Here’s a different kind of post than than my usual. After reading an article about a design competition in Wilmington for DCAD students I was able to track down Aliyah Pair, who specifically cited Frank Furness as being an inspiration in her design. What follows is a short interview with her about Furness and her work on this project. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Aliyah’s work and am hopeful that she will get to see her design put to use in Wilmington.
1) Can you tell me a little bit about yourself as a sort of introduction to you and your work?

Well of course my name is Aliyah Pair, I’m 20 years old and original from Richmond VA. I’m currently a second year student at Delaware College of Art and Design, studying Interior Design. When I first decided to go to art school, I wanted to be a Fine Arts major but decided before I started my first semester to come in as an Interior Design major. I believe that my style as a artist is reflected in my design work. I love color and my artwork is usual very organic and I think that people can see the connection of both of my crafts.


2) What is this project?

The City of Wilmington, is looking to redesign bus shelters in the area and the people who are commissioning and building these new shelters decided that they would like each student out of the ID Program to design a shelter that had to be inspired by the city of Wilmington in someway, and from there they would pick one design to be chosen to build.


3) Can you describe your design?

The focal point of my design is the clock that is mounted in the front of the structure . I used a lot of brown stainless steel, that is bent into these curvilinear forms that are seen surrounding the clock and the glass side windows of the shelter.The overall form is organic showing some Art Nouveau influence but it also captures the essences of “Old Wilmington”


3) Where do you see the Furness influence in it?

The clock, Furness is known for putting clocks on the exterior of this building, I also included brick work for the ground material of my shelter, which relates back to the masonry that is commonly seen on Furness’s  buildings.I included  tile roofing, which is another element frequently seen in Furness’s work around Wilmington ( that reddish- brown tile roofing that is usually seen in a scalloped pattern). My color scheme is within the same color palette of Furness’s work in the area, the brown and reddish- brown tones.


4) What did you do to harness your inspirations for the project? 

I did visit his local work in the Wilmington area.
(The Amtrak Station)

(and The Kumba Academy)
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Security_Trust_and_Safe_Deposit_Co,_Art_Work_of_Wilmington,_1893.jpg
I also took a trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum where they had some biographical information on him.

5) How did you come to learn about Furness?

Through my studio teacher, Ian Tornay. He’s a fan of his work. Furness is a prominent figure within the design world, and as a design student, it’s important to know who he is, so we cover his work in my Modern Space Class.


6) Do you have a favorite of his work?

 The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, its absolutely beautiful.


7) What do you feel he offers the contemporary architect/designer?

He offers time-less design, there’s something very beautiful about the innovations that’s seen in his work. I can see an influence of medieval with the heavy masonry and Greco-Roman with those columns but by no means is he trying to mimic or start an revival with his work. he taking  techniques from eras before his time and manipulating them to fit his own personal style. He creates work that stands in its own category. I feel like his work is always going to be attractive to the eye, and designers and architects of any generation can be influenced by is work.


8) Do you see your self using elements of his in the future?

I’m pretty sure I will, being in the Philadelphia/ Wilmington area where his work is so prominent, its inspiring as a designer to see it everyday and really get to analyze his work. I’m sure it will find away to sneak its way back into the work that I do.

I received an anonymous ask sharing more info on the pronunciation of the Furness name. So here’s another piece to add to the story:

There is a far clearer story on how to pronounce the name - when George Wood Furness, Frank’s grandson, was introduced by the dean of Penn’s school of architecture as “George Wood Furn-ness,” he leaned over to the dean and said “middle-class.” The reality is that the Furness pronunciation is characteristic of Scotland - but was messed up by Betty Fur-ness.

furnesque:

This is a long-time-coming post on the pronunciation of the name “Furness”. A while back I received a message asking me:

What is you opinion on the correct pronunciation of FURNESS? I came across a video on Youtube about Frank Furness and was surprised the narrator said “FURNACE,” an in the thing that heats your house.
— davidjgill

Based on discussions with family members and other scholars of Furness, I can confidently say that the family uses a pronunciation like “furnace” rather than the commonly heard “fur-ness”.
From The Current: Politics, Literature, Science and Art in May 1888:

"Not many years ago there were in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia four eminent Unitarian clergymen, by the names Bellows, Furness, Sparks, and Burnap. These fiery and suggestive names, were, in this case, very inappropriate, as none of them were believers in Gehenna, and all of them with characters opposite their names."

Frank’s father, the Unitarian Minister William Henry Furness, could be heard along with fellow Unitarian minister Henry Whitney Bellows making jokes about the fire of Furness and Bellows while speaking from the pulpit. But while William H. Furness may not have lived up to the fiery associations of the pronunciation, our Frank certainly did with his brash ways. 

I received an anonymous ask sharing more info on the pronunciation of the Furness name. So here’s another piece to add to the story:

There is a far clearer story on how to pronounce the name - when George Wood Furness, Frank’s grandson, was introduced by the dean of Penn’s school of architecture as “George Wood Furn-ness,” he leaned over to the dean and said “middle-class.” The reality is that the Furness pronunciation is characteristic of Scotland - but was messed up by Betty Fur-ness.


furnesque
:

This is a long-time-coming post on the pronunciation of the name “Furness”. 

A while back I received a message asking me:

What is you opinion on the correct pronunciation of FURNESS? I came across a video on Youtube about Frank Furness and was surprised the narrator said “FURNACE,” an in the thing that heats your house.

Based on discussions with family members and other scholars of Furness, I can confidently say that the family uses a pronunciation like “furnace” rather than the commonly heard “fur-ness”.

From The Current: Politics, Literature, Science and Art in May 1888:

"Not many years ago there were in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia four eminent Unitarian clergymen, by the names Bellows, Furness, Sparks, and Burnap. These fiery and suggestive names, were, in this case, very inappropriate, as none of them were believers in Gehenna, and all of them with characters opposite their names."

Frank’s father, the Unitarian Minister William Henry Furness, could be heard along with fellow Unitarian minister Henry Whitney Bellows making jokes about the fire of Furness and Bellows while speaking from the pulpit. But while William H. Furness may not have lived up to the fiery associations of the pronunciation, our Frank certainly did with his brash ways. 

Sources

I received an ask about my sourcing of photos. I’d like to make it clear that I’m happy to share sources and generally do in each post. If one cannot be found it is an oversight and you should feel free to point it out if one is missing.

To see the sources one needs only to click on the photo in the post and the sourcing will either be there in text or by being linked directly.

I don’t source the photos others have posted when i reblog them. You will need to ask them on an individual basis if you are interested. The only other time you will see purposely “unsourced photos” is when they were taken by myself. 

Thanks

Henry May Keim House
Reading, PA
c1886

The Henry May Keim house at 245 N. 5th Street in Reading, Pennsylvania is attributed to Frank Furness. It was built in 1886 and still stands. In fact, if you’re so inclined you can purchase the house

From Frank Furness: The Complete Works by G.E. Thomas, J.A. Cohen, and M.J. Lewis:

"The asymetrical composition, broad band course of stone across the facade, and the immense, overscaled, floral carved brackets are the hallmarks of the Furness manner in the mid-1880s. Similar brackets were used on the Robert M. Lewis house of 1886."

Henry M. Keim most likely was in contact with Furness via his brother, George DeBennville Keim III. George was a lawyer, responsible for the Reading Railroad’s real estate purchases and later acted as President of the company. He worked closely with Franklin B. Gowen who was responsible for many Furness projects both railroad and personal. In addition to this business link he was, with Furness, a member of the exclusive Rittenhouse Club. 

Boys’ High School
Reading, PA
c1882-3

Boys’ High School, in Reading, Pennsylvania was designed by Furness & Evan in 1882. Originally intended to be built of serpentine, it was decided to use limestone instead in order to lower costs. The contractors were D. & W. C. Kutz of Reading. The school is noted for employing a double-loaded center hall as appeared in Furness’s Home for Consumptives and his Bryn Mawr Hotel. Boys High School would be demolished in favor of a larger school in the early 20th Century.