Research Summary, Week 4

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This weeks research consisted of a look at the utilitas, firmitas, and venustas of Harold’s Furniture store in hopes of further comparing it to the Woolworth Building in New York.  The building in Urban’s eyes was a scaled down high rise commercial structure that shadowed the Woolworth Building.

Utilitas


The building was originally constructed in 1921 to house the Keystone Furniture Company’s store.  However, the building became the Harold’s Furniture Store, which it is labeled as presently, across the building in 1945.  The reason for this switch in tenants is unknown, but research will be done concerning the occupants of this Gothic Revival structure.  Additionally, the year when Harold’s Furniture Store no longer occupied the building will also be figured out.  Because of the basic design of the building, it seems appropriate that a furniture store, or any store, would be suitable.  This is because of the large plate-glass windows that rest on top of the granite base on the first floor.  Furthermore, the building would be able to contain office space.  In fact, the building currently houses the Lancaster Historical Society’s headquarters while the original location is being renovated.

Source: http://www.loc.gov/

Firmitas

The structure contains large glass windows as stated before.  Part of the first floor is made accessible to the passerby in the hopes of attracting them into the store through use of display cases.  Above the window display are three stained-glass openings.   Urban utilized the attractiveness of Gothic style glass when designing the building.  The stained glass without a doubt gives it a distinct look:

The structure itself is made of steel and is approximately six stories tall, and is divided into three bays by pilasters.  As mentioned before, the base of the building is made of granite, a sturdy base that prevents any weathering or deterioration.  Urban designed features such as pilasters, lintels, and mullions in order to 1) ornate the building as much as possible in order to project a Gothic style to those that look at the building and 2) attract the eye of the general public.  The building is mostly clad in limestone, with the second floor up is clad in clay terra-cotta.  The letters that spell out ‘Harold’s’ and the address of the building are ornate gold.

Venustas

The facade of the structure has a distinct “crenellated parapet” (Boyce) that rests at the top.  Shields, ribbons, floral designs are present within the ornate peak of the building.  Without a doubt, the top of the Harold’s building is what sets it apart from other buildings in downtown Lancaster, and such was probably the goal of Urban and his work.  While the materials used on the building itself are similar to that of other buildings designed by Urban, the decorative features are much more intricate than the rest.  Therefore, the beauty of the building rests within the sudden realization of the parapet as the onlooker scans the building from bottom to top.  This same analysis technique is implied in the Woolworth Building’s peak:

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One Response to “Research Summary, Week 4”

  1. Niche Says:

    In this posting on the Harold Furniture store you do not mention where it is located. It looks familiar, so I think it’s in Lancaster, but where? Thanks.

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