Horace Trumbauer Rittenhouse Square Office Townhouse for Sale
This magnificent example of Trumbauer channeling 18th century France is now used as an office building. But you can clearly see the grand residence still hiding in plain sight under those fluorescent lights.
Two Philadelphia architects stand out from all the others in the Hall of Fame crowded with large locals.
One of them is Frank Furness, whose reputation, like his buildings, suffered from the change in fashion and then recovered when a new generation rediscovered his energetic and muscular style which in many ways foreshadowed modernism.
The other is Horace Trumbauer, architect of the greats of the golden age. His contemporaries in the profession rejected his work in large part because of his clients, but since then he has risen to the top thanks to his eclectic channeling of architectural traditions from across Europe and America.
This Rittenhouse Square office townhouse for sale is a prime example of this pipeline. In this case, Trumbauer channeled 18th-century France with this structure next to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, two blocks from the square.
Trumbauer designed this house in 1899 for Edward C. Knight, Jr., son of the prominent Collingswood Railroad and Sugar Baron Edward Collings Knight. The son took over managerial positions from his father, but the amateur artist lacked his father’s business skills and spent his years spending his father’s fortune instead.
The Collingswood homestead is now a historic house open to the public, but this house – the most elegant townhouse designed by Trumbauer – remained in private hands after Knight sold it to Ralph Gibbs in 1925. The Handsome – Gibbs’ father used the house as a private museum for his art collection until Gibbs sold the house to Philadelphia Emergency Aid in 1943 when it became the building of offices that it remains today. Its current owner, St. Marks Associates, purchased the building in 1985 and added a greenhouse to the rear of the first floor. The house was also renovated in the 1900s, according to the listing.
As you will see, the 1943 conversion transformed the upstairs bedrooms into offices but left the large public spaces on the two lower floors intact.
The foyer and the staircase hall are the first spaces one enters. Famous craftsman Samuel Yellin produced the ironwork that adorns this structure inside and out.
The oval Carrara marble staircase rises to the fourth floor of the building and is topped by a skylight. A separate spiral staircase connects the fourth floor with the old servants quarters on the fifth floor.
One floor higher you will find the original living and dining room, which now serve as meeting rooms.
Between the two is a small hall connected to the staircase. The Louis XV details in both bedrooms have been beautifully restored.
The two upper floors contain the bedrooms transformed into offices.
The conversion managed to retain original features such as moldings, marble fireplaces, chair rails, woodwork, carved panels and medallions while adding simple fluorescent lights.
The building is currently zoned CMX-3 (mixed commercial use, medium density) and is 100 percent leased to office tenants. But if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind residence, there’s nothing stopping you from buying this great Horace Trumbauer Rittenhouse Square office townhouse for sale, waiting for the lease to end (or terminating it sooner), removing the current tenants and turn it into your own home office.
There aren’t any photos of a kitchen among those on the list, but it’s safe to assume that a small one survives somewhere here, especially if the food is served in the boardroom with the long table. After all, this table also makes a perfect dining table.
THE FINE PRINTING
BEDS: Not applicable
SQUARE FEET: 9,000
SELLING PRICE: $ 3,950,000
OTHER THINGS: If you wish to acquire this house for use as a residence, you should discuss your intentions and plans with the listing agent. Otherwise, this building is a good solid investment.
1629 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19103 [Jacob Cooper, Brittany Goldberg and Stefanie Gabel | MSC]