Norman Mansell, who specialized in ecclesiastical design, was born in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, and graduated from West Philadelphia High School. He had a distinguished career at the University of Pennsylvania's school of architecture, winning the Arthur Spayd Brooke Prize and the Faculty Medal before graduating with honors in 1926. While still a student, Mansell began working in the office of Morris & Erskine, and was made a partner before he left in 1938 to establish an independent practice. He joined the national AIA in 1942. In 1955, Frank McGettigan and Edwin L. Fugate 3rd were made named partners in the firm. Wolfgang Rapp, who had been with the firm since 1954, was also named a partner in 1959. Rapp left to practice independently in 1961. Richard A. Lewis replaced McGettigan as a named partner in 1968. A significant portion of the firm's work consisted of churches for the United Lutheran Church in America's Board of American Missions. (On his application for membership in the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA, Mansell noted that he had designed "approx. 300 churches in 40 states & abroad.") Mansell retired in 1978.
Mansell was active in the leadership of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA in the 1960s, serving on the board of directors and as president in 1966. He was also a director of the Pennsylvania Society of Architects between 1968 and 1970, and chaired the national AIA's committee on by-laws and rules in the same period. In addition, he served as director and president for the Guild for Religious Architecture and was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Fine Arts at Lutheran-affiliated Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, whose chapel Mansell designed in 1956. He had several passionate interests outside of the profession, including gem cutting, jewelry making, painting, and poetry.
Emily T. Cooperman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Pennsylvania Society of Architects
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Philadelphia Sketch Club
- University of Pennsylvania
- Wittenberg University (Springfield
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