Wright's Textile Block patterns investigated

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Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

That is actually the façade facing the parking court, or in "Female," the swimming pool.

Here is a perfect example of the many flaws built into this house, beyond the alterations inside made by Mabel Ennis. The 3-block high wall of the balcony outside the kitchen and pantry is a flat surface. The top row of patterned blocks are correct; the blank blocks should be set back 4"; the row of patterned blocks below that, rotated, and set another 4" back to line up with the row of blocks that extend over the 3 narrow windows on the ground floor. But that would have required yet another L-shaped block 16"x4". Also, the enclosed foyer was meant to be an open porch, with glass double doors set in between the piers on the south side of the space.

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

I went by Ennis house a couple of weeks ago.
I was surprised to see the textile block wall along the street continue up the street and around the curve in front of the next door neighbor's house. Perhaps, the Ennis site was once larger (?) and then later divided, allowing the neighboring house to be built up the hill behind that portion of the textile block wall which remained.
If so, how might've that portion of the site have been used originally before the division?

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Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

You're right. What is nowadays the lot next door was Mr. E's vegetable-and-fruit garden, subdivided in the 1930s.

The uphill part of the lot also contains an incinerator. This was a standard way of getting rid of trash until they were outlawed in the 1950s. The thinking was that this would fix the new problem of smog.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

On the opposite side of the neighboring house are two more block retaining walls with a terrace between them extending the full width of the 'new' lot. On the slope above was an orange grove. The property below that terrace, where now stands another neighbor, was also owned by Ennis.

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

Roderick,
I'm not exactly sure I follow, but I perhaps you're referring to site walls that are partially obscurred by foliage in this view.

Since you are a neighboring Angeleno, have you had occassions to personally experience this house over the years?
Among your experiences, I'm sure you remember the day you first laid eyes on the devastation of the earthquake damage. I suspect that would've been an emotional thing.

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Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

If you extend a line from the left of the house next to Ennis down slightly obliquely to the leg of Glendower that shows in the lower left of the aerial, you have the original Ennis lot line. About midway between those two houses, obscured by trees, is a narrow terrace flanked by retaining walls that extends perpendicular to the Ennis garage. It was the objective of the bridge over the auto entrance, around the end of the chauffer's cottage over the garage. That is also where the incinerator is found.

The loss of all those blocks of the retaining wall was amplified by the sight of two massive I-beams inserted to hold up the dining room element of the house. That façade has, mercifully, been corrected.

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

Aha! Now I see it. Thanks
It's like a hidden piece of archaeology (like a Mayan ruin in the jungle?)
We can even see the Ennis' stair leading down to it. I suppose it has no use for anyone these days.

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

Goodness. I feel like we're in the middle Antonioni's "Blow-up"; David Hemmings is homing in on a murder in a silent, overcast, green and breezy park somewhere in London . . .via his darkroom enlarger . . .

The green is perfect. Antonioni's was in part spray-painted, I believe -- the grass wasn't right as found. Now we have Google techs with too much time on their hands, inserting fake trees all over these aerials. Do realtors really want to hide the goods ?

SDR

egads
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Post by egads »

I think what looks like fake trees is just blur from the process of taking the photos.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I wish that were the case. But I've spent quite a lot of time looking at Google's aerials, sampling multiple areas of the country. You can clearly see the outlines of the tree shapes; they appear cut out and pasted on, almost like a collage. Of course, this is done digitally. The foliage itself might have been derived from photographs of trees -- of differing shades of green, in a blurry texture. But the outlines of trees or groups of trees is very clear.

I just can't figure out why they've taken the trouble to do this. Until a year or two ago, what you saw was whatever the camera(s) captured. Sometimes it was full summer foliage, other times the trees were bare. Now, everything has been homogenized into single season -- not winter, when buildings and roads would be maximally visible, but high summer. I don't get it . . .

SDR

Tom
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Post by Tom »

... appreciated the association with 'Blow Up'.
made me think also of Tarkovsy's 'Solaris'

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

It has been years since I was last at Ennis, so I don't recall precisely, but I believe that stair is part of the uphill house now, and there is a chain-link fence separating it from the Ennis property. At any rate, the terrace is not accessible from Ennis, though the incinerator is.

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

Speaking of movies and murders and stuff, there's always Vincent Price:

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JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

"House on Haunted Hill " 1959
(by the way, that incinerator would be a good way to dispose of the bodies.)

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photo from Wiki Common


Here's the whole movie. Not necessarily cinema at its finest, but well worth viewing from 1:25 to 2:04, then a good Ennis-laden stretch from 3:45 to 6:10. At the 6:10 mark things take a mysterious turn for the worse. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhUOuS0Gq6U

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

Huh. I somehow knew that was a Packard hearse, from the still. I'm too old.

Once we're in the house, Ennis disappears, only to reappear behind an actress briefly, beginning at 6:53, and again at 7:32. And then, at the final moments of the film . . .

So, Ennis gets us through the door, literally (and a bogus "steel" door at that), and then it's on to some tired old interior sets that the studio had hanging around -- I guess. The bogus wrought-iron drive gate gets some use, anyway.

SDR

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