Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

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SDR
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by SDR »

I think we could ask the modeler whether the fact of a grid makes much of a difference in the labor of producing a model from Wright's drawings---just as the carpenter might be asked if those svelte numbered and lettered grid lines on the drawings really contributed to the ease of construction ?

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Last edited by SDR on Thu Dec 31, 2020 7:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

SDR
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by SDR »

There are a number of novelties in the Wheeler project. But parts of the plan reflect closely the earlier (Jacobs I) and contemporary (M M Smith) houses:


Image Jacobs

Image Wheeler (Different from plans posted above)

Image Smith

Jacobs and Smith plans © 1993 by William Allin Storrer
Last edited by SDR on Thu Dec 31, 2020 7:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Roderick Grant
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by Roderick Grant »

Get the confetti out! SDR is just 6 posts away from 20,000!

SDR
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by SDR »

Yet another unbuilt Usonian, again with (at least) two versions documented in the files, was for Dr Victor Stracke in Appleton, WI. Work on the design began in 1951. By 1956 no plan acceptable to Dr Stracke had been produced, and the project was abandoned. Hugo Avila has modeled a version of the first design.


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Illustrations © copyright 2020 by Hugo Avila

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

Roderick Grant
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by Roderick Grant »

Tiny house. The doctor must have been a bachelor. I like the living room; it's less enclosing than Kalil. I also like the sloping ceiling as an alternative to the usual flat ones of Tracy, Tonkens and Pappas.

John Geiger insisted that second attempt was not designed, and may not even have been seen by FLW. I think he attributed it to Rattenbury.

SDR
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by SDR »

Not inconceivable, considering the apparent intransigence of the client.

And, a non-Wright design might account for the peculiarities pointed to by Pfeiffer in his description of Stracke #2 in the Monograph.

Astute Wrightians will note the oddity of a sloping Usonian Automatic coffered concrete ceiling in the model shown here. Mr Avila did not have the advantage of a peek at the Monograph entry for Stracke #1, which mentions a wood roof with plaster soffit and (presumably) a plywood ceiling surface. The appearance of a figured roof fascia on the available elevation and view drawings would have aided in the misapprehension of the designer's intention.

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jay
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by jay »

I absolutely love this design (and Hugo's model). I realize the small building was intended for future expansion, as noted on the plan, but its 1BR configuration seems so wonderfully perfect to me.... A few observations:

1) The entry sequence has a diagonal directionality that, upon moving into the main space, the person is met by the full expansion of the structure...while being anchored by the fireplace....and also stretched seamlessly into what appears to be a "River View" as noted on the plan... The fairly unusual use of wide horizontal windows appears specifically chosen to enhance that view of the water... which itself has strong "serene" horizontal qualities. (Wright used a horizontal window scheme that looked onto water with the Walker house around the same time..)

2) The placement of the hearth, in relation to the hillside, and also the expanding pitched roof, gives another instance of pronounced primitive "cave" symbolism.

3) While the hillside "cave" refuge aspects are strong, and the views and prospects are also strong, the design still gives recreational outdoor space on the east side plus the lanai on the west side. The house, therefore, is both a 'protected lookout' and also 'connected' to its ground in an accessible and useful manner.

SDR
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by SDR »

Both houses---I think of them as two separate designs---have a basement level, with window openings indicated on elevations and exterior views. The stair on plan #1 is labeled "down to workshop."

A similar figure to some concrete blocks at the lanai and on the roof fascia of house #1 is unusual in Usonian design, a further cause of misunderstanding of the roof material. The pinkish color given to the house in the view and elevation drawings is a clue as to the intended hue of the project. One thinks of the strong terra-cotta color of another UA, the Pappas house; is that the only built Automatic made with tinted concrete ?

The extreme compactness of House 1 is attested to by the fact that the bath can be accessed only through the bedroom. In that house the bath is provided with a prefabricated "Standard Unit." This rarity is found as well in the Lowell Walter house of six years earlier. On Storrer's Walter plan these units are called "Stanfab," designed by Bertrand Goldberg in the same year:

https://digital-libraries.artic.edu/dig ... c/id/14911

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SDR
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by SDR »

A feature of both houses is that the upholstered bench seat is placed on the fireplace wall in such a way that the fire is virtually out of sight of all but the closest seated person. The Usonian bench seat is clearly the descendent of the Prairie-period inglenook.

Usonians as a group might be classified by the relationship of the built-in seating to the fireplace. Plans could be categorized by where the two elements are placed relative to each other, and by the distance from the seat to the fire.

S

jay
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by jay »

Had the hearth been placed where the stairs are, the floor plan (of the main space) would resemble a far more typical Usonian like Jacobs I... It seems clear to me Wright valued the fireplace "deep" in relation to the hill––the "cave" configuration––which as you point out, sacrifices the seating relationship to the fire.

I recall we discussed built-in seating and its relation to the hearth in a thread on a version of "Below Zero" plan that was built after Wright's death... If I recall correctly, Rood pointed out that one can always pull over a chair and warm up in front of the fire.

SDR
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by SDR »

Ah. At its most barren or rootless the Usonian banquette (?) could be likened to a waiting-room convenience. Fortunately, the context---a cozy residential setting---mostly mitigates that unfortunate impression. Wright's earliest impulse where furniture was concerned---to anchor as much of it as he could, to make it an architectural feature---stuck with him to the end. The bench (or in a few cases, individual seats intended to be lined up in a row; Mathews was drawn thus) was a standard amenity in the Usonian, like the fireplace, the dining table (also anchored, in most cases), the row of french doors . . .

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Roderick Grant
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by Roderick Grant »

Notice on Plan 1 that the fireplace is scribbled out. There is an unintelligible notation with an arrow pointing to the west extension of the banquette; is that where the fireplace was to be relocated? The size of the house seems to have been affected by a divorce. The title "House for Dr. and Mrs. Victor W. Stracke" has 'and Mrs.' crossed out. The "big windows" in the plan of the living room indicate that they are paired and hinged casements on the side rather than top, while the perspectives show double-height blocks with awning windows. Which came first?

The mention of the roof being wood rather than block probably refers to scheme 2 rather than 1. I cannot believe FLW would have shown such a thick fascia on a wooden roof. He would have differentiated between wood and concrete at a glance, as at Freeman. Another instance would be the Buehler House, where walls are concrete and the roof is wood.

Roderick Grant
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by Roderick Grant »

My take on banquettes in FLW houses is that they represent auxiliary seating for events where there is a large gathering of guests. There may be less need to light a fire if the room is full of flammable frocks. When only family members are present, and the banquette not in use, even a huge living room would feel small and cozy, with chairs gathered around the hearth. Consider Mossberg, for instance: While the banquette has a view of the fireplace, it is still 'apsidal' seating not for everyday use.

jay
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by jay »

I'm not sure the fireplace itself is scribbled out... The scribbles are curious though.
Worth noting that the fireplace hasn't moved its location in the second version.

SDR
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Re: Hugo Avila's Wright Renders

Post by SDR »

Mossberg is an interesting choice, as it is one of few that have two runs of seating---or three, if you count both legs of the L ?


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