C. Emlen Urban: Part 5

Urban makes house calls

Despite C Emlen Urban’s rising success in designing large scale and significant commercial, retail, and civic structures – he still made house calls.  Residential design is often where architects learn the trade and begin understanding how buildings are constructed.  Although smaller in scale, a private residence is just as complex, and often more demanding of skill, patience, time and knowledge than the larger public structures.  Urbans’ reputation for producing quality and innovative designs at all levels and styles resulted in residential commissions in Lancaster, Lititz, Millersville, Manheim, Marietta, Strasburg, Gap, Annville, and Hershey.

His residential design styles were as varied and unique as his clients and included:  Queen Anne, Chauteauesque, Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, Shingle Style, Beaux Arts, and Georgian Revival.  Each architectural style has its own ‘vocabulary’ of details, proportions, materials and overall character that must be taken into account when developing the plans and elevations.  For example, the Paired Mansions at 623-625 W Chestnut Street are designed in the Italian Renaissance Style and incorporate terra cotta ornamentation, low projecting tile roof overhangs with exposed rafter tails and distinctive recessed third floor balconies.  His design solution for these companion homes was so well received that he was commissioned to replicate them in New York City!

Read the full LNP Article:  Take a virtual tour: Lancaster’s most famous architect left his mark on private homes, too