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V.C. Morris House Construction Drawings

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:17 am
by Tom
Dont think we've seen this.
V.C. Morris House construction drawings at Heritage Auctions:

https://fineart.ha.com/itm/frank-lloyd- ... ail-071515#

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:13 pm
by Roderick Grant
Perhaps the strangest house FLW ever designed. It's like a version of Jester with hives.

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:50 pm
by Tom
I had never seen this version before.
The elevations show the major vertical elements as stone.
The fireplace has a FW style swinging spherical kettle.

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:34 pm
by SDR
This is "House 2" for V C Morris (1957; Taschen III p 514). I thought I had drawings of this house on file somewhere, but they seem to be missing now.

http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewto ... c&start=15

I don't recall seeing the elevations before, or the sections; most of these sheets are new to me in fact. I could have sworn this project was posted here somewhere, beyond the poor images on the above-linked page . . .

S

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:52 pm
by SDR
"Jester with hives" perhaps---but one suspects that this house if built would have been acclaimed as a "post-war Fallingwater," and not only for its dramatic siting ?

The demi-lune windows bear a resemblance to those seen both at the Guggenheim and at the unbuilt Affleck II house http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewtopic.php?t=13070

Perhaps only by viewing a model could we properly assess the design ? The elevations don't readily allow the reader to distinguish between orthogonal and cylindrical forms.



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Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:47 pm
by Roderick Grant
And here we have the first Frank Lloyd Wright dog house!

I agree that the constructed work might be more comely than the drawings suggest, but it still seems a bit over the top.

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:45 pm
by SDR
1957 was the year that big tail-fins appeared on American cars; there was bravado if not chutzpah in the air ?

And that raises the question, to what degree did Mr Wright pay attention to design trends, architectural and otherwise, over the course of his practice ?

We just read, not for the first time, the assertion that Fallingwater was Wright's "answer" to the Internationalists. "The effects you see [in this building]
are not superficial effects," he wrote. Did any trends, or specific moments, in the ongoing march of progress in art and design affect his work---whether
acknowledged in any way, or not ?

S

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:04 pm
by Roderick Grant
SDR, you miss the fin mark by 3 years. Although more subtle than the '57 Plymouth, '58 Buick or '59 Cadillac, the 1954 Ford had fins.

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:38 pm
by Tom
When did Wright design the Berger dog house?
Until now I thought that was unique!

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:43 pm
by SDR
Auto enthusiasts would not agree that the '54 Ford had tailfins---if you define tailfins as "body extremities rising above
the window-sill line, or enlarging in profile or section as they move away from passenger compartment." Nascent fins
appeared on the '56 Chrysler Corp lines, and on virtually all makes in '57. Chrysler's ads that year boasted "Suddenly,
it's 1960 !" It took GM two more years to match Chrysler in the outrageous and soon-to-be quelled tailfin fad. "Detroit
High Baroque" ?

One of the purer examples, where the front and rear treatments actually speak to each other: '59 Buick.

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Mr Wright would presumably have approved of the cantilevered roof extension and wrap-around corner glass all around.

By 1961 the same make had come back to earth, lowering the blood pressure of the conservative Buick market no doubt.

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Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:20 pm
by jay
And that raises the question, to what degree did Mr Wright pay attention to design trends, architectural and otherwise, over the course of his practice ?

We just read, not for the first time, the assertion that Fallingwater was Wright's "answer" to the Internationalists. "The effects you see [in this building]
are not superficial effects," he wrote. Did any trends, or specific moments, in the ongoing march of progress in art and design affect his work---whether
acknowledged in any way, or not ?
I'm currently reading John Dewey's book "Art as Experience" from 1934. I'm not sure how popular this book was, or still is, as Dewey was a prominent figure. But man, the book is excellent. And for the Wright fan, it reads as if it could be titled the "Philosophy of Organic Art". I'd be surprised if Wright didn't read it, and surprised if the book didn't have some influence on him, especially in the way he verbally articulated his architectural approach as he entered his Usonian era.

Notably, "Art as Experience" was referenced many many times in "Experience of Landscape" by Jay Appleton (which originated the "prospect and refuge" theory that Grant Hildebrand so marvelously applied to Wright's work in "The Wright Space").... And the "Art of Experience" also talks often of what we describe in Wright's work as "compression and release", although Dewey uses different terminology and treats it in a universal approach.

The thrust of Dewey's book is that art is the domain of the material concrete world, where life (and art) is experienced. He chides what he calls the "esoteric theory of fine art" and how social forces have removed art from "the people" and put it into fancy museums, both physically and metaphorically.

A few quotes I liked––

“The first characteristic of the environing world that makes possible the existence of artistic form is rhythm. There is rhythm in nature before poetry, painting, architecture and music exist.�

“There must be energies resisting each other. Each gains intensity for a certain period, but thereby compresses some opposed energy until the latter can overcome the other which has been relaxing itself as it extends. Then the operation is reversed, not necessarily in equal periods of time but in some ratio that is felt as orderly.... Resistance accumulates energy; it institutes conservation until release and expansion ensue.�

“But whatever path the work of art pursues, it, just because it is a full and intense experience, keeps alive the power to experience the common world in its fullness. It does so by reducing the raw materials of that experience to matter ordered through form.�

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:38 pm
by SDR
Nothing could be more natural that rhythm: seasons, tides, the hours of a day; a galloping quadruped, the beating of a heart. Compression and release (by whatever terms) can be seen as yet another of these natural phenomena.

The wresting of art away from academia and the "elites" is probably as old a notion as art itself. "I don't know anything about art---but I know what I like" is the crowd's response to the "expert."

Even those of us who believe strongly that art should speak for itself, can't help wanting to find "meaning" (hidden or not) in works of art, I suppose. But by all means let the artist have the first word, if not the last ?

S

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:24 pm
by jay
Which is all to say that the "raw" material of art comes from the natural world, its rhythms, etc, and is re-formed in some way by the artist, then given back to the material world in its new shape... The reduction is sort of "yeah duh" stuff, but overall is also pretty consistent with the trends of philosophy of that era, at least as far as I've seen... Unclear if Wright was interested in "intellectual" trends of his day.

To paraphrase Dewey, the first impression of any given art work is an experience of immediate aesthetic quality. Sometime thereafter, most people who were impressed with the work want to know more, contemplate it, etc.... The critics and experts and scholars certainly have value, I think we can all agree, but perhaps any auxiliary discussion of art should come with a "Surgeon General's Warning: Do Not Let Experts Interfere with Your Initial Experiences of Pieces of Art Work".

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:10 pm
by SDR
That speaks directly to a thought that occurred to me at one point: Everything we create makes an impression of one sort or another;
we owe it to ourselves, at least, as artists and designers, to ensure that each bit of work we produce has the effect we intended for it.

Your first paragraph brings to the fore the vital sense that it is man's practice to synthesize, and that our raw material, in every sense,
is found in the natural world we inhabit. Wright used the words "abstraction" and stylization" in just the sense that every artist and de-
signer understands them---and his work contains endless examples of such abstraction and stylization, to a degree rare among mod-
ern architects.

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:47 pm
by jay
Here's the first chapter of "Art as Experience":
https://sites.evergreen.edu/danceasart/ ... e-ch.1.pdf

Yes, and how marvelous that Wright's abstractions and stylizations often return the inhabitant back to those natural senses of wonder,
as opposed to intellectual stimulants (as I'd suggest the post-modernists do). This is what I think Wright means with "the effects you see are not superficial effects".