William Gray Purcell was an American architect and furniture designer. He was active in Minneapolis and Philadelphia.

Design Career

In Minnesota, he established the architecture firm, Purcell and Feick, with George Feick and he was active between the years 1907 and 1909. Purcell and George Elmslie went into business over the war years. Purcell met George Elmslie in the office of Louis Sullivan in Chicago during the short time that he worked there. Their architectural commissions included banks, many that were located in small towns throughout the upper Midwest. Like Sullivan and Wright, the studio team avoided prominent Beaux-Arts forms and neo-classical detailing to create a simple, indigenous American style. 

Their building facades with steel frames, brick facings and pier and lintel articulation incorporated terracotta ornamentation, arched entryways, high clerestory windows, stained – glass windows and site-specific furnishings. The firm took on numerous local commissions including private residences and municipal buildings.  

Purcell’s second house, originally named “Lake Place”

Furniture Design

Purcell designed for comfort in particular and was fond of the modular, geometric type of club chair with narrow vertical splats on three sides.

Armchair, c. 1912-1913

Armchair

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