After a request I got on my Aeria city thread, I've made this little guide to help people who want to build steampunk stuff. By steampunk I really mean victorian/art nouveau architecture which they can then spice up with pipes and gears and whatnot.
Right, forward into the guide.
The first thing you want to do before you start is decide what kind of build it is. The build for this guide is a simple bookshop and house above it. For this type of build, it's all about making a detailed but repeated section. However, if a building is more important or bigger, like a town hall, public work or mansion, then you have to make several sections that are unique in order to make the build more interesting. Examples from Aeria are the museum, police station and clock tower.
Secondly, you need to decide the main flavor of the work. There are two main ones with subparts for victorian architecture, rounded and not. This isn't the overall design so much as the details on the build. The bookshop for this guide is rounded.
Now, we get into the pictures. A key thing to note about victorian architecture is that it has 'sections', meaning each floor or a group of floors is different. This build has three floors and three sections, but taller builds still only have around 3-4 sections, in groups.
The lowest windows in this build are really wide, and the first floor is really tall. However, every floor has higher ceilings in proportion to size than most other styles' with the same bookshop house idea.
You can use an advanced texture pack to make different kinds of glass for different floors
As you can see in the pictures, the windows are either rounded or have rounded awnings, and I've used depth (the white frame and red wall) to make it more interesting and easier to add to.
This is the wall pattern used on the whole building, with a piece cut out for a doorway
Next we have the roof. There are three main kinds of roof for really victorian architecture that are unique to this kind of work, called concave, convex, and flat. Here are the types in order:
For this build I'm using concave, because it suits a small build better.
Next we add dormer windows. Notice that the windows also have the round theme.
Now we add some exterior detail. The exterior is only slightly steampunk, with its mildly altered architecture and multiple chimneys. You can make it more steampunk by adding things like balconies, extra windows, pipes, machinery, smokestacks and things that connect the building directly with the city.
Now for the interior. A hard part with building victorian stuff is the ceilings are really high. Not just for detail, they are quite simply tall in proportion to the building itself.
These are all pictures of the floors going up. On the lower floor we have the actual bookshelves and counter. Shelves and things help to make the high ceiling feel less huge and more 'spacious for purposes'. The next floor is the living floor, consisting of kitchen, dining and living room in one open plan. The third floor is the bedroom floor, which is divided into actual rooms.
These pictures show both methods and inspiration.
A few tips to take away for general victorian/steampunk stuff
Decide what the building is before starting. Make sure to keep in mind the needs of the building, i.e. large shop floor for businesses, wide and flowing rooms for mansion, functional dividing for police station, etc.
Use depth and either a rounded or not rounded theme to make the build look interesting and also intelligently made. Don't switch between themes unless that is an artistic choice and keep the same amount of depth or shallowness throughout
Steampunk is victorian dressed up in hissing technology. It is important to have a build that, if stripped of its bells and whistles, still looks like a building and can have its purpose guessed.
Make different floors or sections of floors unique in their style points, i.e first floor huge and spaced, second wide but decorated, third concise, etc.
If something begins to look really repetitive, you can bring a section out and edit it to be different from others, i.e. the doorway section and everything above it can be made to have big windows on each floor.
I hope you found this guide informative and helpful!