Municipal Building (1891)



Lancaster’s Municipal building is located at 120 North Duke Street. Initially, the purpose of this building was to function as a post office. However, in 1931, it changed its function to become Lancaster’s Municipal building. The building now occupies several government departments such as; city’s water works, mayors office, human resources, public works, building permits and planning. As it houses various departments, the building program utilizes an additive plan, in order to distinguish between the departments. As the additive plan is more flexible than the divisive plan, the building program was capable of changing accodring to the changing needs of society. Further, adding to the convenience is the use of two entry/exit ways. Having two entry/exit ways, eases and controls the clients/workers entering and exiting the building.


The system of construction is trabeated characterized by a box like shape. However, the box like shape is discontinued by the use of surface articulation and also arcuated windows. The building facade is slapped on by limestone under which are masonry walls holding the building up. There is no sign of the use of iron or steel.


The floors of the building are clearly distinguished by a horizontal element running around the building between the first and second floor. The arched windows make it possible to add large windows in order to gain light. The thickness of the walls are also visible as the windows are set back into the building allowing the walls to stick out. “The recessed doors and windows not only break up the surface but reveal the thickness of the wall”. The building is monochromatic and occupies a large area with a large scale. The roof of the building is a ‘hip roof’ made of copper.


The building is a decorated shed. Its monumental scale speaks of an important landmark in the city. The location of the building is near the center of the city or the intersection of east and west, bringing the citizens of the city together.


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