For sale: Flood-damaged Alden Dow home - Midland, MI

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DavidC
Posts: 7805
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

For sale: Flood-damaged Alden Dow home - Midland, MI

Post by DavidC »


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

Re: For sale: Flood-damaged Alden Dow home - Midland, MI

Post by SDR »

Of the score or more of Alden Dow's residential-scale buildings I have encountered, this one would be an outlier: it deploys a structural system possibly unique in his work, if not in the canon of mid-century modernism. For me it serves as evidence that a novel (if quite simple and straightforward) means of roofing enclosed space can be the driver of a design---and that the idea of which this form is the result, can occur to any open-minded designer regardless of his other accomplishments, and can lead to a unique work of architecture if allowed to develop to fruition in the mind of that designer.

S

n8b
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:37 pm
Location: California

Re: For sale: Flood-damaged Alden Dow home - Midland, MI

Post by n8b »

This seems like a steal, and yet the price was dropped $50k. Does anyone know the extent of the flood damage? There are only five photos on the Zillow listing, all pre-flood.
--
Nate

SDR
Posts: 19472
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: For sale: Flood-damaged Alden Dow home - Midland, MI

Post by SDR »


SDR
Posts: 19472
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: For sale: Flood-damaged Alden Dow home - Midland, MI

Post by SDR »

All kinds of goodies in Midland. The son of one of the town's more prolific mid-century architects and perhaps the resident owner (?)shows this thoughtfully designed and very well-kept 1964 house in a video: https://www.trulia.com/p/mi/midland/717 ... l-mediaTab

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HenryWhiting
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Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: For sale: Flood-damaged Alden Dow home - Midland, MI

Post by HenryWhiting »

Midland has suffered three 500 year floods in my lifetime, in 1986, 2017 and 2020. The Riecker house is Midland's version of Mies' Farnworth house. Note on the map how close it is to both Sturgeon Creek and the Tittabawassee River. It suffered extensively from each of these floods and had to be almost completely rebuilt. As with the Farnsworth house, the details are exquisitely conceived and the craftsmanship is exquisitely executed. The current owners had only recently restored it, so it is understandable that they did not want to embark on this again.

Two fun stories about the Riecker house: one time when the house was new, John and Ranny Riecker came home to discover their architect lying flat on his back in the living room, staring at the ceiling with dancing eyes a big grin on his face. Alden loved this house.

Secondly, when we had the Alden Dow National Conference in 1988, the Riecker house was on the tours. As our van drove up, Bill Gilmore, the head of the Alden Dow office was walking out with John Lautner and Fay Jones, and Fay turned to me with fire in his blue eyes and said, "Now THAT is Architecture!"

SDR
Posts: 19472
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: For sale: Flood-damaged Alden Dow home - Midland, MI

Post by SDR »

Aha. Thanks for that, Mr Whiting. The flat-on-his-back anecdote is repeated in the text of the Midcentury Midland page I linked above; charming to have it confirmed. It would be good to have further interior images of the house; one is surprised to read that the house is of more than one level in extent . . .

Would anybody think that further flooding wouldn't occur, sooner or later---and perhaps sooner ? Perhaps the house should now be fitted with removable furnishings and cabinetry, in the European manner. (Kitchen cabinets there were typically on legs, or hung from rails on the wall, and taken with residents when they moved house, I believe. When the American industry discovered "Euro cabinetry" in the mid-'seventies, we learned of this alternative practice for the first time.)

I was going to ask the architects how much permanent damage can be done to architectural masonry when subjected to flooding. A house with all its woodwork above head height might be well-suited to flood-prone sites---assuming that such locations were thought to be appropriate for building in the first place ?

S

DavidC
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Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Re: For sale: Flood-damaged Alden Dow home - Midland, MI

Post by DavidC »

One of the huge risks in buying this home will be the (most likely) inability of obtaining flood insurance. With three floods in the last 35 years, as Mr. Whiting has described, it's very hard to justify sinking any money into a perennial rehab situation.


David

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