Concrete block homes...

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Wes Barwick
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:47 pm

Concrete block homes...

Post by Wes Barwick »

Is there any book that describes in detail how the blocks for Wright's California homes were constructed? Or perhaps, a book that gives examples as to how one could create something like the textile block used. I know there was a discussion a while back but I can't find which post it was under.



Wes

therman7g
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:14 am
Location: Illinois

Post by therman7g »

I know there was a discussion a while back but I can't find which post it was under.


Could this be it?



http://www.savewright.org/talk/viewtopi ... ght=blocks

Wes Barwick
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:47 pm

Post by Wes Barwick »

That could be it, I am not sure. However, I thought the discussion was a little more in depth. I am still curious if there are any detailed sources out there on textile block construction.

Reidy
Posts: 1573
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:30 pm
Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

Sweeney's FLlW in Hollywood is the only full-length book on these buildings; Patterson's FLlW and the Meaning of Materials is a good source for technical details.



There's a reason why nobody makes these blocks, instruction is hard to find and the technology didn't catch on among architects and builders: in terms of construction costs and maintenance, it was a disaster.

DRN
Posts: 3921
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

The Usonian Automatic system was similar enough to the '20's Textile (concrete) Blocks to be an evolution of the same system. From what I have read of accounts by those who constructed Usonian Automatics, and my own observations of the gutted Pieper house as it was being buried in a McMansion, I think the Textile Block/Usonian Automatic systems suffered from the amount of prescision they required to construct.



A conventional masonry wall has mortar joints all around the block unit which enable the constructor to make minute adjustments to the plumb, level, and square of the wall is it rises. With Wright's system, the blocks join on all sides directly with adjacent blocks. Any imperfection on a block edge or indeed the shape of the unit itself, will start to multiply as construction continues. I found what appeared to be toothpicks and other small shim materials embedded at various locations in the Pieper walls, apparently to enable blocks to meet precisely to provide a good clean line and a good seal for the grouting of the block's edge channels.



I also noted when looking in end sections of walls where doors and windows had been removed, that the grout sometimes did not flow evenly and left steel bars exposed to moisture (what little there was in Phoenix).



The system was elegant in appearance and principle, but it seems to have been tedious to construct.

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