Floor plans for Second Empire residences could either be symmetrical, with the tower (or tower-like element) in the center, or asymmetrical, with the tower or tower-like element to one side. The style can be divided into five subtypes:
- Simple mansard roof – about 20%
- Centered wing or gable (with bays jutting out at either end)
- Asymmetrical – about 20%
- Central tower (incorporating a clock) – about 30%
- Town house
The style was also used for commercial structures, and was often used when designing state institutions. Several psychiatric hospitals proved the style's adaptability to their size and functions. Prior to the construction of The Pentagon during the 1940s, the Second Empire-style Ohio State Asylum for the Insane in Columbus, Ohio was reported to be the largest building under one roof in the U.S., though the title may actually belong to Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, another Kirkbride Second Empire asylum. Second Empire was succeeded by the revival of the Queen Anne Styleand its sub-styles, which enjoyed great popularity until the beginning of the "Revival Era" in American architecture just before the end of the 19th century.When focusing on the envelope of a structure, I believe that the use of traditional materials is at the core of sustainable design in historic preservation. That's why I founded the Traditional Roofing Network and went back to school for a M.Sc. in historic preservation at UMass-Amherst. I provide competent, thorough and appropriate direction and services to my clients. Guided by the Secretary of the Interior's standards for the rehabilitation of historic structures, we find that the use of traditional materials provides the foundation for preservation planning and building conservation. Working with historic homeowners and the stewards of landmark structures, I am committed to preserving the heritage of the region’s built environment. Whether its replacing the flashings on an historic slate roof, rebuilding copper-lined built-in gutters, or repointing the façade of a 150 year old stone structure, I deliver quality and value to my clients.