The Flatiron

by Zach Slonsky

Precedence of Manhattan Flatiron, first New York City skyscraper

Precedence of Manhattan Flatiron, first New York City skyscraper

Columbus Flatiron as it is today

Columbus Flatiron as it is today

When people hear the “Flatiron” most people think of the famous building located in the borough of Manhattan, New York City. Many people would perhaps not think that Columbus, Ohio has its own version of this building on the corner of Locust and Lazelle street, facing North Fourth Street. (perhaps talk about how many cities have a replication of this building, such as Pittsburg, Atlanta, or Boulder) This building has an extensive history starting in 1914. It was built by Herbert Aloysius whose name is still inscribed in a rock on the top of the building. Originally, this place offered a small saloon and grocery store, as well as a few apartments on the upper two floors. It was a very popular destination for the railroad builders that worked on the Columbus-Toledo rail line just north of the building.

Its uses varied somewhat over time. For a time the saloon on the first floor of the building became a restaurant,  as a result of prohibition legislation. They later reverted this restaurant back into a bar. The top two floors are currently being renovated into updated apartments.

This building is noted for its very thin construction. Due to the thin plot of land it was built on, this building wedges down to an astonishing 8 feet on its smallest side. This is peculiar considering it is a full four stories tall at any given point. Also, as a result of this plot, this building is organized in a very linear fashion. It relates to a central axis originating from the crux of E Nationwide St. and Lazelle St.


Figure/Ground map of the site near the Flatiron

Despite being four stories tall, the facade is split into three layers. This split is shown by the grid of windows and makes it clear in showing a tripartite organization. Another thing to notice about the materials of the exterior is there is a noticeable change in brick tone. This is the result of a recent renovation that saved the building from the same fate many other historic buildings in Columbus have shared, demolition.

This facade is further organized by a datum of windows and implied windows adorning the century old brick. Implied windows being where the space defined by the datum is marked by stones, but not glass, resulting in reinforcement of this pattern despite a window not being in every space.

Other details in this space are the use of pointed arches on top of the first floor windows and doors. These show Gothic influence on the design of the project. This is a fairly typical thing to see for buildings built in this time period. Early 19 century US buildings typically fell into a style of architecture known as Gothic revival. The premise of this style was to Other notable buildings such as the Ohio Statehouse also fall into this category.


“Google Maps.” Google Maps. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

“Building History.” Flatiron Bar and Diner. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

“Gothic Revival.” Architectural Styles of America and Europe. N.p., 03 Nov. 2011. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.