You are here

Chandler-Ullmann Hall (Chemistry Laboratory)

-A A +A
Chemistry Laboratory
1885, Addison Hutton; 1937
  • (© George E. Thomas)

The building was conceived by Professor William Henry Chandler to include some of the most sophisticated innovations ever built into a chemistry laboratory. His modular bench system, steam-heated reaction baths, heated chimney exhaust (with asphalt-lined flues), transom-regulated ventilation, and fresh air intakes at each window all became models for subsequent laboratories. Previously, most chemical laboratories were of very limited size, typically about 12 × 16 feet, in order to insure natural light and safe ventilation. Modeling his design on a German lab at Giessen, Chandler planned a 44 × 219–foot building, with a 50 × 84–foot wing set perpendicular in the form of a T. Costing $200,000 it was perhaps the most ambitious chemical laboratory of its day, and won the design award at the 1889 Paris International Exposition. In keeping with the nature of the program, Hutton's design was notably pragmatic; the only ornamental accents are the decorative red brick stringcourse at the upper floor and the rhythm of the dozens of red brick ventilating chimneys that line the roof. When constructed, each floor was open, with modular benches adjacent to individually vented stations at the exterior walls; the top floor opened up to hammer beam wood framing. Now accommodating the Department of Art and Architecture and the psychology department, the interior has been partitioned into classrooms, though it retains the flat barrel vaults supporting the first floor and its massive floor structure (still enclosing sand-filled safety cells). The stone addition, which turned the original T into an F, dates from 1937.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Chandler-Ullmann Hall (Chemistry Laboratory)", [Bethlehem, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 287-287.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.