Ernest Flagg life and biography

Ernest Flagg picture, image, poster

Ernest Flagg biography

Date of birth : 1857-02-06
Date of death : 1947-04-10
Birthplace : Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arhitecture and Engineering
Last modified : 2012-01-20
Credited as : architect, Beaux-Arts style, advocate for urban reform

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Ernest Flagg was a noted American architect in the Beaux-Arts style. He was also an advocate for urban reform and architecture's social responsibility.

Flagg was born in Brooklyn, New York, and left school at 15 to work as an office boy on Wall Street. After working with his father and brothers in real estate for a few years, he designed duplex apartment plans in 1880 with the architect Philip Gengembre Hubert, for the co-operative apartment buildings Hubert was known for.

Cornelius Vanderbilt II, Flagg’s cousin through his marriage to Alice Claypoole Gwynne, was impressed by Flagg’s work and sent him to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1889–1891, under his patronage. In 1891, Flagg began his architectural practice in New York, greatly influenced by his knowledge of the French ideas of architectural design, such as structural rationalism.

During this time he joined with John Prentiss Benson to create Flagg & Benson, which later became Flagg, Benson & Brockway with the addition of Albert Leverett Brockway. FB&B designed St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City.

In 1894, he established the architectural firm of Flagg & Chambers with Walter B. Chambers, whom he met in Paris. Usually, Flagg alone credited for some of the work he and Chambers worked on together, such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

His contributions to zoning and height regulations were essential to New York's first laws governing this aspect of the city's architecture. Flagg argued in favor of zoning laws which would regulate the height and setback of buildings, to allow light and air to reach the streets below them. He was a president of the New York Society of Beaux-Arts Architects. A small collection of Flagg's personal and professional papers is held in the Department of Drawings & Archives at Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.

Ernest Flagg married Margaret E. Bonnell on June 27, 1899 in New York City. They had one daughter, Betsey Flagg, who married John Melcher and become a well-respected small-scale portrait painter.
In 1912, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Flagg were on their way to a party held by Stowe Phelps, a fellow architect, when their limousine struck and killed a boy (James McNamara) who had suddenly skated in front of the car. The couple drove the boy to the hospital but he died en route.

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