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By R. Clipston Sturgis Believing that the architect has a distinct place in the development of the higher civilization through æsthetics, and that the general good of a community receives a constant if silent stimulus by reason of rational and lofty ideas in building construction and ornamentation, we are glad to print this appreciation of one distinguished architect by another. Though young in years, Walter Cope achieved a genuine fame and a permanent place in the history of American architecture. He was a Philadelphia boy; he was born there in 1860, and there he died in 1902. He was the pupil of no particular school of architecture, nor had he other training than that of his own industry and enthusiasm. The happiest hours of his early boyhood were spent in a little workshop which his father gave him. Walter Cope was the kind of boy who generally had a finger tied up with a rag, and at least one black nail, but he was not long in mastering all kinds of carpenter's tools, even doing creditable metal work. He was, however, always drawing, and more and more as he grew older his love of beauty gained on his taste for practical mechanics. At nineteen years of age he became draughtsman to a builder, and later to an architect. At twenty-four he went abroad to study; he was all alone and worked very hard, drawing a great deal of detail, especially of French Gothic, which made a lasting impression on his mind.. When he returned to Philadelphia he went into partnership with the late John Stewardson, and it was not long before the now well-known firm of Cope and Stewardson achieved enviable repute.—THE EDITORS.
T is impossible for one who knew him pointed out the beauty of the bare-limbed to write of the work of Walter Cope trees. Some day, he said, he wanted to
without having his judgment influ- make a collection of photographs of trees enced by the strong individuality of the in winter. I had never noticed what he man himself. It is right that it should called the Gothic structure of the tulipbe so, for all his work was imbued with his tree: when young, twelfth-century lancet own characteristic personality. At the lines, upspringing; when old, fourteenthtime of his death he was a young man, century, with the quick curves and cusps but he was at the head of a large office, of the later work. For the snow breaks was engaged in large undertakings, and the ends of the pendent lower branches, was. necessarily debarred from doing much with his own hand. Yet, notwithstanding this, the work executed by his office was as instinct with his spirit and thought as if his own hand had put on paper and his own mind had directed the execution of the buildings erected by the
No one could come in contact with him without feeling the strong influence of a mastermind; yet withal he was modest and unassuming, appreciative and sympathetic. His mind
was always actively at work.
no off days; but it was not always nor only architecture. The last time I was with him we tramped the woods one late autumn day, and he opened my eyes to so many unnoticed beauties of wood and meadow that I felt as if I must have often walked before blindfold.
He gathered a winter bouquet-goldenrod and various grasses gone to seed—almost as lovely in their gray and silver feathers as in their gorgeous
and they break out again with sharp up collegiate buildings—for the University curves, making the line of the cusp with of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, for Bryn the mai branch.
Mawr College, for Princeton, and for These little things, to my mind, show Washington University, St. Louis, Misthe thought of the man ; and that joyous souri. In all of these he has shown very appreciative observance of all that was clearly the qualities above referred to, beautiful expressed itself in all his work. and in some of them another and very To what thing soever he put his hand he valuable quality- just common sense. It did it with his whole heart. Personality appeared as if he approached a problem, was then the keynote of his work, but he large or small, with a view to reach a clear was too faithful a student and too learned understanding of the needs, and then to to fall into the common error of striving present a solution of those needs, and for originality. His work was all based finally to clothe them in beautiful forms. on good precedent, modified wisely to I was one of those who judged the compemeet the occasion, and ever touched with tition for Washington University ; and if his own individuality, so that none could there was one thing more than another ever say, This is Tudor and that Georgian, which determined the jury in favor of the except with the reservation that it was design eventually selected, it was the evineither the work of the copyist nor of the dence of thought and study which showed purist, but rather of the student who knew in the block plan, with its changing and the terms of that language and used them yet associated axes following the marked freely to express modern ideas.
contours of the land, and the intelligent Perhaps his best-known works are his understanding of the needs of each group of buildings; the accessible, dignified, The Pennsylvania State Institution for and formal arrangement of the academic the Blind at Overbrook, Pa., was an examgroup, the domestic character of the dor- ple of a certain versatility of temperament mitories, and, finally, the detailed study which showed only occasionally. of the needs of each building. Much know what prompted this effort, but time and thought had been expended whether it was a sight of Spain, or of here, and comparatively little on the ex- Spanish America, he succeeded in getting pression ; but I, for one, felt convinced at the kernel of the matter and expressthat a man who could approach a subject in ing something in Spanish which is yet such a spirit could certainly express it in fit his own sentiment. The building is pleasterms. The event justifies this confidence. ant in mass and pleasant in detail. The
Nor was he ever content with the solu- Law School for the University of Penntion of a general problem. Many a man sylvania was not such a far cry from his
works at his best in the zeal and the collegiate work as this Spanish effort, but excitement of imaginative expression. it is, at all events, of another century of Every faculty is alert and strained when English work, well removed in sentiment one is studying a big scheme, and trying from the earlier ; but it is equally well to make his mind-picture so vivid as to understood and expressed, and has virile enable him to put it on paper. But when and interesting quality. The English it comes to the often long-delayed execu- were never purists anyway, nor sticklers tion, the keenness of the vision is past for style and period. I fancy they used and the subject is stale—one has other such material as they had, whether menirons in the fire. It was not so with Cope. tal or physical, and put it together in a One has but to examine his detail, the way that would meet their needs and door to the Cupples building or any other would look well; and I think Cope did small bit, even the contour of a molding, somewhat the same thing. If things to see how fresh was his enthusiasm up looked well, he let them go, whether they to the last stroke of the work. This was tallied with orders or with the twelfth more than faithful thoroughness, this was century or not; and if they did not look the devotion of the lover.
well he would never dream of letting