Davidson Building 11-17 West Chestnut Street



The Davidson building was constructed in 1898 by C Emlen Urban. Based on my observations the ground floor was used for retail space, however at this time no shops occupy the storefronts. The bottom floor is divided into three separate storefronts. The client would have wanted the building to be designed so that it would attract customers from the street.  The upper three floors are all almost identical and probably serve a housing. From the symmetrical nature of the building we can see clearly that the architect designed it using a divisive plan.


The Davidson building is rectangular and is four stories high. From these observations we discern that the building has a trabeated or post and lintel system. Its simple box-like design gives off the impression of a sturdy structurally sound building. The building’s flat roof is characteristic of the trabeated system. On the first floor glass storefronts line the building. These were implemented in order to attract customers. Alternating beams in between the glass storefronts supports the building. The facades of the top three floors are covered by gold bricks making it impossible to se the internal structure of the building. Although Davidson is trabeated there are decorative arches on the windows of the fourth story.


The monochromatic gold color of the bricks of this commercial formal building sharply contrasts the brown brick structures surrounding it causing people passing by to notice it.  From a distance the gold color of the façade makes the building appear as if it were made out of stone. Pedestrians looking strait on at this building will notice the symmetry and glass storefronts that provide natural light for the shops. Large Windows placed repeatedly along the top three floors are characteristic of the symmetrical formal building and symbolize the modernity and efficiency of the commercial building.  Classical elements in the façade include decorative arches on top of the fourth story windows, and an ornate roof overhang which characteristic of many Urban designed building.


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