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Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

There is no published image of the triplex. I wrote an article for JTF, Issue 21, Spring 1997: On page 14 is a sketch of the original project taken from a Xerox of a drawing provided by Taliesin, plan and elevation, clearly in FLW's own hand. There was a copy of the perspective that was converted into Rand's Project, but it was not used in the issue. The rough bit of masonry at the top of Rand indicates that the top floor of All-Steel was lopped off.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks, Roderick -- most interesting. So, the All Steel [sic BBP] structure had one more floor than is shown here ?


For the record, I copy the text (Pfeiffer's extensive account of Wright's Ayn Rand affair) and the drawing to be found in "Treasures of Taliesin" (1985; Olgivanna
died March 1 of that year).

Wright's soft graphite pencil is evident all over this drawing -- not, I would say, the work of Jack Howe, but employing his characteristic style and coloring -- in
two categories of correction: substantive changes to the building, and atmospheric or decorative additions (shadows and shading, strengthening outlines, etc).

Detail 6 includes evidence of canting, in or out, of parapets; in detail five I see both a question mark and an exclamation mark, perhaps added by an apprentice
after the fact and by way of comment ?

This ark is quite a "cottage" ! Isn't that what the mansions at Newport were called by their owners . . . ?



Image


Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

Image 6

SDR
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Post by SDR »


Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

Regarding the Fir Tree Cabin, I'm reworking the plan and I think it is actually extremely close (or as much as I can get it) to what is on the page. I'm coming to the conclusion that the perspective seems to be the most developed drawing in terms of the design, and I'm trying to make the model to match it. I'm having a hard time figuring out the bedrooms though.

What is going on on either side of the projecting prow windows in both rooms? Looking at the plan, on the right we clearly have a square recess to either side that has glazing. I question what one is supposed to do with the odd square interior space, though I suppose it could be for a built in set of drawers. On the left side, the drawing is less clear. It seems like multiple options may be overlaid. I distinctly see one with an additional diagonal. This version can be seen on the right side as well, but faintly as though it was erased. The perspective is not much help as I cannot tell what is going on in this area both in the rendering and in the plan below. Thoughts?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

My fist thought: both halves should be identical -- but I imagine you'd agree with that.

The only real difference I see between the two versions is that the left-hand one more closely resembles the arrangement of piers and glass in the major central bay: that is, there is a pair of
solids, parallel to each other, at each half of the bay; this is seen in the living room window wall, and in the left-hand version of the bedroom window, while on the right the glazing is continuous.

Thus, I prefer the solution seen in the left-hand half of the drawing.

"I'm coming to the conclusion that the perspective seems to be the most developed drawing in terms of the design . . ." My point exactly.

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Tahoe:

Not sure, Mies & SDR, what ya'll are dickering over, but as I see it, the fenestration on the right bedroom is the finished product, and the left simply shows FLW's messiness. The right is of a piece, while the left is made discontinuous by the solid bits of wall. The "odd square interior space" is just a jog in the wall, not big enough for anything. It's what Sam Freeman called "the extravagant use of space." The diagonal line in the left bedroom is an extension of the eave line, and the base of an equilateral triangle, with a matching triangle to the right, used to organize the spaces.

The entire grid combines squares, octagons and triangles. To fully understand the geometric rationale, draw just those basic elements, overlain, including the retaining walls. You should be able to find Waldo in the grid.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Rand:

SDR, there is no canting of the parapet in image 6. Notice that there is a crease in the paper just to the right of the line that seems to be canted, causing a distortion in the photographed image. The same crease in image 5 distorts a horizontal line.

The top floor on the original was to accommodate the top 2-story apartment, which would have had a very limited floor space. It appears only on the unpublished rough sketches.

The second version of Rand shows the house on the flatter ground of the All-Steel lot, while the altered version, for a property not yet selected, was for dramatic effect.

An interesting detail: The 12'x20' pool at the first level (which shows as a fountain of water shooting skyward) extended from inside the house to outside under a row of folding doors hanging just above the water line, a delightful, though litigious extravagance for California, but an icy contemplation for New England. These sorts of unresolved details imply that FLW knew Ms Rand would not actually follow through with building the house. Geiger claims that Wright was not impressed by Rand (beyond her purse) and regarded her as stupid.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Image


" . . . the right bedroom is the finished product, and the left simply shows FLW's messiness. The right is of a piece, while the left is made discontinuous by the solid bits of wall."


Well, your preferences are clear, in any event, RG !


Was it D P Moynihan, or someone else, who first said "You’re entitled to your own opinions; you’re not entitled to your own facts" ?


SDR

Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

Image
Image
Image

Here is the first look of the Fir Tree Cabin in its roughest form. I have most of the plan figured out except for the ends of the bedrooms. For me, the key is going to be how the inverted pyramids below the overhangs interact with the fenestration above, especially as there are additional triangular elements on the sides. I'm not there yet, though.

Questions in no order:

Would all the windows be at the same height? Would some of them come all the way down to the floor? I question how I am currently showing the windows between the rectangular piers in the kitchen. To me the glass looks almost like an infill, and my instinct is to make it go down to the floor. I doubt that these windows would have been operable since they are at the back of relatively deep piers, but having no evidence for any of that I'm showing them at the same height as everything else currently.

What would the exterior wall of the kitchen be? Would it all be glazed? Presumably it would be looking at trees or a hillside. I looked at plans of the other cabins in Designs for an American Landscape and the Wigwam Cabin had a similar condition in the kitchen. The plan there showed two options: one was glazed, and the other resembled what was drawn for the Fir Tree Cabin. It wasn't terribly helpful, but makes me lean towards glazing the back.

What would the fireplace in the kitchen look like based on the plan? I feel very confident with what I'm showing in the living room but the kitchen is a mystery. Any thoughts on where I could look for similar examples? (Someone badly needs to write the Wright Fireplace Book).

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I agree -- but how many kitchen fireplaces would you find in Wright ? I'm betting that they'd fit on the fingers of one hand. How would you furnish this kitchen ? An island or two make sense, to me .. .

I too imagined the glass in the double colonnades to be to the floor, though I can't think of a reason why your rendition isn't equally likely, if less dramatic. Materials, climate, function would determine the outcome in any built example, perhaps ?

The kitchen window wall (?) is the biggest unknown, isn't it. If this were indeed a porch kitchen -- an even rarer occurrence this side of, I don't know, New Orleans ? -- your problem would be solved. A screened porch, needless to say . . .

Don't the plan, the view drawing and the elevation agree on the essentials of the bedroom termini/prows ? There's a confusing potential flaw in the elevation http://i64.tinypic.com/142x3ed.jpg where an equilateral triangle is included at the inboard corner of the triangular prow.

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Rough cartoon of the bedroom bay. I find the extra piers redundant -- even if Mr Wright was thinking of them supporting the roof hips, one way or another ?


Image

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Here's the alternate construction, to match the newly-uncovered elevation:


Image


Image

drawing © 2018 by OA+D and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Matt
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Post by Matt »

I've always liked the chord the Rand drawing strikes. It's the sort of design...in his Fallingwater mode...that makes me want to crawl all over the structure. I could not find much in terms of alternate elevations and just some sketches of plans so it doesn't appear to have been thoroughly thought out. It would be very tiring to live in with all those levels. I believe there was an apartment building that Rand derived a lot of its shape from.

The metal projects are also pretty sketchy, but intriguing in their thinness. I've never found much detail on their means of construction and given Wright's apparent aversion to steel, I'd like to know what he would have done with that material.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Roderick's post made clear that the Rand "studio cottage" was derived from an All Steel multi-unit building design . . .

The building in the view drawing could be described, for me, as Storybook Wright -- what someone might propose as prototypical Wrightian form, primarily because of the obvious Fallingwater precedent.
The contrasting materials of supporting and supported elements cements the association.

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Rand:
SDR, the distortion seems to me to come from that crease to the right of the left parapet. On the right, you have extended the wrong line. It is quite clear that the parapet is vertical.

Matt, there are a lot of All-Steel drawings that have yet to be published, but nothing gives a clear indication how the whole thing is put together. There are, for instance, operable awning sash 9" wide by 17' tall! The steel elements that are structural consist of U-channel beams filled with concrete. As existing drawings go, I fear this entire project would have been a structural nightmare, as well as uncomfortably hot in the California sun.

For another Fallingwater knockoff, see the 1942 Clark Foreman Project (Mono 7/9; Tasch 2/173).

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