Treatment FOCUS: Frank Furness' Architectural Drawings
In the case of architect Frank Furness (1839-1912), one can easily see how the buildings are the product of the man. Furness has been described as hotheaded and difficult, as well as pioneering and imaginative. Critics and admirers alike have called his buildings challenging, even outrageous, but they also agree that they are daring and original.
Furness’ designs typically combined several schools of architecture. He would then add new elements inspired by the materials and forms of the American industrial age; for example, he incorporated brick, iron, chimneys, and skylights, once seen mostly in factories. The result was a unique style that found appreciation in Philadelphia, then a major industrial center, during the 1870s and 1880s. Clients felt that each Furness building—whether a factory, hospital, school, or library—transmitted an energy that complemented the work conducted within it. Furness designed more than 600 buildings, most located in the Philadelphia area, shaping the look and feel of the city.