William G. Low House

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William G. Low House, Bristol, RI (1886-87, demolished 1962).

Now an icon of American architecture, the demolished William G. Low House was a seaside cottage at 3 Low Lane in Bristol, Rhode Island.

It was designed in 1886-87 by architect Charles Follen McKim of the New York City firm, McKim, Mead & White. With its single, exaggerated, 140-foot-long (43 m) gable, it embodied the tenets of Shingle Style architecture, which included horizontality, simplified massing and geometry, minimal ornamentation, and the blending of interior and exterior spaces.

The architectural historian Vincent Scully saw it as "at once a climax and a kind of conclusion" for McKim, since its "prototypal form ... was almost immediately to be abandoned for the more conventionally conceived columns and pediments of McKim, Mead, and White's later buildings."[1]

Just prior to its 1962 demolition, the house was documented with measured drawings and photographs by the Historic American Buildings Survey.[2]

According to architectural historian Leland Roth, "Although little known in its own time, the Low House has come to represent the high mark of the Shingle Style."[3]


  1. ^ Scully, Vincent (1955, revised 1971). The Shingle Style and the Stick Style. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780300015195. 
  2. ^ "Low, William G., House (supplemental materials)". Historic American Buildings Survey. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. May 1975. 
  3. ^ Roth, Leland M. (2001). American Architecture: A History. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. p. 246. ISBN 9780813336626. 

Coordinates: 41°38′53″N 71°15′48″W / 41.64806°N 71.26333°W / 41.64806; -71.26333

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