Larkin Offices?

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Matt2
Posts: 230
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:07 pm

Larkin Offices?

Post by Matt2 »

Much is made of the Larkin buildings open plan for workers, but did it have executive offices? I've seen a couple interior photos that featured masonry partitions, but nothing about enclosed executive offices.

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

Re: Larkin Offices?

Post by SDR »

On pages 50-52 of Jack Quinan's 1987 Larkin monograph there are four photos. The captions read:

46 Main floor light court. View from Darwin Martin's desk facing south.

47 Office of John D Larkin, south end of main floor.

48 Office of Charles, John, Jr., and Harry Larkin, south end of main floor.

49 Directors' meeting room, south end of main floor.

The latter three spaces are handsomely if rigorously enclosed within horizontal bands of brick and concrete. Above a low brick pony-wall or "wainscot" and a concrete cap or dado, there is either fine-grained patterned glass or open air. These bands are in turn capped by a concrete head rail passing over the door openings and bridging space, beneath a high ceiling.

Breathtakingly beautiful: an instance of "hi-tech" and/or refined brutalism, decades ahead of its time ?

S

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
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Re: Larkin Offices?

Post by SDR »

Image
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© 1987 by Jack Quinan, "Frank Lloyd Wright's Larkin Building -- Myth and Fact," The MIT Press

Matt2
Posts: 230
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:07 pm

Re: Larkin Offices?

Post by Matt2 »

Those shots are great. Thanks. Hadn't seen some before. As I thought, the offices weren't completely enclosed spaces, but more partitioned parts of the larger space. A shame no one saved one of those enclosures.

SDR
Posts: 19316
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Larkin Offices?

Post by SDR »

My eyes popped and my heart soared when I first saw those photos---multiple decades after my affair with Wright began. These are certainly my favorite bits of Larkin, hands down. Come to think of it, I've never looked into whether any of our digital modelers who have undertaken Larkin have gotten as far as replicating these rooms . . .

And, only today did I notice, in plate 47, a vertical row of globe fixtures in the background. Anybody know about those ?

S

SDR
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Re: Larkin Offices?

Post by SDR »

Larkin Office Manager William R Heath, and Secretary Darwin D Martin, had their desks placed in the middle of the main floor light court (Quinan, p 38). Martin had invented, in the 1880s, the Cardex card-indexing system (derived from library practice) which was used at Larkin for customer account-keeping.

S

SDR
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Re: Larkin Offices?

Post by SDR »

Martin's and Heath's desks are the two almost-squares with three seats, center of plan. John D Larkin's office is the upper of two at right.

Image


Detail: Martin and Heath desks, center left; John Larkin office upper right.

Image

© The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10136
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Larkin Offices?

Post by Roderick Grant »

As important as Larkin was to FLW's career, it is odd that so few interior photos were taken. The vertical row of light fixtures appears in only one other shot I can find in Quinan on page 63, "The Early Work," page 136, and Wendingen page 8.

SDR
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Re: Larkin Offices?

Post by SDR »

The single photo that Roderick cites, found in three publications, shows the east (entry) side of the building, fourth floor. In Quinan it is captioned "New York A and B mail-order groups, east side of fourth floor"; the view is of two rows of continuous desks, with file drawers built into the outside (left-hand) wall below high windows and below the parapet rail overlooking light court art right. The light fixture seen in the distance is a stack of four globes, each with a centered square-plan girdle and akin to the many others found throughout the building; compare to fixtures found at Martin and Robie houses.

The globes are just above head height, mounted to the end of a pier that is the inboard termination of the stairwell enclosure. In the plan detail above, it would be mounted to the left side of the (partially cropped) pier at the extreme upper right of the illustration. The installation shown in the photograph would be three stories above the one seen in the J D Larkin office photo; one can assume that there is an identical fixture on all corresponding piers---four to a floor---on at least the first four floors of the building ?

S

juankbedoya
Posts: 137
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:30 am

Re: Larkin Offices?

Post by juankbedoya »

SDR wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:55 pm
Martin's and Heath's desks are the two almost-squares with three seats, center of plan. John D Larkin's office is the upper of two at right.


Detail: Martin and Heath desks, center left; John Larkin office upper right.


© The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
Thanks for those pictures and "zoomed" plans.... Personally I think that Larkin building is the greatest lost not only for Wright but for modern architecture, over any other Wright structure.
Talking about Larkin, for people who haven't watch it yet... here's the recreation of this master work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvCIXNrYVVg
Last edited by juankbedoya on Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
Posts: 19316
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Larkin Offices?

Post by SDR »

We catch the merest glimpse of the vertical four-globe light fixture in Razin Kahn's magnificent Larkin model, at 4:45, extreme right margin:

Image

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