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For sale: Usonian-esque in Rockford, IL

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:00 am
by DavidC

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:11 pm
by Roderick Grant
This is a very handsome house. The stonework reminds me of Alfred Browning Parker. I have always liked shoji screens, one of Japan's great contributions to design. Most of what is questionable (such as wallpaper) is merely cosmetic and could be corrected easily, though that enormous window in the pool room is a bit busy, and the front yard of the small lot has way too much blacktop.

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:22 pm
by SDR
Driveways are a necessary evil at present---and for the presently foreseeable future (if that isn't an oxymoron). But blacktop, unless brand new, is usually an eyesore all too visible in realtor images. I don't know the price differential between asphalt and pavers---but it's easy to see the aesthetic advantage of the latter . . .


Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:51 pm
by Roderick Grant
In this particular instance, since the house is oversized for the lot, reducing the driveway to a single lane of concrete parallel to the north lot line would allow for space to place the house in a pleasant arrangement of living things.

Or perhaps, having an indoor pool, the owners had a constant flow of friends and relatives dropping by for a dip.

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:48 pm
by SDR
The design of driveways is, or should be, dependent on the physics and logistics of automobile steering, vehicle dimensions, turning radii, etc---shouldn't it ?


Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:11 pm
by peterm
That sounds like functionalism to me.
It’s also possible within the concept of organic architecture to additionally relate the drive to the shape of the house and/or locate it in such a way that it enhances or responds to landscaping, other nearby structures, etc. Wright’s designs for driveways in Usonian houses, at least when they were within close proximity, almost always continued and extended the actual geometry of the structure itself.

The most logical path is not always the most poetic. To observe that concept, check out the siting of paths in traditional Japanese gardens.

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:31 pm
by SDR
All of that is quite true. I would only say that if a poetic hardscape forces a driver to back into a rock, or step into a stream when exiting her car, she will wish for a bit more functionalism from her designer . . .!

In the equation Form=Function, both elements are (by definition) of equal weight---are they not . . . a fact that Mr Wright and his Lieber Meister would both have acknowledged, when speaking of the matter ?

Or did they just like the sound of their words . . . :)


Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:29 am
by peterm
I think Wright was able to juggle and balance function and poetry better than most.

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:11 am
by SDR
Probably so. His supreme achievement as I see it is to have gotten so much superior work built, more nearly to his specification and intended appearance than most architects wildly less prolific . . .


Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:32 am
by DRN
I particularly like the bedroom ceilings...they remind me of Wright's Richardson house with their facets and low middle. The detailing is remarkably good and thorough...this house would have House Beautiful article fodder in the was built in 1958.

The architects were from Naples, FL...Todd & Weisman...were either Taliesin ex-pats? Google is only raising this house and this building in FL as attributable to them: ... 5649566257 ... story.html

Looks to be undergoing an expansion from its use as a Hyatt to remain viable, this time as a boutique hotel. (scroll down)

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:43 am
by peterm
I’m not seeing the low middle in the photos. Which space are you referring to. I can’t imagine that a skylight would be placed at the low point of a faceted roof.

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:56 am
by DRN
The ceilings in the bedroom photos...they do not follow the roof, the opposite actually, and they have a light fixture at their center.
Photos 20,29,30,and 31 in the realtor listing.

OR, am I being faked out by flat 2D photos and the grain of the finishes causing me to misread shading/shadows as opposite?

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:25 pm
by Roderick Grant
Form = Function implies an equality of weight for the overall structure, but Carport = Living Room is a different matter, and not an equation.

There would be plenty of room with a straight shot along the lot line to enter and exit the garage. It's that grand ellipsoidal swath along the street that could be eliminated to advantage.

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:33 pm
by Roderick Grant
DRN, interesting that the firm was located in Florida, Alfred Browning Parker territory ... opposite side of the peninsula. The stonework on the Rockford house looks so much like ABP's work, Todd & Weisman must have been influenced by him, if not directly connected.