THE ELECTRICAL BUILDING.
THE ELECTRICAL BUILDING is 351 feet wide and 767 feet long, the major axis running north and South. The South front is on the great Quadrangle or Court; the north front faces the Lagoon; the east front is opposite the MANUFACTURES BUILDING, and the west faces the MINES BUILDING.
The general scheme of the plan is based upon a longitudinal nave 115 feet wide and 114 feet high, crossed in the middle by a transept of the same width and height. The nave and the transept have a pitched roof with a range of skylights at the bottom of the pitch and clearstory windows. The rest of the building is covered with a flat roof, averaging 62 feet in height and provided with skylights. The second story is composed of a series of galleries connected across the nave by two bridges, with access by four grand staircases. The area of the galleries in the second story is 118,546 square feet, or 2.7 acres.
The exterior walls of this building are composed of a continuous Corinthian order of pilasters 3 feet 6 inches wide and 42 feet high, supporting a full entablature, and resting upon a stylobate 8 feet 6 inches. The total height of the walls from the grade outside is 68 feet 6 inches.
The north pavilion is placed between the two great apsidal are semi-circular projections of the building; it is flanked by two towers 195 feet high. The central feature is a great semi-circular window, above which, 102 feet from the ground, is a colonnade forming an open loggia or gallery, commanding a view over the Lagoon and all the north portion of the Grounds.
The east and west central pavilions are composed of two towers, 168 feet high. In front of these two pavilions there is a great Portico composed of the Corinthian order with full columns.
The south pavilion is a hemicycle or niche, 78 feet in diameter and 103 feet high. The opening of this niche is framed by a semi-circular arch, which is crowned by a gable or pediment with smaller gables on the returns, and surmounted by an attic, the whole reaching the height of 142 feet. In the center of this niche, upon a lofty pedestal, is a colossal statue of FRANKLIN, whose illustrious name intimately connects the early history of the Republic with one of the most important discoveries in the phenomena of electricity.
At each of the four corners of the building there is a pavilion, above which rises a light open spire or tower, 169 feet high. Intermediate between these corner pavilions and the central pavilions on the east and west sides, there is a subordinate pavilion bearing a low, square dome upon an open lantern. There are thus ten spires and four domes. The entablature of the great Corinthian order breaks around each of the pilasters of the four fronts, and above each pilaster in the Attic order is a pedestal bearing a lofty mast for the display of banners by day and electric lights by night. Of these masts there are in all fifty-four.
The first story of the building is indicated in these facades between the
great pilasters of the Corinthian order, by a subordinate Ionic order,
with full columns and pilasters, forming an open screen in front of the
The color of the exterior is like marble, but the walls of the hemicycle and of the various porticos and loggia, are highly enriched with color, the pilasters in these places being decorated with scagliola and the capitals with metallic effects in bronze.
In the design of this building it was proposed by the architects to so devise its details and general outlines that they might be capable of providing an electric illumination by night on a scale hitherto unknown, the flag-staffs, the open porticos, and the towers, especially, being arranged with this in view. Van Brunt & Hewe, of Kansas City, are the architects.
It was proposed that the hemicycle or niche which forms the south porch should have either a great chandelier or crown of lights suspended from the center of the half dome, or should be provided with electric lights masked behind the triumphal arch which forms the opening of the niche.