Tudor Architecture in New York: The Story Behind Briarcliff Manor’s Distinct Look

Briarcliff Manor is a historic site in Westchester County that has inspired imaginations and awe for over 100 years.

For decades, Briarcliff Lodge was the crown jewel of Briarcliff Manor where the rich, famous, and infamous gathered to escape their everyday lives and enjoy some time away. In addition to its lavish furnishings and glitzy clientele, Briarcliff Lodge is remembered for its distinctive Tudor Revival architecture, which influenced builders and architects throughout New York.

Unfortunately, the original Briarcliff Lodge building burned down in 2003. Its legacy endures in the hearts and minds of those who remember the property’s majesty and rich history. As The Club at Briarcliff Manor prepares to open its doors this summer, take a look back to the origins of Briarcliff Manor’s distinct look, and the origins of Tudor architecture in Briarcliff Manor.

Tudor Architecture

Tudor style homes and buildings represent the last architectural revolution during the English Medieval Period.

Traditional Tudor homes were often sprawling manors, but Tudors of all sizes were built using brick, stone, wood beams, and stucco. Homes and other residential structures built in the Tudor style can be identified by several distinguishing design elements:

  • A steep gabled roof, often tiled with slate
  • Dormers punctuating the second-floor roof
  • An asymmetrical layout and appearance
  • Tall, ornate chimneys
  • Large clusters of windows, often in a diamond shape
  • Exposed beams encased in stucco or intricate brickwork
  • Arched entryways
  • Front porches covered by pillar-supported second-floor overhangs

Walter William Law

Walter William Law was an English immigrant who found success working for an upscale furniture and rug store in New York City.

In 1890, Law purchased the land that would become Briarcliff Manor. He turned the property into a large farm operation and oversaw the construction of meandering, tree-lined roads throughout the property, rather than a grid of streets. Briarcliff Farm was so prolific that Law added an agricultural school and a train station to the village, and built homes throughout the property for his employees.

The village of Briarcliff was incorporated in 1902, and Law hired an architect to design a grand hotel that was to be added to the Briarcliff Manor property.

Guy King

American designer Guy King learned the architecture trade at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and then returned to the east coast.

King mostly designed bungalows and cottages for resort town homeowners, although he designed several hotels, hospitals, and an aerial docking station for airships (known today as blimps). Law hired King to design Briarcliff Lodge, which officially opened in 1909. Standing four stories tall, the hotel featured 93 guest rooms, the finest furnishings, and incredible guest amenities.

King, like many of his contemporaries, saw airships as the future of travel technology, so he included an airship landing pad in his design for the roof of the Briarcliff Lodge.

Tudor Revival Architecture Today

Tudor Revival is an architectural style that does away with the most complicated and intricate aspects of the Tudor style in favor of simple, rustic construction.

Tudor Revival buildings imitate the modest characteristics of the style, including steep pitched roofs, half-timbers surrounded with intricate brickwork or stucco, large groupings of windows, tall chimneys, overhanging first floors, and dormers. Some modern Tudor Revival homes utilize thatched roofs, despite the difficulty and high cost of having them installed and maintained in the 21st century.

With lot sizes shrinking, many modern Tudor Revival homes located in neighborhoods are much smaller than traditional Tudor manors. The only way to achieve an authentic Tudor Revival home, inside and out, is to have the home created on a significant parcel by a custom builder who is familiar with the style.

Conversely, you can find an existing Tudor Revival to call home – like The Club at Briarcliff Manor.

Join Us at The Club at Briarcliff Manor

Discerning consumers recognize Westchester County as one of the premier places in the U.S. to call home.

The Club at Briarcliff Manor is excited to offer an upscale retirement community for those who appreciate the finer things in life. Opening in the summer of 2019, our community will thrive in a new, modern Tudor Revival building styled in the manner of the original Briarcliff Lodge, complete with tastefully refined interior décor and fine furnishings. We are also proud of our professional staff, from our gourmet chefs to on-site medical staff.

Retirement is changing, and retirement communities are evolving. Retirees want independence, options, and style in their retirement communities. We kept those concerns at the forefront during the design phase, and we are confident that you will find The Club at Briarcliff Manor exceeds your expectations for an upscale retirement community.

Call 914-505-6010 for more information about joining us at The Club at Briarcliff Manor.

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