FLW Apprentice/Artist Tony Smith's other architecture

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Modmom1
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:09 pm

FLW Apprentice/Artist Tony Smith's other architecture

Post by Modmom1 »

Somewhere on a thread discussing Tony Smith was a question about Tony's other built architecture besides Glenbrow. I don't have the time to research who asked so I thought I would post a link to The Tony Smith Estate's new website which breaks down his work as Sculpture/Painting/Architecture and Drawing.

In case some of you are unaware, after Gunning and a house for his wife's family, the Brothertons, Tony's influences veered towards Le Corbusier. I'm biased and prefer my house, under Wright's influences. Anyways, this site is a great resource. Click on the houses for additional photos:

Architecture: http://www.tonysmithestate.com/artworks/architecture

If you are interested in Tony's other work, this is a wonderful resource.. I have especially enjoyed the articles:

http://www.tonysmithestate.com/about/selected-articles

And if anyone is in NYC, there is a Tony Smith show at Pace Gallery: "Tony Smith: Source, Tau and Throwback" April 26-June 22, 2019.

We hope to see it in person but in the meantime there are some wonderful photos on Instagram for anyone interested.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Thanks, Modmom . . . that's great. I haven't seen many architectural works by Mr Smith before. I like the early stuff too---and the church on stilts (with windows by Pollack !) would have been widely published if it had gone forward, I expect . . .

S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The Brotherton House is exceptional. Clarity can easily be lost in a large house, especially one of such a difficult geometry to handle as this, considering that the hex is not regular, but distended somewhat to fit precisely into a square grid (the upper and lower sides being ~4'4" long instead of 4'0"). But there it is, clear, rational and elegant.

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

Post by SDR »

Oddly, I had little trouble duplicating Smith's "Module Unit Regular Hexagon," using ordinary 1/8" gridded paper and a Koh-I-Noor 12" 30-60 triangle.

Granted, it seemed to require my choosing "which side of the line" to draw on, in a couple of places.

I note that he calls it a "regular hexagon" . . .




Image

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

Post by Roderick Grant »

The oblique lines of the hexagon are ~48-3/8".

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

3/8" in four feet isn't too bad . . .

Anyway, it's great to see some of Smith's inventions, here. The work is way underappreciated---clearly . . .

S

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

Post by Roderick Grant »

In addition to the extra length, the 120 degree angles are slightly distorted, four expanded and 2 diminished. Yet I am sure it was considerably easier to construct than a grid of pure hexagons.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I'll let the mathematicians dance on that pinhead; the drafted example seems to speak for itself . . .

S

SpringGreen
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Tony Smith

Post by SpringGreen »

Modmom1: I had heard that Tony Smith was an apprentice under Wright for a short time, but had no idea he'd done architecture. Finding out that he'd been an apprentice was one thing (there are lots that were who never practiced), but finding out he actually did architecture is a huge shocker to me. I had to make sure that the Tony Smith I was thinking of was the same man as the architect. I only ever learned about him as a sculptor from Art History classes.

This is all really interesting; thank you.
"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".

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

Post by SDR »

The last item in Mod mom's second link, top of page, is a short 1949 magazine piece on the Brotherton house of Smith and Van Fossen. Here's the main graphic, enlarged for a screen grab.


There's a color photo on the other linked page; I wonder where the spiral stair goes to . . .

http://www.tonysmithestate.com/artworks ... use-1944/4


Image

Modmom1
Posts: 123
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Post by Modmom1 »

SDR, Thanks for producing a readable image! Only a guess: it appears to be one floor but seeing that the stairwell on the Site Plan image appears to go downstairs, maybe to the carport (you see 2 vehicles on the site plan) or possibly the basement access to gravity heat, but why wouldn't their be a door? Weird.

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

Post by SDR »

There are so many differences between the 1944 plan and the built house (presumably accurately represented by the attractive magazine plan and perspective) that one doesn't know where to look first. I don't see a stair in the 1944 plan, do you ? The elevation drawings---and the photographs ?---don't show the lower level that can be seen in the magazine illustration---but the stair photo seems to indicate that it exists.


Image

Modmom1
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Post by Modmom1 »

I can send an email and ask for possible clarification (which assumes someone can answer this). I thought the '44 plan might indicate a stairwell as a hexagon to the right of the 2 vehicles. My daughter thinks it might be an early concept that differs from the "as built". I'll see if I can find out and will let you know.

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

Post by SDR »

Well, its very interesting. A portfolio of photos of the house would help; I wonder if this work found publicity elsewhere . . .

And this is just one piece of work. I like that we continue to find new instances of Wrightian influence, over and over, as the years roll on !

S

Modmom1
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:09 pm

Post by Modmom1 »

SDR,

I found the answer to where the spiral staircase goes to in the Home & Garden article you reference above (just getting around to reading it) In the first paragraph the author states: "Directly under the kitchen the room for the GE furnace is reached by a spiral staircase in a hexagonal stairwell."

Weird that they didn't put a door at the top and that they made it such a nice staircase. We have a concealed door and almost a ladder staircase. Mr gunning even had a dark room in the basement, originally (now taken up with our 7 zone system)

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