Video: Prairie School Architecture

To control SPAM, you must now be a registered user to post to this Message Board.

EFFECTIVE 14 Nov. 2012 PRIVATE MESSAGING HAS BEEN RE-ENABLED. IF YOU RECEIVE A SUSPICIOUS DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS AND PLEASE REPORT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.

This is the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's Message Board. Wright enthusiasts can post questions and comments, and other people visiting the site can respond.

You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, *-oriented or any other material that may violate any applicable laws. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned (and your service provider being informed). The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. You agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this forum have the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time they see fit.
Post Reply
DavidC
Posts: 8121
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by DavidC »


Roderick Grant
Posts: 10569
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, some years ago, on a post about the Fawcett House, you expressed your displeasure with broad, flat lands such as the house sits on. I mentioned the pleasures of the prairie, where I grew up, but you were not impressed. The beginning of this video has some good shots of the prairie that might give you a better idea of the place, which, apparently you have never had the pleasure of visiting. My corner of Minnesota is flatter than what is shown, but you get the idea.
Any thoughts?

SDR
Posts: 20186
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by SDR »

I had forgotten making that comment; I suppose I was voicing the feeling that I believe Wright addressed, somewhere, that was repeated (somewhere) very recently, that the more interesting the topography, the more interested he was in the project (or words to that effect).

An architect gets to build where a client has chosen to live. I never bought his line that the prairie inspired the architectural forms he developed at the beginning of his career. What would his early work have looked like if Chicagoland was hilly ? Would he have jumped ahead and begun making Textile Block houses ? The Prairie-period work was his opening act, reworking existing architectural forms in a way more to his liking. Is the Sherman Booth project or the unbuilt Lake Delavan Clubhouse so different from Husser or Fricke ? Are the forms of Taliesin not akin those of the River Forest Tennis Club ?

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

peterm
Posts: 6290
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by peterm »

Whether the flat prairie is a desirable place to live is probably a matter of personal taste. But what can maybe be said with conviction is that the mature prairie style houses fit the horizontal landscape like a glove, and provide an elegance and sense of shelter that a Victorian doesn’t seem to share. They *do* make the landscape feel more inviting.

Is Taliesin the first clear example of Wright stepping and nestling into the hill? There are some Chicago houses placed on the edge of ravines, but they don’t integrate in quite the same way.

SDR
Posts: 20186
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by SDR »

Taliesin is built at the crest of its hill; are Hardy or Glasner so different ?

You're right of course that the Prairie houses grace their sites in the way you describe . . .

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

peterm
Posts: 6290
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by peterm »

Isn’t the big shift at Taliesin, signaling things to come, Wright’s switching to a single story design?

SDR
Posts: 20186
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by SDR »

Glasner is single story; so is Coonley, for that matter. I think Taliesin has softer forms, like the big cyma molding at the base of the of the plaster walls, but I don't see it as radically different from earlier work. It responds to its unique site, of course. One might say that it is rural rather than suburban; the Lake Delavan sites are reminiscent, though those houses are light frame constructions quite different from Taliesin's weighty permanence.

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

SDR
Posts: 20186
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by SDR »

To answer Roderick: every landscape has its charms, surely---best known perhaps to those who grew up with them. I spent my younger years in downstate New York and then in New England. I recall being amused to hear a visitor from somewhere in the Midwest, when I lived (just) on Cape Cod, who remarked that she was taken aback by the twisty little roads and "everything so close together." The vast openness of the plains would still be alien---if interesting---to me today; the distances routinely traveled by its residents surely helps explain the weight and size of the American automobile ?

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

SDR
Posts: 20186
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by SDR »

Wright was quite right when he observed that no horizontal line ever seems long enough, whereas verticals in a building (at least) readily exaggerate themselves---all the more so to someone of compact stature ? In any event these observations certainly led him in the right direction where his own work was concerned, and it appears that the lesson never left him.

Lowering the profile of a building and extending its length readily affect the scale of a structure, allowing it to look (at least on the page) larger than it really is. Could the hidden entrance door have worked in aid of this illusion as well, by concealing a hard-to-mistake scaling element ?

S
"As a former copy editor, I always feel I am defending the person whose name is being misspelled, not attacking the person who misspells it." Ronald Alan McCrea (1943-2019)

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10569
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by Roderick Grant »

Actually, my comment had nothing to do with architecture, but here we go....

It is easier to build any structure on flat land than rugged topography, which makes the flat-land house a more difficult thing to do well. Limitations don't restrict artists, but give them something to work with. Lacking topography with its own character for most of his early work, FLW did have the restrictions of the urban grid which hemmed him in very much in the same way. Given his druthers, he probably would have cleared the land of all those unsightly neighbors, but he had to accommodate them. Many of his earliest projects show buildings in idealized, uncluttered environments, like Hardy. Prior to Hardy, there were only a few built structures with difficult sites, like Lamp's Rocky Roost and Glasner House. He handled them all according to their various necessities.

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10569
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, your Cape Cod visitor had the same experience I had when I moved from LA to NYC. As soon as I crossed the river, the landscape seemed to close in on my. The hilly terrain of northern Pennsylvania seemed almost claustrophobic, even though I rushed through it at night, and didn't really see it. Whenever I have driven through the Rockies, I have had that same sense of enclosure that was quite uncomfortable.

An old friend of mine from Trenton, NJ had the reverse experience when he drove to LA. His passage through Kansas terrified him; the distances between settlements is very great. The flatness of the land makes the sky the dominant feature, and for anyone with the slightest bit of agoraphobia would be daunting. (Once in LA, he gravitated toward the one building in Hollywood that reminded him of the slum he had left in NJ, and moved into it. I talked him into moving out of Roach Hell.)

juankbedoya
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:30 am

Re: Video: Prairie School Architecture

Post by juankbedoya »

DavidC wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 3:06 pm
Prairie School Architecture - (27:28)


David
Beautiful... thanks for posting..!! Sometimes I love the prairie houses... Sometimes I love usonian houses..!! I'm still waiting a documentary about usonian houses..!!

Post Reply