Walter B. Chambers

Walter B. Chambers

Walter B. Chambers (1866–1945) was a successful New York architect whose buildings continue to be landmarks in the city’s skyline and whose contributions to architectural education were far-reaching.

Childhood and Education

Walter Boughton Chambers was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 15, 1866, the son of attorney William P. and Caroline (Boughton) Chambers, both of whom were New York natives. [1880 U. S. Census] His family’s standing permitted him to attend Yale University, from which he graduated in 1887. While at Yale he was a member of the Scroll and Key Society. Following his graduation Chambers went to Paris and entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts, where he studied at the Atelier of Paul Blondel, along with his future architectural partner Ernest Flagg (1857-1947), a cousin of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. [Who’s Who in America, 1906] He was also the brother of the American artist and writer, Robert W. Chambers.

Practice in New York

Returning to New York, Chambers formed a partnership with Ernest Flagg in 1894. In 1897 they moved into the Mills Building at 35 Wall Street, where they remained until 1919 when they moved to 111 E 40th Street. Usually, Ernest Flagg is credited with some of the work that emerged from their partnership, including, the Singer Building (the world’s tallest building 1908-1909), the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Washington State Capitol and the Sheldon Library at St. Paul's School (Concord, New Hampshire). Flagg also designed homes and stores for the Scribner book-publishing family (his wife was a Scribner) and was a favorite architect of the Clark family, of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. [Who’s Who in America, 1906]

Work Attributed to Walter B. Chambers

With or without Flagg, partial listing [Various sources, chiefly New York Times articles about the individual buildings, or the websites of said buildings] :

*Fire Engine Company No 67 - 514 West 170th Street, New York – 1897
*Library, Pepperell, NY - 1897
*Fire Engine Company No. 33 at 44 Great Jones Street, New York – 1899
*Mills House – 1902
*Apartment House - 563 Park Avenue, New York – 1908
*James R. Sheffield Residence (Gloria Vanderbilt Cooper Residence) at 45 East 67th Street, New York - 1913
*St. Nicholas Skating Rink, 57 West 66th Street, New York – 1913
*No. 1 Broadway, New York - International Merchant Marine Building - 1919-1921
*1148 Fifth Avenue, New York - Apartment House - 1920
*2 East 96th Street, New York – Apartment House - 1922-23
*McClellan Hall, Old Campus, Yale University, New Haven, CT – 1925
*Bingham Hall, Old Campus, Yale University, New Haven, CT – 1928

Atelier Masqueray-Chambers

In 1893 Walter B. Chambers joined with Franco-American architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray to establish the first atelier for architectural studies in the United States based on the French Ecole des Beaux Arts system. Located at 123 East Twenty-Third Street in New York, the Atelier Masqueray-Chambers helped educate many outstanding architects including Leonard B. Schultze (architect of the Pierre, Sherry-Netherland and Waldorf Astoria Hotel) and William Van Alen (architect of the Chrysler Building).

Chambers was a member of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He resided at 7 W 43rd Street, New York. His brother Robert W. Chambers, born 1865, was a noted artist, illustrator and writer. [Who’s Who in America, 1906]

References


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