The Beaux Arts style is based on ideas taught at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the era’s most celebrated school of architecture. It is an eclectic style that combines ancient Greek and Roman forms with Renaissance ideas. It is characterized by elaborate ornamentation. Garlands, floral patterns, or shields decorate the wall surfaces, which are usually smooth, light-colored stone. Facades are symmetrical and feature quoins, pilasters, balustrades, window balconies, and columns, usually in pairs with Ionic or Corinthian capitals.
Because of the massive and elaborate nature of the buildings, Beaux Arts was the favored style of the period for museums, railroad terminals, courthouses, and government buildings.