Author Archive

Week 4: Brunswick Hotel 3D Modeling

April 7, 2012

After examining multiple blueprints for the Brunswick Hotel at the Lancaster Preservation Trust last week, I decided to create a 3D model of the structure of the building. My model shows the placement of I-Beams in the building and allows us to see the support system of the hotel. I hope to use this model to compare it to other Urban tall office building as well as additional tall office buildings from Chicago built in the same time period.


Week 3: Tall Office Buildings

March 30, 2012


For my research this week my goal was to gather primary source information. I visited the Lancaster preservation trust to examine the drawings of the Brunswick Hotel.


Summary: At the preservation trust I looked at the floor plant for the 5th floor of Brunswick Hotel. This plan was identical to the 6th and 7th floors. Additionally I looked 3rd floor plan. The drawing I focused most was the foundation drawing. I used it to determine the location of the I-Beams. While the 5th floor plan had the location of the I-Beams it also included lots of other measurements that were not essential to my project. The foundation drawings provided clear locations of the I-Beams. I recorded the distances between the I-Beams in my sketchbook. Next I looked at the elevation of the Brunswick hotel. I determined that each floor was a total of 11’, however this does not include the 1’ I-Beam thickness, and the 3’’ floor thickness. Floors 2 through 7 had identical dimensions, but the 8th and 1st floors had different dimensions. In total the building had 28 I-Beams.

Dr. Kourelis, Sean and I began to catalogue the various drawings of the Brunswick Hotel. Dr. Kourelis took pictures of all of the drawings and will upload them to edisk. This will be a valuable recourse for our class in terms of looking at various architectural elements of the Brunswick Hotel.

With this primary source information, I will now take my project in a new direction. For next week I will utilize Google SketchUp to create a structural model of the I-Beams of the Brunswick Hotel. Along with the model, I will compare the structural ratios of the Brunswick Hotel to other C Emlen Urban office buildings built around the same time. I looked at the article To Build Strong and Substantial to get an idea of what buildings I would use as a point of comparison. I plan to compare the Brunswick Hotel to the Hager Building, Kirk Johnson Building, and the Greist Building. The problem I face with these other buildings is that the original plans are not available for them. I plan to visit these building and map out the dimensions by walking between the I-Beams and counting my paces. This method is can provide inaccuracy for two reasons. One measuring something by paces in not that accurate, and since the I-Beams are not exposed I have estimate their location based on the external structure of the building. However, for my purposes this will provide a good approximation of the structure of the I-Beams for the other Urban buildings.

Week 2 Research: Tall Buildings

March 26, 2012


This week after consulting with Dr. Kourelis I decided to slightly alter the direction of my project. I am now going to consider the ratio and dimensions of the steel beams in relation to the structure of tall office buildings in Lancaster. I plan to use the plans of the Hotel Brunswick in order to get a good sense of these ratios. I will compare these ratios to buildings built in Chicago during the same time period.  Additionally, I will investigate how steel production in Lancaster affected the similarities of steel ratios in buildings. I decided to focus more on the technical aspects of buildings rather than aesthetic features. Additionally, I continued my background research by investigating Chicago 1890.


I walked into Lancaster to observe the architecture of various tall office buildings. I looked at central market, which was a revolutionary building in its time. Although steel technology had not been invented yet, the building employed a structure of large wooden beams to create a large open space with a high ceiling. The high ceiling symbolized power and grandeur. Additionally I looked at other buildings that employed the use of steel beams. I examined specifically the ratio of window space to wall space.

Steel production in Pennsylvania continues to play an important role in architecture today. The steel beams that were used to construct the world trade center were produced in Coatesville Pennsylvania. Steel beams unlike wooden beams are highly specialized and require much more equipment to produce. I will try to prove that the complex steps required to produce steel beams lead to more homogeneity among structure ratios of office buildings. 

Chicago 1890:

The interior requirements of the tall office building codify for the exterior specification of the building. The middle floors of tall office buildings are very homogenous. In order to produce adequate natural lighting a large amount of windows must be present on the facade of the building. The invention of the steel beam makes is possible for the window to wall ratio to be high for these buildings. The increased natural light is crucial to making the building more attractive and increasing worker efficiency. A crucial invention was the service elevator. The service elevator was important for the growth of office buildings because it made travel to high floors feasible. The similar functions of tall office building lead to a very uniform formula for the construction of buildings.

Sullivan emphasized the difference between the architect and the mechanic. He argued that the architect’s skill was superior to that of the mechanic because the architect considered artistic expression. The tall office building is designed as a tower to be seen from three sides. Therefor, skyscrapers must be designed as 3d structures not 2d facades.

Next Week:

I will visit the Lancaster Preservation Trust to examine blue prints of the Brunswick Hotel. Additionally will search for san burn maps of buildings in Chicago to compare to the Brunswick Hotel.

Tall Office Buildings Research: Week 1

March 9, 2012


This week I investigated the book; Modern Architecture since 1900 in order to gain a better understanding of the multiple problems presented by the tall office building and the way in which architects addressed these problems. Additionally I revisited The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered in conjunction with my research. After I had acquired more background information on my topic of office buildings I began looking at primary source information. I investigated some pictures of office buildings from the Lancaster Historical Societies’ photographic database. I compared and analyzed photos with the information I found in my background research. The citation for my research can be found in my research proposal.   



I my readings I found that one of the most important problems that architects have overall is creating architecture that will achieve the perception they desire. Different cultural periods have a need for different building to express wants and needs. With rapid industrialization and the discovery of iron and steel, tall office building were called forth to symbolize this time period of rapid change. However, with these monstrous buildings came structural and aesthetic problems. Architects needed to maximize space, but they also were faced with the problem of how to ensure that natural light and air reached the center of the building. The problem of light and air was addressed by placing large bay windows repeated across the facades of the building. The windows would occupy such a large portion of the façade because of the structural strength of the iron and steel beams. The debate of how to aesthetically present and office building was addressed by Louis Sullivan as well as by William Curtis. Both texts emphasize the importance of the architecture transcribing the function of the building. Form fitting function was an essential characteristic of distinct American art during this time period. Additionally, the buildings should be based of nature and should have three parts.  The three parts of the building can be seen clearly in the picture of the Greist Building.


In this photo from the Lancaster Historical Society clearly depicts the three distinct sections of the building. The base of the building is a wide open space and much taller than the other individual floors. The middle floors are identical to each other and demonstrate that the function of these floors is identical to each other. The final top part is distinct from the middle floors it caps the building and probably contains the ventilation system. This tall building is bold and symbolizes power and achievement.

Tall Office Buildings Research Project

March 2, 2012


In my research project I will investigate how architects solve the complex problem of the tall office building and provide a solution in the form of a building that exudes power, pride, and glory; symbols of American achievement. I will look closely at primary source material from the Lancaster Historical Society and the Lancaster Trust Company for two Lancaster office buildings, the Greist building and the Brunswick Hotel. I will also look at the development of skyscrapers in Chicago as a point of comparison for Lancaster.

The starting point for my research was the article The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered.

Primary Sources:

Lancaster Historical Society:

Photos of Greist Building and Brunswick Hotel that are available on the photo database.

I will access these photos and will be able to closely observe the venustas of the two tall office buildings. These two buildings will serve as evidence in proving my thesis.

  • Paper about the Greist building and it’s significance in Lancaster’s urbanization.

  • Collection relating to William Walton Greist will be used to investigate the Greist building.

  • Collection relating to C Emlen Urban will be used to analyze office building in Lancaster.

Lancaster Trust Company:

From the Lancaster trust company I hope to further my analysis of the office building by comparing the venustas of these buildings to the firmitas. I will accomplish this by examining the sanborn maps of the Greist building and Brunswick Hotel. I hope it will give me insight on the symbolism and challenges of creating the buildings.

Shad-Fack Sources :

Benevolo, Leonardo. History if Modern Architecture . Vol. 1. Cambridge : The M.I.T Press , 1960. Print. 2 vols. This book will be used to examine the criticism that arose as a result of the creation of the industrial town. Also I will look at the rapid industrialization of Chicago in order to compare it to the grown of Lancaster

Curtis, William. Modern Architecture since 1900. London: Phaidon, 1996. Print. This source will help me gain a general background in the subject of architecture and skyscraper architecture. It looks and urbanization and how it led to the discovery of the skyscraper. Additionally I will look at the symbolism of skyscrapers in general. With this source I will begin to examine how tall office buildings can symbolize beauty and elegance.

Johnson, Scott. Tall Building: Imagining the Skyscraper. N.p.: Balcony, 2008. Print. This source will provide information on the socioeconomic conditions that lead to the rise of the skyscraper. Additionally this source will provide insight in the artistic interpretation of these massive buildings. Additionally I will look at how the building are perceived by observers. Note: this book was not available at Shad-Fack so I requested it via the E-Z borrow system.

Merwood-Salisbury, Joanna. Chicago 1890 : the skyscraper and the modern city. N.p.: University of Chicago, 2009. Print. This book will be used to gain more insight on the architecture of office building in chicago. Additionally I will compare the office building to those in lancaster and asses then from an aesthetic point of view.

Scully, Vincent. American Architecture and Urbanism. New York: Praeger, 1969. Print. I am using this source to examine the evolution of skyscraper design in major american cities. I will use this source to compare these buildings to tall office buildings in Lancaster.

Sharoff, Robert. American city : St. Louis architecture : three centuries of classic design. N.p.: Images Publishing Group, 2010. Print.

Sullivan, Louis H. “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered.” Lippincott’s Magazine Mar. 1896: 403-409. Internet Archive. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. <‌11/‌items/‌tallofficebuildi00sull/‌tallofficebuildi00sull.pdf&gt;.


Much of the beginning of the research project will be concentrated on gaining background information in the F&M Libraries.

Week 1

I will spend the first week investigating back ground information on tall office buildings and skyscrapers. The first book I will focus on will be Modern Architecture since 1900. Additionally I will revisit The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered to further my evidence.

Week 2

In week two I will continue with my background research. I will take notes on History if Modern Architecture and Chicago 1890: the skyscraper and the modern city. This week I will focus on getting information on modern cities other than Lancaster.

Week 3

This week I hope to wrap up the majority of my background reading and conclude the initial stage of my research project. I will look at American Architecture and Urbanism and American city: St. Louis architecture: three centuries of classic design. Depending on my progress I may begin to organize my paper this week or visit primary source material.

Week 4

This week I will read the book Tall Building: Imagining the Skyscraper and visit the Lancaster Trust Company to look at sanborn maps of Lancaster office buildings. Additionally I plan to visit the Lancaster Historical Society to examine more primary source materials and to look at the visual records of Lancaster office buildings.

Week 5 and on

I will continue to examine primary source material from the Lancaster Trust Company and the Lancaster Historical Society. I will revisit my background research as necessary. Additionally I hope to visit the Brunswick Hotel and Greist Building. I will organize my gathered materials and notes and begin to write my paper.

Tall Office Building Research Project

February 24, 2012

Throughout the first two decades of the twentieth century, Lancaster was a period rapid industrial and cultural development and change. The changes are reflected in the multiplicity of different buildings that were constructed during this time period. The over theme of this time period was the huge increase in industrialization and manufacturing.

In 1880 Agriculture was Lancaster’s chief source of wealth, however rapid industrialization was beginning to take place. A key change taking place was the transition from many small retail businesses to larger more versatile department stores. An architectural example of this trend is the Watt and Shand department store. From the blog posting I was able to learn that over time the department store acquired more building space and expanded until it occupied an entire block of retail space. The size of this building also indicated new technologies and materials were discovered that allowed for bigger buildings to be built. This demonstrates how new technology drives and is intertwined with cultural and architectural change. Additionally, the expansion of the department store clearly illustrates the trend of the decreasing presence of small retail stores. A consequence of this change is that some small storeowners may have been forced out of business; however, the thriving economy in Lancaster during this time period provided many additional jobs. Attractive buildings and job opportunities drew many people to the city.

As more and more people came to the city demand for goods and services continued to rise. Schuab’s building is a prime example of the type of building that sprang up in response to the demand for goods. Schuab’s was created knowing that there were many competing shops. The venustas of the building is very unique and invokes beauty and desire to help attract customers. Another example of building springing up to meet the variety of needs of consumers is Keppel’s building, which was a candy factory. With more people flocking to the city community interest in improving Lancaster was very high. An issue was the best way to improve the city. The solution provided was the Lancaster board of trade. One very important building they helped fund was the post office building which is currently municipal building. This government building helped symbolize the democratic ideal and provided a solution for the constant increase mail coming into Lancaster. In parallel with the creation of the post office, the police, fire department, and other government agencies became better funded. An interesting technological development that affected the venustas of buildings was the development of neon signs. However, they became so popular among stores that stopped being unique. Eventually the local government banned them. The sign example demonstrates the effect of new technologies have on every facet of the buildings. From an entertainment perspective, the Fulton Opera House provided residents of the city with a new source leisure.

During this time period, Lancaster became modernized through a series of rapid changes. The retail business was booming, manufacturing took off, and architecture flourished. Despite all of the rapid changes and new revenue it is important note that Lancaster was still very dependent on agriculture for money as well as for the rich inflow of natural materials.


In this project I will examine a variety of Urban’s office buildings. I will consider their utilitas, firmitas, and venustas of these building, and will analyze how these factors were affected by new technologies and cultural change that occurred in the early twentieth century. Additionally, I will look how Lancaster’s rapid industrialization helped contribute to and influence these building. I want to compare the symbolism Urban’s buildings to current American office buildings.


Davidson Building 11-17 West Chestnut Street

February 17, 2012


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.

West Orange Street 2-26

February 3, 2012

West Orange Street 2-26

(1886, 1891, 1912, 1929, Present)

I examined half a block on West Orange Street in Lancaster. The buildings currently occupying the space on these street have almost all existed in some form since 1886. All of the buildings were originally built using brick. However since they were built a majority of them have been altered reflecting the changing needs of the owners.


2 – 6 West Orange Street

In 1886 the space at these addresses contained a single three-story brick building that functioned as a barbershop. In 1891-1912 the building remained the same structurally, however it is unclear from the maps whether it was still a barbershop. In the 1929 map the three-story building was connected to a two-story building directly behind the original building. Today the building has been converted into part of a restaurant/lounge and is still brick material.

8– 10 West Orange Street

In 1886 the building that occupies this space was a three-story brick building that  was divided into two equal halves. It was connected to the building at 2 – 6 West Orange Street. From 1886-1891 the right half of the building (when looking at the facade from the street) occupies the same function, but the writing on the maps is unreadable. On the 1912 and 1929 maps the right most section serves as an office.  Presently the building is part of the same restaurant/lounge.  In 1886-1891 there was a one-story building directly behind the left section of the building and a two-story building behind the one-story building. In 1912 the length of the one-story building doubled, and the structure of the two-story building remained the same.  The structure of the two buildings has remained unchanged since then.  In 1886 there was a small alleyway in between 10 and 12 West Orange Street. The alleyway remained unchanged throughout the other time periods and remains the same today.

12 – 16 West Orange Street

In 1886-1891 the building occupying these addresses remains unchanged. It is unclear how many stories this building was or what its function was throughout this time period. In the 1912 map, the building was extended backwards and was four stories high. The building was a pharmacy in 1912. In 1929 the building had been converted into office space, but the structure appeared to remain unchanged. On the 1929 map the building is made out of brick and is 56 feet tall.  Currently the first story of the building serves as a pottery shop. The outside of the building has been redone and is now made out of white stone, which contrasts the red brick building next to it.  The façade of the building contains ornate carving under the windows.

18 – 20West Orange Street.

In 1886 there were two equal length brick three-story buildings in the space of these addresses. Two narrower connected building extend behind both buildings.  In 1891 the structures of all of the buildings are the same the two buildings in back appear to be no longer connected to the front buildings. It is possible this is because the buildings were undergoing constructing at this time. In 1912 both front buildings had been renovated and were then four stories tall. They were also connected to each other. The building at 18 West Orange Street had a three-story building in back of it and in back of that building is a smaller four-story building. The 1929 map shows no structural change to the buildings. Currently at 18 West Orange Street there is a small café called “Muffin Street”. At 20 West Orange Street there is a Citadel Bank. The out side of the building is still brick, but it has been painted over with reddish purple paint.

22-24 West Orange Street

In 1886 a two-story brick building occupied the space at this address. In 1891 the building remained structurally unchanged. In 1912 the building was modified so that it was four stories tall. Based on the map the original building appeared to be divided up into two separate structures. From the 1929 map I saw that the building was once again one structure and that it was 46 feet tall. Additionally a one-story building had been built directly behind the front building. The one-story building was connected to a two-story building that existed on the 1886 map. Currently, the first story of the building has a glass window front and is open for lease. The rest of the building is still made out of brick, but it is painted the same red purple color as the building on 18-20 West Orange Street.

26 West Orange Street

In 1886 a three-story brick building occupied the space at this address. This is building remained almost completely unchanged and appeared almost structurally identical in 1929.  Currently the building looks very different than it did in in 1929. The façade of the building is made out of white stone. However, the side of building provides us with a glimpse at what the building would have looked like many years ago. The side of the building is not covered in stone; the original brick material remains. Observations like these allow us to visualize what a city block would have looked like many years ago.


2-10 West Orange Street.


The old red brick building occupying the space at this location is a picturesque building.  Its additive structure is asymmetrical and helps conform to the need of the building. Unlike the other buildings on the street this restaurant/lounge has made no attempt to disguise its red brick façade. Although a restaurant owner would usually want their building to exude comfort and hospitality, the building reminds me more of a industrial type of building. Sporadic medium sized rectangular windows dot the façade of the building and provide natural light to the customers. However, the windows are either covered up or are opaque.



12-16 West Orange Street

Although this tall building is made out of red brick, the façade was constructed of a type of white stone that strongly contrasts the red brick building beside it. The building is formal as evidenced by its symmetrical shape and placement of windows. The top three floors have very large rectangular windows. The windows on the second floors have ornate decorative arches on top of them. The building has a flat roof; however there is a cornice. The ground floor is occupied by a pottery shop, and has a glass storefront that attempts to coerce customers to shop there. Four decorative columns at the front of the building help support the structure. These many decorative features are characteristics of classical style buildings.


18-20 West Orange Street

The building that occupy the space at this symmetrical and is has many of the characteristics of a formal building. Bricks painted a reddish purple color line the entirety of the façade. Widows are symmetrically across the top three floors providing natural light to the space enclosed inside. The windows on the second floor have arch shaped decorative features on them. These windows along with the cornice are aspects of classical architecture that are fairly common on this half block. On the ground floors glass storefronts help attract customers to the bank that occupies the storefront.


22-24 West Orange Street

This Symmetrical formal building is almost Identical to the building at 18-20 West Orange Street. However, it does have one marquee difference. In center of the first floor there is and arch that also serves as an entrance. The entrance is very eye-catching and is another example of the classical style of architecture. The arch could also possibly serve a structural purpose based on its placement. The architect wanted to design a unique entrance to attract customers to the storefront.


26 West Orange Street

The façade of building at this location was constructed out of white stones that contrast with many of the other surrounding buildings. Compared to the adjacent buildings the façade of this building is relatively plain. A distinctive feature of this building is the three huge black windows that contrast the white stone. Overall the buildings on my half block were building that drew much of their aesthetic features singularly from their facades.

Mary M. Gerhart Tomb, Lancaster Cemetery

February 2, 2012

Mary M. Gerhart was born in 1824 and died in 1866. Her first husband was Frederick S Hunter and after his death in 1863 she married Emanuel Vogel Gerhart in 1965. Her Three children from her first marriage, Nicholas R Hunter, Leonora H Leaf, and Mary H Pusey survived her.

Emanuel Gerhart served as the first president of Franklin & Marshall College from 1855-1866. During this time he also taught moral philosophy. I found a very interesting compilation of addresses given at the inauguration of Emanuel Gerhart. A passage from the speech of Gerhart sheds a little light on how radically different the college was in 1885. Gerhart said “the highest revelation of undoubted truth is at hand, in the person of Jesus Christ, who sustains an internal relation to all departments of science”. This quote displays the heavy emphasis on religion and theology at the beginning of the college.

Additionally, he was a graduate of the class of 1838 and served as the president of Heidelberg College and Mercersburg Theological Seminary. Notably, he raised $100,000 for Franklin & Marshall College and helped further its development.  Prior to marrying Mary, Emanuel had a prior marriage with Eliza Richenbaugh who died in 1964. After Mary Gerharts’ death Emanuel married Lucille Cobb in 1875 who survived him.