SPLIT LEVEL (1960-1975)

The split level, also known as a raised ranch or bi-level, is a two or three story elaboration of the ranch with more square footage. The split level developed in response to increased American wealth and increased family sizes, but maintained the horizontal orientation of the ranch. The form of the split level allowed for distinct separation of space. Service areas, quiet areas and lively areas were placed in different levels or wings of the building. The garage was located in the lower level on one wing. The other wing of the lower level contained the lively area of the home, usually a TV or game room. The upper floors contained living space and bedrooms. Bedrooms were often situated in one wing separate from the living areas.

Primary Stylistic Features
  • Horizontal massing.
  • Two or three stories.
  • Low pitch roofs.
  • Wing orientation.
  • Prominent garage incorporated into the design.
  • Large overhangs.
  • Large windows.
Secondary Stylistic Features
  • Composition shingles.
  • Elaborate entrance that may include sidelights, fan lights, broken pediments, pediments, porticos and decorative aluminum doors.
  • Plastic sidelights.
  • Jetties.
  • Applied shutters.

Evaluation Considerations

Split Levels are abundant in Alaska. Split Levels will be significant in a district context. The districts will usually follow subdivision lines and split levels should be the prevalent, if not the only, housing type in the district. To contribute to a district, the Split Level should retain a majority of the primary features. Additions must be sympathetic to the overall size, scale and massing of the original building.

Split Levels will rarely be significant individually. In those rare circumstances, the Split Levels should embody all primary features and all secondary features. For individual listing, Split Levels must retain a high level of integrity and be associated with a prominent builder, developer or designer. Additions and converted garages will render a split level not eligible for individual listing.

For Further Information

Miner, Curtis, "Picture Window Paradise," Pennsylvania Heritage 28 (Spring 2002), 12-21 (Levittown, PA)