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Architect Henry Mercer
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Location Doylestown, Pennsylvania   map
Date 1908 to 1910   timeline
Building Type large house
 Construction System concrete
Climate temperate
Context small town
Style Idiosyncratic Neo-Romantic
Notes "Mercer Castle"




Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing


Section Drawing

Discussion Fonthill Commentary

"Mercer's buildings embody the spirit of the 'woody and green country' as Ruskin described it. Especially in Fonthill, with its 'fantastic and rich detail', its traces of 'grotesqueness', and the fact that it 'assimilates with the intertwining of leaf and bough around it'. All three buildings are 'old fashioned in appearance, and 'not spruce, or natty, or very bright in color'; and all three have been developed to take advantage of the fact that in such a context 'the imagination is naturally alive.' Whether Mercer was aware of Ruskin's analysis or not, the qualities above exist in his buildings, probably the result of his very deep, nearly instinctive, understanding of and feeling for the place. To anyone who has felt the haunting serenity and mystery of the countryside in which they are located, the qualities seem right."

— from William Kleinsasser. Experiential Design Considerations and Categories of Experiential Response. p50-51.


East Court Street

Sources on Fonthill

Francis D. K. Ching. Architecture: Form, Space, and Order. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979. ISBN 0-442-21535-5. LC 79-18045. NA2760.C46. plan, p236. — A nice graphic introduction to architectural ideas. Updated 1996 edition available at

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. ISBN 0-442-21668-8. LC 84-3543. NA2750.C55 1984. clustering diagram, p201. — Updated edition available at

Howard Davis. Slide from photographer's collection. PCD .0405. PCD 2260.1012.0405.

William Kleinsasser. Synthesis 9. Eugene, OR: self published, 1990. p73, f57-64

William Kleinsasser. Experiential Design Considerations and Categories of Experiential Response. Eugene, Oregon: William Kleinsasser, 1975. NA2540.K525 1975. discussion p50-51.

Architecture Transformed.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Fonthill


Web Resources
Links on Fonthill

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