Research Proposal


Research Question:

-Since the start of the nineteenth century more and more iron beams have been incorporated into the construction of buildings and or to define the buildings as industrial or modern.   How is this shown in buildings in architecture and what can the architect’s decisions about these I beams or steel beams tell us about the utilitas, veritas and finally the venustas of the buildings, specifically in Lancaster Pennsylvania?


Research Hypothesis


-With all these sources including primary sources as well as the secondary sources I plan to investigate the use of I-beams in buildings specially in Lancaster and what those uncover about the buildings utilitas, veritas and venustas.  This will allow one to understand historic buildings from the inside out by means of the primary sources.


Primary Sources:

-Sources used will be the Martin Library archive room.  Primary sources will range from sand board maps as well other material such as elevation drawings and any other drawing that might provide an insight to the use of I beams in Lancaster buildings.  In conjunction with these primary sources trips to the Lancaster Historical Society will be made to insure the accuracy of the information and to apply the secondary sources, listed below, to gain a better insight on the reasons behind iron construction and its uses and meanings in Lancaster.

Secondary Sources (Books at Both Shadek-Fackenthall and Martin)

 Planned Works Consulted

Bogardus, James, Daniel D. Badger, and John W. Thomson. The Origins of Cast Iron Architecture in America. New York: Da Capo, 1970. Print.

Curtis, William. Modern Architecture since 1900. London: Phaidon, 1996. Print.

Gayle, Margot, and Carol Gayle. Cast-iron Architecture in America: The Significance of James Bogardus. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998. Print.

Giedion, Sigfried. Building in France, Building in Iron, Building in Ferroconcrete. Santa Monica, CA: Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1995. Print.

Peters, Tom F. Building the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1996. Print.




Preliminary Plan/Goals (Week by Week)


Week 1:


-I plan to read the Origins of Cast Iron Construction to understand the utilitas/ veritas and the origination of iron and how it came to be one of the most popular construction components


Week 2:


-The next week I will examine Modern Architecture, to again build my basic vocabulary for this research project and this source will also allow me to delve deeper into topics areas


Week 3:


-The pervious weeks would have been spent with these books to get a basic historical background and vernacular for the American architectural styles.  Having these skills I will spend week three reading Building in the Nineteenth Century, which will allow an understand of construction process and the plan an architect puts into a building and how placement of a iron beam can either be hidden or displayed to the public.


Week 4:


-The next week when all part of the American culture of construction and use of iron have been noted in the previous sources I will delve into Cast Iron Architecture in America.   This will explain both the use of iron and different types of structures that use iron for support and certain structures that use iron not only for structure but also ascetically.


Week 5:


-This week I will read Building in France, Building in Iron, this will inhibit me to understand the European aspect of Architecture, which is so prevalent in many cities such and Lancaster my main case study.



Week 6:


-After spending a large amount of my time in the library this week I will reserve to obtain and observe primary sources from both Martin libraries archives as well as the historical societies.  This is so late in the process so as all the background information can be process and so the drawings can be fully examined and the significance of the I-Beams explained fully.



Week 7:


-The remainder of the weeks will be spent either

a.) Revisiting topics that need more time spent on them

b.) Writing or creating a draft for the paper

c.) Working on the presentation for class and preparing slides and pictures which may involve revisiting the primary sources



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