Page 2 of 3

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:31 pm
by SDR
With thanks to Antique Home Style magazine, a transcription of the 1907 Ladies Home Journal introduction to Wright's seminal four-square:


Image
Image
Image
Image
Image


As no elevation drawings of Wright's initial design have been published, the illustrations above will have to serve,
for comparison to Griffin's Rule house elevation. The significant formal differences will be readily apparent . . .


Image

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:47 pm
by SDR
In Wasmuth Pfeiffer finds a bit more of Wright's description of the Fireproof House:

Image


. . . and the illustrations. In this perspective only, the trellis breaks free of the house, standing centered on its twin supports. In the living room, a particularly substantial keyboard instrument lurks near the entrance to the space . . .


Image

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

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:27 pm
by Roderick Grant
Am I misreading, or does the LHJ article indicate that a wooden version of the house was designed in 1901, 2 years prior to the (supposedly WBG) Lamp House? Is there any such 4-square design that predates 1901?

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:35 pm
by SDR
The second sentence of the Ladies Home Journal text should not, I think, be read literally, but instead refers to an imaginary "wooden house" of standard construction to which Mr Wright is contrasting his superior offering.

S

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:42 pm
by Roderick Grant
... and yet...?

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:26 pm
by SDR
"Is there any such 4-square design that predates 1901?" Do you mean, by Wright -- or by any other . . .?

S

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:31 pm
by outside in
There is an interesting house at 401 Woodlawn in Glencoe:

Image

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:47 pm
by SDR
It would be most interesting to know the date of that house, and the identity of its designer. But it cleaves close enough to Rule, in form and detail, to suggest Griffin as the designer ?

The lack of broad roof overhangs, on the other hand, separates this house from the first-run Wrightians -- doesn't it . . .


As for L-shaped living-dining spaces rotating around the fire, the list in Wright is long; it begins at the Oak Park home, and continues, through the
Sullivan Bungalow, the Blossom, Bagley, Goan, Goodrich and Furbeck residences; the C E Roberts houses of 1996 do, as well. The George Smith
(1896) and Jessie Adams (1900) houses might be prototypical four-squares; they too have L-shaped living-dining spaces but not centered chimneys.

Willits presents an inverted L with center chimney as does its baby offspring, Davenport. Even the Lexington Terrace corner apartment has a truncated
L-shaped plan encompassing the living and dining arrangement -- though of course this and most other pre-1900 plans mentioned here have partitions
with wide openings separating the two functions.

S

Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:09 pm
by Roderick Grant
In the Wisconsin book from the American Guide Series (1937-1941) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) there is an article about FLW for which the widow of Robie Lamp (Gertrude or Gladys, I believe) was interviewed. She claimed that the date of the design of her house was 1895. This is at odds with the 1904 date Storrer gives, yet it would not be the only time a years-long gap between design and build of a FLW house happened.

The article was written by a woman from Minnesota, a political activist, not an architectural historian, so it is logical that all she did was report what she was told.* If Mrs. Lamp said 1895, it seems likely that was actually the case. It could be that in the meantime, the original design underwent alterations to account for the end product looking more like a later work than the houses of the '90s. But it does not look like anything FLW was doing by 1904, either. Considering that Lamp's first commission was built in 1893, that he could have been in a position to build the house is not unlikely. I cannot reconcile the house as built with what was going on in the FLW atelier even as early as 1900, much less 1904 (Unity Temple, Martin, Westcott, Gale). If 1895 is correct, it was not WBG who worked on the original scheme, since he didn't start until 1901, but it could have been WBG who worked on it in 1904. So despite Jack Holzhueter's rejection, I still claim the earlier date to be accurate.

* The article also mentioned a restaurant in Oak Park which FLW decorated. Since it no longer exists, some were hesitant to give credence, until proof showed up that it indeed did exist.

Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:27 pm
by SDR
Why make it so complicated ? All sources agree that Robie Lamp's summer cottage at Lake Mendota dates to 1893, and all sources but the aging widow agree that the Lamp residence belongs to 1903.

The easiest answer to all this is that the lady mis-remembered the date of the house, conflating it (roughly) with the date of her husband's first Wright commission . . . ?

S

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:53 pm
by Roderick Grant
It isn't complicated at all. The Lamp House, charming as it is, stands out amid its supposed contemporaries like a sore thumb. The style of it is out of date by about 10 years. The assumption that WBG designed the house from scratch, or even from a concept by FLW, has always been speculation, without a shred of evidence. It is likely WBG worked on the house, but it is also likely that an original scheme predated the constructed version, even by as much as 8 years.

This may be nit-picking, but then, isn't that what we do here?

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:42 pm
by Paul Ringstrom
Taliesin marks the house as T0402, meaning the second commission of 1904.

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:20 am
by SDR
True -- but time spent with the Monographs and with Taschen will reveal that the Taliesin number assigned to a project doesn't invariably agree with the date
given for the project. Storrer has Lamp in 1903. Monograph 2 shows a first scheme in 1903 and the built one at 1904, while Taschen I shows only the final
house, and this time dates it to 1903 -- so Pfeiffer and friends were willing to reconsider a project, after as well as before the archive number was selected.

S

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:55 am
by Roderick Grant
Mono 2, pp 89-91, show the rental property (1903) that was not built; it is not a preliminary for the house. Pages 92-3 are of the house, dated 1904. Storrer's Companion dates the house 1903, but his catalog, every publication, gives the date 1904. All the proves is that the archive wavered on a date that was apparently questionable. It is also, '03 or '04, the date of construction, not design.

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:44 pm
by SDR
Storrer explains his dating choices thus (1993, p xii): ". . . the date the project first took a form fully identifiable in the final built work . . .", leading one to believe that he must have had access, and time, to research each project via the archive ?

I find nothing from Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer in the first volumes of the Monographs or of Taschen about the choice of date for each project; on the last page of the Plate List, Monograph 1, is this note about the file numbers:


Image