Neils House (Minneapolis, MN) is up for sale!

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Eric Saed
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Location: Minne-sO-tah Norwegian living in exile in Lubbock, Texas

Neils House (Minneapolis, MN) is up for sale!

Post by Eric Saed »

Caught this whilst perusing the local real estate sites yesterday, I hadn't heard anything about it...

http://www.barryberggroup.com/HomeDetai ... archType=8

I can only imagine what it would be like to be here in the Twin Cities and having the means to be able to have to choose between purchasing the Neils House or the Lovness Estate. What's the Powerball jackpot up to now :wink: ?
Last edited by Eric Saed on Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PNB
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Post by PNB »

Easy choice for me I'd take the Neils House. The realtor is a bit off though on the number of FLLW houses in Minnesota - without consulting my books I can think of seven houses.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks, Eric. Nice photos -- and a plan, literally unheard-of in real estate representation !

It looks like Mr Neils, a metal-window man among other things, may have convinced those working on the house (Wright, Peters [?], Geiger, Oyakawa, and Besinger) that the glass couldn't or shouldn't be frameless at the ceiling plane -- as it is in the contemporaneous Sweeton and the slightly later Glore (at least) with their similar gable roofs and plastered ceilings.

This is only my conjecture, of course; Besinger says nothing of the kind in his brief mention of Neils in his book, though he does touch on the difficulties of framing these open-ended gable roofs. . .

SDR

Eric Saed
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Post by Eric Saed »

PNB wrote:Easy choice for me I'd take the Neils House. The realtor is a bit off though on the number of FLLW houses in Minnesota - without consulting my books I can think of seven houses.
Didn't notice that, I usually try not to read real estate agent narratives. But, you're absolutely right, there are more than 4. Willey, Neils, Olfelt, Lovness, Bulbulian, Keys, McBean, Elam & Lafond - maybe the realtor meant only 4 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro Area?

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Eric, don't forget Lindholm.

Notice in the third photo, there is a mullion at the intersection of the two walls of glass. Originally, according to early photos published in print ads for aluminum fenestration, that was mitred. Must have gotten cold. It's a beautiful house, and at that price, in that neighborhood, it might even sell for close to the asking price. Or that may be my Californianess speaking again.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Image
Pedro Guerrero photo of Neils living room, published in Curtis Besinger's "Working With Mr Wright." In Guerrero's book he says that
thirty varieties of marble appear in the walls of the house.

PNB
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Post by PNB »

I forgot about the house in St Joseph but have to admit I am not familiar with the Olfelt house. Anyone have any pictures they can share??

JimM
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Post by JimM »

After seeing Mr. Hardings nice photos and the Neils shot, I find it interesting these designs have survived uplift and shear loads for so long without Simpson hurricane ties, hold downs and Strong-walls!

pharding
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Post by pharding »

The 3 adjacent hallways in plan is unusual for any architect let alone Frank Lloyd Wright. I can't imagine that was Mr. Wright's preferred circulation scheme on this project. It looks like something that came from the client. Also it appears that there is no true master bedroom that would handle today's queen size bed.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

dkottum
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Location: Battle Lake, MN

Neils House

Post by dkottum »

I have admired the scale and sculptural quality of the Neils house, and as it is built right next to the road, it is easy to see. The daughter of the builder lives here at Battle Lake (in their Susanka house) and has provided some insight into the mitered glass corners. The many (eight?) glass corners caused the builder continued problems keeping them sealed, and eventually led to them being closed with metal strips. I wonder if insulating glass was also installed.

The FLLW Monograph has the original scheme, which provides an answer to the odd three adjacent hallways. This original scheme was apparently conceived by apprentices. There was a typical long covered outdoor path to the front door, parallel to an indoor bedroom hallway. Wright made major alterations to the apprentice plan, truly changing it from a house to a work of art. In this process he moved the exterior wall out to enclose the outdoor path, and this may have been requested by the client, considering the possiblity of snow filling the area in winter. He then added a new outdoor path that serves as a service and maid's entrance. Three adjacent hallways, practical and beautiful.

Where is the master bedroom? Only three tiny bedrooms. Again take a look at the Monograph's original scheme. Mr. and Mrs. Neils apparently requested separate bedrooms, joined without doors around a closet and bath module. In the redesign the bedrooms became smaller, as did the design unit, which was reduced from 48 inches to 42 inches. The reduced unit may have been to reduce costs, or to allow a better fit on a beautiful but small lakeshore building site.

It is indeed interesting how these houses withstand wind loads. Their angular design shifting the loads to very strong masonry corners, and the "visual anchor" of the huge fireplace masses contribute greatly to their strength. Bolts anchored in the masonry held the roofs to walls, but I wonder how they fastened roofs to the window mullions.

Doug Kottum, Battle Lake

JimM
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Re: Neils House

Post by JimM »

dkottum wrote: but I wonder how they fastened roofs to the window mullions.

Doug Kottum, Battle Lake
That is the most intriguing aspect to me. Anchorage is possible a number of ways in a mass, yet the connection of wall (windows basically with Frank!) to roof is most critical in any structure, and these thin roofs withstood storms and have held tons of snow over the years.

This was certainly addressed in the Grant house with its massive concrete roof-but again-those plate glass walls and almost imperceptible vertical structural elements.... all I can say is cantilever, cantilever, cantilever! Amazing, the amount of confidence he had-justified or not on occasion!

SDR
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Post by SDR »

It would be possible to include a threaded rod in any or all vertical members, even wood or aluminum mullions, if desired; I wonder if Wright and Co would have thought that was necessary. Uplift wasn't formerly considered and dealt with as it is today, no ?

SDR

JimM
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Post by JimM »

SDR wrote:Uplift wasn't formerly considered and dealt with as it is today, no ?SDR
I believe that is true, at least to the degree engineering was considered in residential design at the time-of course the Fallingwater saga was a whole different situation!

Interesting you mention the threaded rods, that is exactly how my house is in fact secured. It would be interesting to know if that was the case with these roofs, or perhaps thin but "adequate" steel elements. How the rods would be secured well enough to the foundation without todays epoxies might be an issue.

My comment was brought up primarily due to the degree the Simpson/code cabal continues to dominate construction. Make no mistake, they have a fantastic product (their new Strong-walls are a godsend allowing minimum width code compliant braced wall panels for greater expanses of glass). I just think it is cool that Frank just didn't care-the IDEA always prevailed no matter what the limitations. Imagine what he could do today....

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Imagine what he could do today....
INDEED !

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Part of the Glore second floor was framed with steel flitch plate beams on steel columns. When FLW did tall window walls out of wood, like Nells and Glore, typically he would introduce a steel plate in some of the mullions to conceal steel columns in a window wall. The detailing of these wood window walls was quite beautiful and well resolved technically. Both door rails in a typical door within a window wall would align with the top and bottom mullion assemblies of the adjacent window wall. The doors then looked like they were of the window wall as opposed to being stuck into the window wall
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

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