firm active: 1907-1921

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Catherine Gray Residence, first scheme
also known as W. G. Purcell Residence
Purcell and Feick
Minneapolis, Minnesota  1907

Parabiographies entry, Volume for 1907
Text by William Gray Purcell

Job Date (in Parabiographies): March, 1907

"Catherine Gray House" (W. G. Purcell, Own house)

These two young architects had spent the year 1906 in Europe, from Norway to Constantinople had discussed the basic principles of all building art. To now produce a building that would satisfy the conscience, not violate the integrity of the "form and function" world, not "copy" and do it all within an iron ring of fixed cost - that was not so easy. Plainly there was much purely analytical thinking to be done before any broad concept for a true building could be crystallized, but much of it reached back for years and was applicable to all buildings. To gradually integrate this factual material until it related to a particular building and at the same time create a living architecture, rather than a thesis on building construction, took more than Purcell and Feick had in them at that time, and neither was willing to retreat into the standard practice of the day - a plan and a picture selected from the "plates" of an architectural periodical, with suitable revisions and additions.

And so this Catherine Gray house proved futile, a real discouragement, for so much time and labor was spent on different concepts. The hopeful thing was that critical judgment of their own work was in operation. And so all the studies were laid aside as of no value whatever. Number Five was the same project with a new title for a fresh start.



   Collection: William Gray Purcell Papers, Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota [AR:B4d4.1]
research courtesy mark hammons