Local architecture was shaped by both European and early American influences. The earliest architectural style represented in Pasadena and its surrounding environs is Victorian. However, Pasadena is mostly associated with the Craftsman style, which features dark and organic interiors. Many significant local architects also introduced Period and Revival style homes that were well received by its cultured and sophisticated residents. Period revival homes used attractive or romanticized elements, and their emphasis on brightly lit and open rooms reflected a reaction against the Craftsman movement. The Prairie style might be attributed to an influx of people moving from the Midwest. And indeed, the Prairie style home is quite at home next to the California Bungalow, as both appreciate honest craftsmanship and the simplicity and beauty found in nature. Craftsman and Prairie homes were reactions to the industrialization and heavy, non-functional ornamentation of Victorians. The low-profile Prairie Style houses and the informal Bungalow styles of the early 20th century paved the way for the popular Ranch Style, another prevalent style in the area. The turn-of-the-century architectural style known as Mission, or Mission Revival, was inspired by the historic mission churches built by Spanish priests and colonists. These homes became popular during the 1920’s, and they reflect a natural admiration and respect for California’s history. Cottage style architecture likely came to the United States as a result of a renewed interest in romantic housing styles. An outgrowth of the Queen Anne style favored for its storybook charm and design versatility, Cottage style was popular in many areas from 1915 to about 1940.
Pasadena and its surrounding areas represent a fascinating combination of many different architectural styles and cultures – blending form, function, and aesthetics to reflect its eclectic and ever-changing character. Old seamlessly blends with new, and serves to create a vision that is uniquely Southern California.