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3 Reasons FLW Designs Endure 150 Years After His Birth

Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:18 pm
by Paul Ringstrom

Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:05 pm
by Roderick Grant
Curious that the line drawings in the background of the portrait of FLW are of Lloyd's Sowden House.

The landscaping plan around the East Veranda of the Martin House was executed by WBG.

Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:26 pm
by SDR
How about a Cherokee (or brighter) red Guggenheim ? It could be done with lighting, on special occasions -- like a 150th birthday celebration -- for the faint of heart . . .


Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:56 am
by Patryko
Thanks for posting this article Paul. It's great!

Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:22 am
by SDR
Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, is quoted as saying that the typical Usonian home cost $5,000. Does he know that Jacobs I cost the client $5500, and that every subsequent Usonian came in at more -- or much more -- than that ?

Writer Matt Alderton says, "Wright’s designs, with their expansive windows, flat roofs, horizontal lines, open plans, and sparse ornamentation, have left a permanent impression on American architecture." Wrightians, which of those five descriptors seems out of place in Alderton's list ?


Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:24 pm
by JChoate
"Sparse ornamentation" sounds off base. In addition to overtly decorative perforated patterned windows, the very fabric of everything else in a Usonian house is effectively decorative. FLW wrote about "integral ornament" and I take that to mean things like the board & batten paneling (with it's horizontally oriented brass screws), and grid-inscribed, tinted concrete floors, and various geometric ceiling compositions in plank or panel, extending often to cantilevered trellises generating visual rhythms. Off of those interior surfaces built-in components (cabinetry, shelving, light fixtures) are configured and coordinated into the inherent geometry. Place-specific furniture is integrated into the whole, in effect being part of the same decorative composition.

Look at something like an interior photo of Zimmerman in all it's textural and colorful richness. Nothing "sparse" about that.

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:15 pm
by SDR
Indeed. I used to think that Wright was referring only to his overt decoration when referring to it as "integral," but your comprehensive description of the decorative fabric of a Usonian is more than persuasive.


Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:51 am
by Roderick Grant
There is also the context of FLW's early career, back in the 1890s when an interior never had too much 'stuff' in it. By comparison to Victorian excess, FLW was austere, even in the Prairie years. But compared to the paper-enclosed dust walls of most American houses for the past century, his work has always been decorative. The nature of the decoration is of a greater consistency than most, that is until the furniture is hauled in. Sam Freeman said that his house looked its best when it was completely empty ... and keep in mind that the built-ins (other than the 'pews' by the fireplace and the dining table in the kitchen/living room partition) were Schindler's work.

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:24 pm
by SDR
"Sam Freeman said that his house looked its best when it was completely empty" . . .

A man after my own heart. As a pack-rat, however, I have to enjoy the empty room vicariously -- via Futagawa's most characteristic photos, for instance.


Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:26 pm
by peterm
Refinement, restraint, careful placement of objects, balance of formality and informality, wabi sabi, or "good taste"...Decorating, when done (W)right is poetic and enhances the architecture, and vice versa. John de Koven Hill mastered it: ... d77385.jpg

It's not unlike the Buddhist "middle way"... walking that fine line between luxury and self denial.