Properties that embody the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type specimen exceptionally valuable for a study of a period, style, or method of construction, or that represent a significant, distinctive and exceptional entity whose components may lack individual distinction.
This criterion is used for properties that are exceptionally important works for their design, either an individual building or a collection of buildings/resources comprising a district.
The property might be a key work of a nationally significant architect or builder. Not all works of a documented master are eligible for NHL designation. For example, while all of Frank Lloyd Wright's extant buildings may be nationally significant given his importance, only those that represent his career benchmarks and/or designs that have become iconic within his body of work may be eligible for designation.
A property can also be considered under Criterion 4 as one of the best examples of an important type, period, form, or construction method (such as its engineering). It cannot be merely a competent design or representative example. The importance of a property type is determined by prevailing scholarship. Artistic value is considered only in the context of history's judgment in order to avoid conflicts with current taste and aesthetic trends.
Click here for a Criterion 4 example:
Christ Church Lutheran, MN
|photography by Miss a Liss via Flickr
St. Mary's Falls Canal, MI
One of the most successful waterways constructed during the antebellum period, construction of this canal allowed exploitation of the resources of the Lake Superior area.
photograph by edkohler via Flickr
Christ Church Lutheran, MN:
Christ Church Lutheran is one of the most celebrated works by Eliel Saarinen, who was among the most important architects and architectural educators of the twentieth century. Saarinen was on the leading edge of the modernist movement and played a pivotal role in the emergence of modernist religious architecture in the United States. Through his adept use of materials, proportion, scale, and light, with Christ Church Lutheran he created a building with great dramatic effect and architectural impact, yet one that also retained a human scale and possessed a feeling of serenity and repose.