An Office Building

T.S. Dreihs
An Office Building
elevation, 1928
watercolor and ink on paper
Student Drawing Collection

This drawing reveals an interest in the work of Hugh Ferriss, coupled with the Art Deco sensibility taught by MIT professor Jacques Carlu. Students of this period were concerned with the skyscraper "ideal," as discussed in architecture circles and expressed in movies and posters.

Professors in MIT's Department of Architecture assigned their students "programs," written assignments of a specific project for which the students would submit designs. Dreihs's student drawing for "An Office Building" was produced in a similar manner for a competition issued by the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York City. Any student could apply for the competition, in this case two Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts Scholarships of $500 each, but his or her drawings had to meet the following criteria:


In a large American city the French business interests propose to erect for their use an office building centrally located on an important Plaza. The site is a rectangle 140 feet on the Plaza and 70 feet on two avenues, with a minor street on the remaining side.

The first floor will contain (a) an entrance lobby with elevators; (b) Travel Bureau which includes steamship and railroad offices, ticket offices, etc.; (c) a Bank with stairs to safe deposit in basement. The second floor is to contain a permanent exhibition of French Industries. Above the second floor well lighted office space with a total gross floor area of 200,000 square feet is required. On each floor toilets for men and women, passenger elevators, calculated one car for 25,000 square feet of workable space and one freight elevator. In addition, two separate sets of stairs are required. Story heights above the second floor to be 12 feet, floor to floor.

For the purposes of this exercise, the student is free to design the building as he sees fit without consideration of any zoning law conditions, and though an economical use of space is required, it is desired to have a building beautiful in form and composition.

Elevation, first floor plan, typical floor plan, and section of the first floor only, all at the scale of 1/64" to the foot.

Elevation on the plaza, first floor plan, typical floor plan, and section of the first floor only, at the scale of 1/16" to the foot.
A graphic scale is required in the lower left-hand corner of the drawing.
All drawings must fit on one mount 40" x 62".

Department of Architecture
4th Year Program Book, 1925-1928

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