The Levin House, Parkwyn Village

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Richard A Levin
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:23 pm

The Levin House, Parkwyn Village

Post by Richard A Levin »

Hello All!
I have been a long time reader, but this is my first time posting. My name is Richard Levin, and my parents were Robert and Rae Levin, the builders of the Levin House in Parkwyn Village, Kalamazoo, MI. The family moved into the home when I was just a few months old, and the family moved out when I was eighteen. Not only am I knowledgeable about the home I grew up in, I also am knowledgeable regarding the other homes in Parkwyn, and somewhat knowledgeable about those at The Acres in Galesburg, MI.
If there are questions about the formation of Parkwyn Village and life there from 1950 through 1968 I will do my best to answer them.
In 1968 the family moved to Cincinnati, OH, and we moved into a home built by Ben Dunbar, and the family lived in that home for eighteen years. Here is my first question for the Wright chat: does anyone know if my parents are the only original owners of a Wright home who also lived in a home built by one of the Wright apprentices? Thank you in advance for any responses.
Richard Levin

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10571
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Richard, welcome to our site.
My first question is, can you post images of the Dunbar house?

What do you know about the Winn House and Winn family? Levin McCartney and Brown are all well-known, but there are some mysteries about Winn.

What can you tell us about the Jack Howe addition to your parents' house?

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Thanks for joining us, Richard. It will be a pleasure to read what you may have to tell us about your family's, and your own, experiences in your Wright and Dombar (do I have that right ?) houses.

https://www.curbed.com/2017/8/2/1607537 ... cincinnati

If I can assist in posting images, please don't hesitate to ask. I have assembled the illustrations and texts relating to the Robert Levin residence as published in the Storrer Companion and in the relevant ADA EDITA Monograph and Taschen Wright volumes.

One subject of interest is the iron-pipe trellis which adorned the living-room terrace at one time. We had a previous discussion here of the house and that element; because our Search function is currently compromised I am unable to locate the thread . . .

SDR

Richard A Levin
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:23 pm

The Levin House, Parkwyn Village

Post by Richard A Levin »

Of the three other Wright Home families my smallest amount of contact was with the Winns. I believe Mr. Winn was a businessman, and Mrs. Winn was an educator. I also remember that they had one daughter who was close to me in age. The daughter did not attend the same schools that I attended, so I did not know her very well. Mrs. Winn tutored me in penmanship at her house when I was in either 3rd or 4th grade. I don't remember a whole lot about the lower level of the house, as I had no reason to go down there. The room where I was tutored was a small office off the long hallway, which was part of the bedroom wing. Like our house, the Winn house overlooked the smaller of the two lakes, now called, "Little Asylum Lake." As a young boy I would catch small toads in the Winns' back yard that would come out of the lake by the hundreds.
I will try to post some pictures of the Dunbar house over the next few days. The home was in the Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming, where several Dunbar houses were located. By the way, along with my wife, I owned and ran a housecleaning service in Cincinnati, and we had the privilege to clean many of the Dunbar homes, including Ben Dunbar's hexagon house. We also cleaned Wright's Tonkin House, which is currently undergoing renovation.

Richard A Levin
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:23 pm

Post by Richard A Levin »

My apologies for misspelling Ben Dombar's name. Regarding the additions to the Kalamazoo house, there were two: the first was a utility/mudroom that was built sometime in the mid to late 50's. It was built off the hall that led from the living room/dining room/kitchen area to the hall that the bedrooms and bathrooms were off. The second addition was built in the early 60's, and included an unfinished basement. The wing had a family room and a large bedroom that was divided into two sections, with a closet in the middle that opened from both sides, and a bathroom with a shower. In the basement there was a large open area where we had a ping pong table, a couple of storage rooms, and a room that housed an indoor incinerator. If my memory serves me right, I believe that this wing had its own furnace, thus it did not have radiant heat like the rest of the house.

EJ
Posts: 240
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:24 pm

Post by EJ »

Welcome to the site, Mr. Levin. As a Michigan based Wright aficionado, I am very interested in what you have to say about these very important and interesting Wright houses.

To answer your question about original owners and apprentices, I know Alma Goetsch and Katherine Winckler moved from their Wright house to a design by former Wright apprentice E. Fay Jones.
"It all goes to show the danger of entrusting anything spiritual to the clergy" - FLLW, on the Chicago Theological Seminary's plans to tear down the Robie House in 1957

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Plans of Usonians which show subsequent additions -- designed by Wright and built during his lifetime, or later; designed by TAA or an apprentice; designed by others -- are not reliably available. W A Storrer, in his Guide and the Companions, sometimes includes additions on the plans, sometimes not -- as in the case of Levin.

Let's start with the descriptions of the property, as published in the major sources:





Image 1993, W A Storrer, "FLW Companion"


Image 1988, B B Pfeiffer, Monograph 7


Image 2009, Taschen "FLW 1943-1959"
Last edited by SDR on Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Some exterior views, arranged more or less chronologically:



Image


Image


Image


Image

© 1959, Balthazar Korab


Image


color images except as noted, © 2009 by TASCHEN GmbH and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

monotone photos © 1993 by William Allin Storrer
Last edited by SDR on Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Elevations, sections, and plans. Note the cantilevered living-room terrace.


Image


Image


Image

drawings © 1988 A.D.A EDITA Tokyo Co., Ltd. and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation



Image

plan © 2009 by TASCHEN GmbH and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation



Image

plan © 1993 W A Storrer
Last edited by SDR on Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

2008 photo by Juergen Nogai.


Image



Somewhere, perhaps on the lost thread, I think I saw a photo of the entry stair. (Note the relaxed pitch of the stairs in the house.) Other interior photos would be welcome . . .

SDR

Tom
Posts: 3217
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Yet another Wright house new to me.
They keep on comin'.
All the usual moves and yet so extraodinarily inventive.
Amazing to me.

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

This one is unique in so many ways; the level changes and the sections (look at the kitchen roof, over the entry stair) are unusual.

Take a look at the dining chair that appears on the colored plan sheet:





Image

Image



I've shown two manipulations of a close-up photo. Besides the view labels, I think I can read "Open" at the chair base -- those slots -- and "All 5/8" plywood", and "Cushions by others." I guess those are stick legs at the front ?

The other notes seem to refer to the upholstery, which has the front and rear hanging flaps Wright added to some of these chairs, presumably as cushion tenders, keeping the upholstery in place.

SDR
Last edited by SDR on Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom
Posts: 3217
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Yep, never seen that chair before.
those slots - definitely open

Hard to tell exactly how the roof planes transition along the entry axis
but looks as if he's doin some razzle dazzle.
The large section shows the some of this but how does the clerestory meet the sloped roof ... or does it?

Sorta surprised the Masterbedroom and bath have no window into the entry space. ...Feels a little like Affleck here.

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Well -- the carport roof stops somewhere before the entry steps gain altitude. There could have been a peek-a-boo window below the roof -- for security ?

The shed roof dies into the kitchen roof and, two units further on, the lower roof. It's more visible on the elevations; the cross-section (with kitchen roof and stair) avoids showing it.

These are 12 x 16 blocks, three to a unit in plan. There's the same lavender-buff hue we've seen in other Parkwyn photos, I think. Must be a trick of the light, or some color contrast that leaves that impression. Maybe the blue-gray of concrete granules or patches in the warm-colored blocks ? I wonder if it ever looks like that in person.



Image

Tom
Posts: 3217
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Richard Levin: I would be interested in hearing some memories of yours about the house.
Since you posted I've been wondering if you have a memory of spending more time in any particular space in the house than another?
Did you have one or two favorite spots?
Did you have a least favorite spot?
Were there temprature issues during the seasonal extremes?
Recurring technical issues?

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