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Limestone in Beaux Arts

Apr 10

As a leading natural material for architects, Indiana Limestone complements certain established styles of architecture very well. Its ease of cut and durability make it an often-used material when trying to create a structure that has historical overtones attached to it.


One widely-used style is Beaux Arts. This style has been built over 250 years of architectural study and innovation, dating back to the French Revolution. The style permeated Europe and the United States, well into the previous decade.

Limestone is often used to create such sweeping works of architectural wonder, creating a sense of permanence. At the same time Indiana Limestone Company was being founded, Beaux Arts architecture was becoming quite popular in the United States. The Chatsworth Architectural blog says, “builders and architects who work in the Beaux Arts style in particular favor limestone not only for its beauty, but because it is easily cut, quite durable, and ideally suited for the decorative motifs that characterize the era.” These days, limestone residences in New York City are some of the most desirable properties for sale on the market.

Since becoming a breakout style in design in the late 1800s, architects have used this nod to historic detail in government buildings and museums. Take the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, for example. Twenty-eight thousand tons of Indiana Limestone was used to restore the building’s original facade and recreate the museum’s Beaux Arts detailing.  

Scholars theorize architectural styles like Beaux Arts use limestone because it was used in the construction of the Great Pyramids in Egypt and the Temples of Malta. Thousands of years later, those structures are still standing.

Today, thousands of structures worldwide use limestone to continue the nod to Beaux Arts. According to the Historic Indianapolis website, the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is a classic example of the Beaux Arts style. Featuring Indiana Limestone, it includes three-story monumental columns on and a balustrade along the roof line.

Beaux Arts is not easy to achieve, but the payoff for an architect is a stunning piece of work that can provide the centerpiece for any portfolio.

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