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[The Water Approach to a Gentelman's Estate]
[T Square Club Competition]
Water Approach to a Gentleman's Estate, T-Square Club Competition
(Charles Klauder, c. 1897)
AIA/T-Square Yearbook, p. 67 (1896)
> View more images [2 total]

Born: 2/9/1872, Died: 10/30/1938

In the 1925 Pencil Points series of "Master Draftsmen," Klauder was celebrated with these words: "The force of genius is strikingly shown in the career of Charles Z. Klauder. . . . The facility with which Klauder sketches is one of his outstanding acomplishments. When a problem is presented to him he visualizes a solution and roughs it in on paper with a few strokes of a surprising effectiveness."

Extraordinary design abilities and a quick hand with a sketch allowed Charles Z. Klauder to move with alacrity through a number of the most successful Philadelphia architectural firms working in the early 20th century. He was born in Philadelphia, the son of Louis and Anna Carolina (Koehler) Klauder. His father had been born in Osthofen, Rheinhessen, Germany and had emigrated to Philadelphia in 1847, establishing a furniture manufacturing firm with his two brothers under the name Klauder, DeGinther & Co. His talents shaped by classes at the local Turnverein, young Klauder entered the venerable firm of T. P. Chandler at age 15 while pursuing architectural studies at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art. He remained with Chandler through 1893 and then embarked on employment with a series of notable firms, including Wilson Bros., Cope & Stewardson, Frank Miles Day & Bro., and Horace Trumbauer. In 1900 Klauder returned to Frank Miles Day & Bro. as chief draftsman and launched an association which would continue until the elder Day's death in 1918. By 1911, in recognition of his importance to the office, the firm name was revised to Day Bros. & Klauder, and in 1913, after the retirement of H. Kent Day it became Day & Klauder. Klauder continued to use that name after the death of Frank Miles Day in 1918, until 1927 when he reverted to his own name for the office.

Klauder maintained a national practice, particularly in institutional design. He developed campus plans for the University of Colorado, St. Pauls School in Concord, NH, Pennsylvania State College, and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO. In addition to individual buildings on a number of college campuses, he designed residences, churches, banks, and office buildings.

Beginning in 1891 with the Silver Medal of the T-Square Club, Klauder received a number of awards and honors, including the 1918 Medal of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA, the 1921 Gold Medal of the Architectural League of New York, the 1921 Gold Medal of the AIA, the 1927 Grand Prix and Silver Medal of the Pan-American Congress of Architects at Buenos Aires, and the 1928 Medal in Architecture given at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Furthermore, in 1921 he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Master of Fine Arts from Princeton University and in 1926 was elected a Corresponding Member of the Central Association of Austrian Architects of Vienna. He had become a member of the T-Square Club in 1891 and two years later had his drawings sent by the Club for exhibition at the Chicago World's Fair. He was also a member of the AIA, attaining fellow status in 1915. He served as president for both the T-Square Club and the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA.

Long recognized as an authority on campus planning, Klauder co-authored College Architecture in America (1929) with Herbert C. Wise and contributed articles on college architecture and planning to the 14th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica and to Collier's New American Encyclopedia.

John F. Harbeson, writing Klauder's entry for the Dictionary of American Biography, described him this way: "Always a first-rate draftsman, Klauder was particularly expert in perspective views of projected buildings, and he came to do much of his architectural design by means of perspective studies. He thought of architecture primarily as exterior or interior composition, which he always made interesting, though the floor plans, arranged to fit these compositions, were usually less successful. In an era of eclectic arachiecture he was one of the best of those who did 'Collegiate Gothic' work, though he also designed excellent Georgian buildings (as at the University of Delaware) and some Italian Renaissance (as in the Drexel & Company bank building, Philadelphia). . . . He was a modest, almost shy man, to whom architecture was a passion, pursued with an indomitable will. He enjoyed the artisanship of masonry, frequently laying up samples of ledge-stone wall to demonstrate to masons the effects he desired . . ." Rising from a modest background which did not allow much academic training in architecture, Charles Z. Klauder represents many designers of the early 20th century who through diligence and sheer talent attained excellence in architecture and a national reputation.

Written by Sandra L. Tatman.

Clubs and Membership Organizations

  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
  • Architectural League of New York
  • T-Square Club

School Affiliations

  • Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art

Links to Other Resources

 

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