Restoration specialist Carl A. Ziegler was born in Philadelphia, the son of Charles H. and Anna Lieberman Ziegler. Following an education in the Philadelphia public schools, in 1895 he received his Certificate of Proficiency in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, also studying at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (1892/93) and Spring Garden Institute. After several years of apprenticeship with such offices as Frank Miles Day & Bro., Cope & Stewardson, and Keen & Mead, Ziegler launched his own firm in 1897; but by 1898 he was associated with H. Louis Duhring and R. Brognard Okie in the successful firm of Duhring, Okie & Ziegler. This office continued in operation until Okie's withdrawal in 1918, when the title was revised to Duhring & Ziegler. This combination continued through 1924, and then Ziegler maintained an independent practice at least through 1936.
While still associated with Duhring, Ziegler was establishing an independent reputation as an expert on Pennsylvania colonial building. In 1922 he was asked by the Philadelphia Brick Manufacturers Association to deliver a long talk on early American brickmaking, and his text was reproduced by the Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders Guide (31 May 1922 and 7 June 1922). Like his former partners, Ziegler specialized in the forms of colonial revival and vernacular architecture which were primarily associated with regional styles in Pennsylvania. From relatively small residences (Andrew Griffith Residence, Germantown, Philadelphia, illustrated with an exterior photograph and first and second floor plans by Ethel Power in The Smaller American House, 1927, p. 90) to the grand (William L. Clause Residence, Sewickley, PA, illustrated in American Country Houses of Today, 1930), Ziegler often produced dwellings which combined local stone construction with details usually drawn from Pennsylvania colonial architecture (although he could also design in the popular Tudor Revival often chosen by his competitors Mellor & Meigs). Nor was Ziegler confined to residential design; his Church of the Good Shepherd in Germantown and his small office for the Provident Trust Company on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia testify to the versatility of his work. However, in each case he preferred to insert accurate historical detail into his working design. In fact, he achieved a considerable reputation as an architect who could be trusted to supply an accurate rendition of the Colonial and Georgian Revival styles so favored by Pennsylvania clients in the 1920s.
An example of this respect occurred in the mid-1920s when Provident Trust Company sought an architect for their new tower at 17th and Chestnut streets, just up from the smaller office that Ziegler had designed. They chose Rankin & Kellogg, an office much influenced by the partners' Beaux-Arts training, but also an office which already had experience with the tall office building having just finished the work on the Elverson Building for the Philadelphia Inquirer on North Broad Street. Memos from the Building Committee of the Company indicate that Provident staff insisted that Rankin & Kellogg, the firm chosen for the project, acquire Ziegler's services as an historical consultant, even though the partners asserted that they were quite capable of providing an accurate account of the colonial. Whether he indeed worked with Rankin & Kellogg is unclear although Ziegler's name appears on some drawings as consultant, but it is apparent that the trust company found in his work the accuracy that they desired.
In later years Ziegler also turned his attention to the restoration of Philadelphia's historical monuments. As president of the Committee for the Preservation of Historic Landmarks, Ziegler was involved in the restoration of Carpenters Hall, Independence Hall, and Washington's headquarters at Valley Forge, PA.
He was also active in his profession, serving often in the affairs of the T-Square Club, but his activities were not confined to the Philadelphia area. In 1926 for the Sesqui-Centennial celebration held in Philadelphia, he was retained by the Persian government to design the Persian Building. In 1927 he received the Silver Medal at the Pan American Exposition of Architecture in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1928 he became a fellow of the British Royal Society of Arts, and in 1930 he represented the American Institute of Architects at the 4th Pan American Congress of Architects at Rio diJaneiro and chaired the Committee on Skyscrapers at this congress. In 1934 he traveled to Barcelona, Spain, as an AIA delegate to the International Congress on Technical Education and in 1935 was the AIA's delegate to the Congress in Rome.
Ziegler's last professional citations occur in the 1940s. In a 1941 circular entitled Concrete Information, Cement Projects Bureau from the Portland Cement Association, Ziegler appears as director of Design Group 3 for the Tasker Street Housing Project, developed by the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Then in 1943 he is noted by the University of Pennsylvania Archives as working in the aircraft division of the E. G. Budd Manufacturing Company as part of the war effort.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- T-Square Club
- Royal Society of Arts
- University of Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art
- Spring Garden Institute
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