept distant from the ornament for an ornament at the beginning.
15 minutes' walk from downtown Phoenix.
Rosson House Museum
Arizona Biltmore Hotel
Hotel San Carlos
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch
Royal Palms Resort and Spa
The Canyon Suites at The Phoenicia
2018.01 Photos and text in English version and Japanese version
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