Universal Portland Cement Co. Exhibition

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Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

SDR,

I added the photo to my post above. It's on the first page as well, along with the little bit of drawings we have for it. Thank you for the kind words!

I had wondered if they might be electric light fixtures as well. The sketches show a globe atop the totem poles, so it's certainly a possibility.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Ah---of course; I didn't think to start at the beginning . . .

The only possible exception is that the "table" at center appears to have a border around the central field that's as narrow on the ends as on the long
sides, in the photo, while yours has been given a broader width at the ends---hardly a serious deviation.

It's so good to see all the tiles in place---for the first time. The thing looks "whole" at last.

It's possible to read something. . .linear. . .inside the six terminals ? But I can't make that into a light source, or the receptacle for same, with what I know.
Probably best to leave them as is ?

S

Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

I see something linear inside the terminals as well. I'm hoping to get some more information. A friend of mine did a lot of digging into the Universal Portland Cement Company and found a lot of great information. We're hoping it could lead to some more. It looks like they did all the concrete for Midway Gardens a few years later, so I would guess Wright had a good relationship with them.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I'd love to think that there were cubic lighting "globes" on those terminals---but that's just me fantasizing. Round ones, on the other hand, would speak to the circular planter basins . . .

S

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Meisolus mentioned a book he referred to as the little Wasmuth. Does anyone know what was the exact name of the book, the name of the publisher, and publication date?

Is he referring to the 1963 Horizon reprint?
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Iowa State students have built several models of various Wright buildings throughout the years for the Stockman House visitor center and I recall that we once had one that was labeled Portland Cement. I wonder where they got the info needed to build it.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

SDR
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Post by SDR »

And . . . where would that model be today ?

S

SDR
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Post by SDR »


Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

Meisolus mentioned a book he referred to as the little Wasmuth. Does anyone know what was the exact name of the book, the name of the publisher, and publication date?
When Wright published the Wasmuth portfolio, a smaller softcover book of photos accompanied it. There was an edition for the European market and another for the American. The American version had a few extra pictures, including the ones of the project under discussion. The proper title is Frank Lloyd Wright, Ausgeführte Bauten but it has been reproduced many times as you can see from SDR's links. If you're interested in the original, you can find more information here, most of the way down the page.

http://www.steinerag.com/flw/Books/a0087.htm

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

"The Early Work ..." was not published concurrently with the portfolio, but a year later. That book contained the image of the Universal Portland, which does not appear in the portfolio. I believe what you are referring to as a photo is actually a perspective drawn for the portfolio, but not included in the published product. The curious ellipse at the bottom of the image may argue against that assumption, but if it is a photo of the actual structure, the editing went way overboard. If it is a drawing, that would more logically explain the "ghost pillow."

I disagree about the scale of the tiles, or dentils, and the space between. The light dentils are obviously wider than the dark space. They stand proud of the structure, as can be determined by the bottom row at the far left of the 'photo' where it turns a corner. FLW would never have a procession of such a detail coming to an abrupt end at a corner without carrying it around. Those along the edge of the planters show a clear difference in the width between the dentils and the space between. Add the two widths, and you would get a miniature of the scale of the whole project. I would be surprised if the space between was tile at all. Also, look carefully at the white tiles. There appears to be crosshatch lines dividing them into fourths.

The exasperating differences in FLW's drawings makes absolute determinations very difficult, since many drawings are undated. I found, while working on the drawings of the Barnsdall couches, that the best way to do it was to make drawings of all versions and then throw a dart. But the overall scale of the drawings always turn out to be accurate. Since I have not done the work on this project that you have, I cannot be certain about how accurate the initial major dimensions are, but I would be hesitant to alter them. It looks like 12'x24', and I would begin with that and change it only if it simply could not work.

David
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Post by David »

Work in progress!

Image

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Well, that's handsome, David. The elevation of your camera, however, welds the spires to the rear wall, losing something of the spatial composition as a result ? Perhaps you like the asymmetries this view produces; the right-hand elevated planting disappears as well (in monochrome), furthering the effect . . .

Looking forward to the final disposition of this one !

S

David
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Post by David »

Interesting reflection I will take that into account!

Usually, I place the (virtual) camera at the average height of a person, over 5 foot 9 inches, although this is not set in stone, using these standards improves the understanding of the image.

Although it is true that in the era of drone photography maybe human height is no longer a standard ...

Monochrome images, or clay renders, have their charm but do not worry that the final result will be much more colorful!

Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

I'm sorry that I haven't posted in such a long time on this topic, but I got a new job about two months ago and life has been really hectic. I did manage to go back to the model and make some (to me) pretty significant changes. What David posted is much closer to what is shown in the retouched photo than I had before. And I can say that David is doing his usual spectacular job of bringing it to life.

To address some of the comments/suggestions made before - I made the square terminals on the totem poles into lights. I think this is what they actually were, and the initial drawing we have does show a light fixture on top of them, though it is round and none are sticking out the sides. It seems appropriate. I rather doubt I got it 100% correct, but it's close.

I also redid the decorative panels on the back wall above the bench. It involved fudging my rigid 1" spacing of the tiles, but once I did, everything seemed to fall into place. This makes me wonder how consistent Wright was with the tile spacing, but we'll probably never know, alas, as with so many other things.

As always, thanks for everyone's input. It's invaluable!

SDR
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Post by SDR »

It wouldn't surprise me to find that, in construction, a field of 1" tiles spanning many feet would't get off-grid. Indeed, one wonders how a tile-setter, in the
days before 12 x 12 sheets of tiles were available, would do a layout to assure himself of not ending a run with half a tile. The only error that would be
noticeable would be wandering of vertical alignment---the same problem sometimes observed in running-bond brickwork ?

S

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