Famous Architects of Railroad Depots in North America

Gilbert, Bradford Lee (courtesy of Daniel Coe)

Link, Theodore C. (courtesy of Gary R. Tetley) Link came from Germany in 1870 and started his career as a civil engineer for the railroads in Texas. He moved to St. Louis in 1875. He opened his architectural office in 1886 and built his first railroad depot, St. Louis Union Station in 1891. Among his other railroad related proojects are Terminal Hotel at St. Louis Union Station (1894); Wabash depot at Montpelier, OH (1895); Vandeventer Station, St. Louis (1898); Wabash depot at Quincy, IL (1901); Wabash depot at Decatur, IL (1902); Wabash depot at Danville, IL (1902); Wabash Hospital at Decatur, IL (1903); Wabash depot at Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis (1904); Wabash depot at Pittsburgh, PA; Railroad YMCA, St. Louis (1905); Union Depot, Little Rock, AR (1907)(1920); Railroad YMCA, Douglas, AZ (1907); and Railroad YMCA, Elkhart, IN (?)





Famous and Lesser Known Architects of Railroad Depots Around the World

Compiled by Adrian Banfield

Below is the first installment of a new RSHS page that will include short biographies of architects that have designed a number of railroad depots. It is a work in progress.Contributions are solicited. Please send to Mark J. Camp at Mark.Camp@utoledo.edu


Baker, Herbert (1862-1946)

Nationality - English

Designed Pretoria station, South Africa ( 1911).

Baker was born in Cobham, Kent and educated at Tonbridge School. During 1879 to 1881 he learned his trade at the Royal Academy School under the tutorage of R. Norman Shaw and George F. Bodley. He started his own practice in 1890 and two years later moved to Cape Town, South Africa where, along with several others, was appointed as an architect to Cecil Rhodes. By 1902 he had established a practice in Johannesburg designing private houses, schools, public housing, and government buildings. It was during this period that he designed the Pretoria Station building. The Union buildings in Pretoria show his use of traditional European neoclassical forms with a serious concern to adapt to local technology and materials. In 1913 he returned to London and established a practice both in London and in New Delhi where he was associated with Edwin Lutyens in the design of secretariats, legislative buildings, and the Circular Council Chamber. Back in Britain, he designed a number of war memorials, cemeteries, and churches between 1918 and 1928 in his role as principal architect to the War Graves Commission. Baker was knighted in 1930.

Boberg, Ferdinand (1860-1946)

Nationality -Swedish

Designed Kronoberg Station, (1902-1905); Djurgard Station, 1905, Sweden.

Regarded as one of the most prestigious of Swedish architects until about 1905, when his influence was displaced by the National Romantic movement. Boberg welded together diverse styles in works of a unique individuality. His mature works were rich in decoration and materials, with exotic (or oriental) touches. He was also known as a painter and furniture designer.

Chateauneuf, Alexis de (1799-1853)

Nationality -French/German

Designed Bergedorf Station, Germany 1841-1842 ; Stations for the Bergedorf and Hamburg-Berlin Railway companies during the 1840's.

Son of a French noble emigre, de Chateauneuf was born in Hamburg and trained under Carl Ludwig Wimmel, Achille Leclere in Paris and others. Pioneering the revived brick tradition in Hamburg, he combined North German medieval motifs and structural techniques with North Italian Romanesque and early Renaissance forms. Despite the influence of his plans for redesigning Hamburg after the 1842 fire, de Chateauneuf received few public commissions and thus sought clients in England and later Norway. English influence permeates his domestic design.


Kumlien, Axel (1833 to 1913) and Kumlien, Hjalmar (1837 - 1897)

Nationality - Swedish.

Designed Bergslagsbanan Station, Goteborg. 1881, Sweden.

The Kumlien brothers were educated in Goteborg, Sweden and in Germany. They ran a prosperous architectural firm in Stockholm from 1872 - 1891. (Although Axel Kumlien continued to work until about 1910.) They designed many varied buildings and didn't like to specialize in any one particular type of building. The brothers most striking artistic building was the neo-Renaissance building of Jernkontoret (Ironmasters Association), in Sweden (1875), whose plastered facades are typical for the 1870's. From 1880 red brick facades dominated the production of the firm. From 1874, Axel was the architectural advisor of the National Board of Health and became a specialist in hospital planning. In total he designed some thirty-five hospitals and other social institutions.


Laloux, Victor Alexandre (1850-1937)


Designed Gare du Chemin de Fer d'Orleans and Gare d'Orsay. The latter building was completed by Lucien Magne.

Laloux was born in Tours, a city in central France. He trained at Ecole des Beaux. His first important work was Romanesque, but famous rather for the grand and expensive, almost ebullient, classical style. He won the Grand Prix of Rome Award in 1878.

Cox, H. Bartle, M. Victor Laloux: The man and his work: Architects Journal, v. 51, p. 555-557; 609-611; 639-640; and 731-732.


Mazzuchetti, Alessandro (1824-1894)

Nationality — Italian

Designed Porta Nuova Station, Turin 1866-1868; Genoa (the principal station) 1853

Mazzuchetti is known( along with Carlo Ceppi) for the designing of Porta Nuova station. The building established new standards for urban integration and collaboration between architect and engineer. The great arched central space became the focus of Piazza Carlo Felica (designed by Carlo Promis in 1851) with its picturesque English garden. The elimination of walls, extreme use of glass, exposed metal structure, large arched entrances, and the high arched train shed exhibit a happy exploration of structural design.

See also Meeks, Carroll The Railroad Station and Italian Architecture 1750-1914.


Saarinen, Eliel (1873-1950)

Nationality - Finnish

Designed Helsinki Station (1905-1914) and Viipuri, Finland (1904-1914).

Born in 1873 at Rautasalmi, Finland, Saarinen studied painting and architecture. Along with two other architects, Gesellius and Lindgren, he opened an architectural office in 1896. (The partners went their separate ways in 1905.) During this period they designed several buildings in Finland. Their international reputation was established by their plans for the Finnish Pavilion for the 1900 Exposition in Paris. Work continued to flow in and one of the largest commissions was for the National Museum in Helsinki (1902-1904). Saarinen then worked on his most famous building, the Helsinki Railway Station. In 1922 he submitted plans for the Chicago Tribune Tower (U.S.) competition. He placed second, but his plans were much admired by the planning committee. On the strength of these recommendations, Saarinen emigrated to America in February 1923. In America, he designed many structures although his best work was probably for the Cranbrook Academy (1924-1930). From 1932 to 1942 he was President of the Cranbrook Academy.

Saarinen, with Gesellius, also designed another railway station at Viipuri, Finland (1904-1914). This building is smaller, but more advanced in plan with its multiple levels for movement of passengers. His son, Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) was also widely respected and together with Charles Eames they pioneered a new approach to architecture and furniture design.

Fleming, J. and others, The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Penguin, 1966.

Hogstrom, Hilkka Helsinki Railway Station, Helsinki, VR Group, Ltd., 1996.


Schelling, H.G.J. (1888-1978)

Nationality - Dutch

Designed (amongst others) Amstel Station, Amsterdam 1939 ; Enschede Station, Holland 1950 ; Hengelo Station, 1951 ; Zutphen Station, 1952 ; Leiden Station, 1953 ; Arnhem Station, 1954

Between 1920 - 1960 Schelling along with S. Van Ravesteyn, determined the architecture of the Dutch Railway Company. Schelling joined the company in 1916 and was responsible for the construction of the stations in the north of Holland. Especially, after World War Two, he was noted for his bare, reinforced concrete structures.


Scholer, Friedrich (1874-?)

Nationality - German

Designed Stuttgart train shed, Germany (1911-1928).

Scholer studied at the Technische Hochschule in Munich between 1897 and 1899. He went into business with Paul Bonatz. Scholer influenced matters of structure and aesthetics, whilst Bonatz secured the commissions and approved each design. They are well known for their work on the Stuttgart train shed constructed on rock-faced ashlar ( a square block of hewn stone) and brick.


Schwechten, Franz (1841-1924)

Nationality - German

Designed Anhalter Station (1875-1880)(only a fragment remains today), Dessau Station (1875-1880), and Wittenberg Station (1875-1880). Schwechten was born in Cologne and studied architecture in Berlin. He also received training from Friedrich August Stuler and Walter Gropius. By 1869 he had established himself in a private architectural practice. In 1871 he was appointed chief architect of the Berlin Railway Company. During his eleven year period with the company, Schwechten was responsible for designing many railway buildings including the Anhalter Bahnhof in Berlin. This was his first major work and was regarded as an important monument in Berlin's architectural history. Sadly very little of this building remains today. The station was manifest in the polychromatic brick and terra cotta building, which displayed coherent organization and a rare success in the integration of masonary elements with the metal structure of the shed roof. Other important non-railway structures he designed include the Military Academy (1880-1882) and the Rhine Bridge in Mainz, Germany. He won the Schinkel Prize in 1868.


Sturzenacker, August (1871-1943)

Nationality - German

Designed Karlsruhe Station ( 1913-1914).

Sturzenacker trained under Josef Durm, whose influences in Renaissance and neo-Romanesque preferences are strongly reflected in Sturzenacker's early works for the Harbour Direction and his Rhenish Romanesque-style crematorium. The Karlsruhe station has a lively surface ornament of the early work and is subordinated to a more friendly expressive composition with strong classical overtones, similar in spirit to the late work of Joseph Maria Olbrich.


Sussenguth, Georg (1862-?)

Nationality - German

Designed Hamburg Station.

Sussenguth studied at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin-Charlottenburg and later became a professor there. In 1894, he established a partnership with Heinrich Reinhardt. Their business specialized in designing town halls, government, and municipal buildings. Their early works, executed in a rosy stone and highly decorated, were romantically medieval in appearance. In their design of the Hamburg station of 1906 however, their style changed. Later buildings were marked by an absence of decoration and by a functional arrangement of spaces. Under the influence of Paul Mebes and others the partners last works before World War I adopted a reduced and abstracted neoclassicism.




Edited by M.J. Camp, Railroad Station Historical Society, Inc.