William Strickland

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William Strickland

(b. Navesink, New Jersey 1788; d. Nashville, Tennessee 1854)

William Strickland was born in Navesink, New Jersey in 1788. He grew up in Philadelphia, where he was exposed to and developed skills in engraving, painting, scenery design, surveying and architecture. From 1801 to 1805 Strickland studied architecture and engineering under Latrobe. During this time he adopted Latrobe's emphasis on visual clarity and historical accuracy. Strickland worked as a theater set painter in New York before he finally opened his own architecture practice in Philadelphia around 1818.

The Neoclassical style Strickland adopted from Latrobe was distinguished by the use of a Greek vocabulary based on Stuart and Revett's Antiquities of Athens. He designed commercial and administrative buildings, theaters, and churches. He also designed engineering projects, including several railroads, canals and dams.

From 1828 to 1833, Strickland designed such a large number of public buildings within Philadelphia that he was dubbed the "city architect". Due to the size and number of his commissions, Strickland played a major role in the transformation of the city. He also contributed to the gradual professionalization of the architectural field.

Strickland's abilities as an architect and a draftsman were matched by his strong background as an engineer. Though he was not a very progressive architect in terms of construction techniques, Strickland exhibited a changing attitude towards iron, using it as a structural member. Through his efforts, he helped shape an emerging American architecture.

Strickland died in Nashville, Tennessee in 1854.

Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p149.

Randall J. Van Vynckt. International Dictionary of Architects and Architecture: Volume 1- Architects. London: St. James Press, 1993. ISBN 1-55862-087-7. NA40.I48 1993. p860-861.

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