The Percival House by Laurie Virr.

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BBuck
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:48 pm
Location: Fort Worth

The Percival House by Laurie Virr.

Post by BBuck »

I thought it might be best to start a new topic for Laurie's effort for this smart compact beach house.
Laurie has communicated to me that Roger Grant thought highly of this little house. I think it is worthy of discussion.

Now...What might be best way to link an image, without troubling SDR?

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: The Percival House by Laurie Virr.

Post by SDR »

Oh, trouble me Bill, please. How else can I be the first to see some new images ? :D

Whaddya got ?

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: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: The Percival House by Laurie Virr.

Post by SDR »

Okay---we'll see what we can find online. As far as I can tell, the later houses are not identified by the client's name . . .

https://msd.unimelb.edu.au/alumni/alumn ... aurie-virr

http://www.canberrahouse.com.au/people/laurie-virr.html

http://organonarchitecture.blogspot.com/2017/

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)

BBuck
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:48 pm
Location: Fort Worth

Re: The Percival House by Laurie Virr.

Post by BBuck »

I spoke with Laurie on Sunday. He told me that a not so thoughtful addition was added to the original house, located off the long bench seat wall. He has no known photographs of the house during construction nor when completed.

Unfortunately it is gone forever, due to a fire. I've sent SDR an image to post.

Bbuck

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: The Percival House by Laurie Virr.

Post by SDR »

To Laurie the loss of the Percival house may have come as much a relief as a sorrow, for he rued and regretted the insensitive addition which new owners inflicted upon the structure.

He wrote to me twice about the house, in 2009 and 2010. Here is the pertinent content of the first e-mail:

"I too am drawn to the small houses: they have an endless fascination for me. Attached is the ground plan of a house I designed in 1973, and apart from Rivendell, it is my favorite work. It has a concrete floor slab, scored on the module [1200 mm], the walls are concrete masonry units, the sash and French doors the most exquisite Western Red Cedar. The ceiling is plywood, laid checkerboard, and cut so that the joints lined with the scored grooves below, and the roof, cedar shingles. It is just 78.4 square meters in area [842 square feet]. [In assessing area, buildings in Aus. are measured outside the walls]. The uninterrupted distance across the living room to the kitchen is 13.134 meters [42.95 feet]. Above the door head height of the closets on either side of the bedroom, glass extends to the ceiling, so that the space revolves completely around the masonry of the chimney mass.

"The bench seat in the living room was designed as the width of a single bed, with the back squabs made especially thick so that it provided utility for both these uses. It is of a length to furnish 3 extra sleeping places should they be desired.

"The house was originally sited to face true north, but immediately before construction the client opted for the ocean view rather than the solar orientation.

"Unfortunately the house was sold, and had the ugliest addition made to it. It was a little gem, but the new owners did not appreciate what they had purchased.

"In my immodest way, I think it is a much better design than the Seth Petersen cottage."


And here are the relevant passages from the subsequent writing:

"For many years I held that to have one’s work photographed and published was infra dignitatem. As a consequence some of the buildings with which I was involved have never been recorded other than with drawings. Many are so remote from Canberra that it is scarcely worth my while to engage a photographer to visit them. Others, unfortunately, have been subject to most unsympathetic alterations and additions, including the beach house for Mrs Percival, which I consider to be amongst the best Architecture I have been responsible for.

"To my mind this last was a good idea, and when it was first completed it was a gem of a house, even tho I make the claim myself. Concrete masonry unit walls, Western Red Cedar sash and French doors, a raking ceiling of plywood, laid checkerboard, and cut so that the joints matched the module scribed in the floor, cedar shingles on the roof. There was a vista of almost 13 meters from the bench seat to the kitchen: that in a house of 76.4 square meters outside the walls. The alterations and additions were so awful that I was in tears when I viewed them. The new owners really did not appreciate what they had purchased."


There are other interesting portions of that e-mail, but I'll defer to the present subject, for now.

Here is Laurie's presentation page on the Percival opus, c. 1973:


Image
"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: 10571
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: The Percival House by Laurie Virr.

Post by Roderick Grant »

Again we have an example of a pavilion plan. It is in my estimation a perfect house as designed. That it was mauled is truly sad. Perhaps its burning was a form of antyesti, a cremation of the dead.

SDR
Posts: 20196
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: The Percival House by Laurie Virr.

Post by SDR »

The obvious comparison is to the house Laurie designed for Bill Buck; we were introduced to it here:

http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewto ... 9&start=30

Here is Bill's house and the Percival plan, side by side:

ImageImage


Readers should remember that, south of the equator, the sun arcs to the north. Virr had intended the Percival house to be oriented to the sun; the client rotated the plan to face an ocean view.

A walkway at the entrance of the Buck house leads to a detached garage. Note that, in both designs, the entry is approached from the same quadrant of the plan. (Had Wright been the designer, one wonders if he would have provided a separate kitchen ("back-door") entrance; the main entrance might have been through the passage adjacent to the bedroom---which would then have had to be screened or partitioned ?)

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)

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