Houses with Desert Masonry

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Education Professor
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Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:10 pm

Houses with Desert Masonry

Post by Education Professor »

I find Wright's desert "rubblestone" masonry technique quite fascinating. Below is a list of desert masonry designs as noted from Storrer:

Taliesin West
Pauson
Oboler
Berger
Austin (South Carolina)
Chahroudi
Boomer
Bott
Pilgrim Congregational Church

Am I missing any desert masonry designs?

EP
Last edited by Education Professor on Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Reidy
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Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

Would Hagan in Pennsylvania qualify? I understand the stone there is (most unWrightian) cladding over a poured concrete retaining wall.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

No, desert rubblestone masonry is a unique technique resulting in a similarly unique appearance. Hagan, despite the constructional variance you cite, is still
random ashlar, a conventional (indeed, timeless) assemblage of stone blocks. Desert rubblestone, like traditional masonry, is a load-bearing material. I can't
think of an instance where Wright used it as a veneer.

I can't find a good photo of Hagan, but the first two examples from Taliesin, below, are similar.



Image Taliesin West -- Edmund Teske photo

.Image Taliesin

.Image ditto

.Image ditto

.Image Fallingwater

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I won't be completely surprised to find isolated examples of desert rubblestone used in veneer form; after all, we have both brick and stone as
veneer, the former at Price Jr (for instance) and the latter at Hagan -- and now Walker. See the new WALKER PHOTOS posted by our Spanish
compatriot, guanche. The final photo(s) show the foundation and terrace walls clearly; the thickness of the veneer is revealed at each corner of
the faceted structure.

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Image


Another Teske photo from 1943, of paving at Taliesin West


SDR

Paul Ringstrom
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Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

SDR's colored rendering of Arch Obler's Estate shows Desert Masonry as a veneer.


scroll down on this page:
http://savewright.org/wright_chat/viewt ... r&start=30

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The one missing is the little-photographed Arnold Friedman House in Pecos, NM.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Image A Friedman - Storrer photo


Image Oboler -- Weintraub photo


To be redundantly clear, SDR was not the artist of the rendering linked above. . .

BBuck
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Location: Fort Worth

Post by BBuck »

I can't find a good photo of Hagan, but the first two examples from Taliesin, below, are similar.


I was just at the Hagan home and have a few photos I could send on to SDR for posting to see similarities and differences to Taliesin if you'd like.

BBuck

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks -- I'd love to see them. I keep in mind a photo I've seen, taken at the foot of the prow and looking up to the
underside of the lacy wood eaves. The texture of the stone-work is especially rough and "tweedy" in this case.

Whenever I go to look for that photo, it hides. I'm unable to say where it was published. . .


SDR

Education Professor
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Post by Education Professor »

Many thanks everyone, especially SDR and Mr. Grant, for the information and photos. I had completely overlooked the Friedman house. The wonderful Oboler photo is an excellent example of desert masonry used as a veneer. It is interesting that desert masonry was used as a load bearing material as well.

BBuck, I'd love to see some photos of Hagan. I'll try to post some photos of the stonework on the Shavin house as well.

SDR, do you have any photos of the Austin house (Broad Margin) in South Carolina? I find it unusual that desert masonry was used on a design in the South.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Paul Ringstrom kindly and promptly provided two photos of Hagan, and BBuck sent some larger ones. I'll post shortly. In the meantime, I wonder
why Education Professor identifies the Oboler masonry as veneer, in the photo above ?

I'll look for the Austin residence.

Is there anything inherent in rubblestone masonry that would wed it to the desert ? Do we call it "desert rubblestone" only because it was used first at
Taliesin West ? Does it seem out of place in the Oboler photo ?

SDR

therman7g
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Broad Margin

Post by therman7g »


SDR
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Post by SDR »

Great photo collection, therman -- I won't add to that.

W A Storrer mentions that the tri-level deck was added in the 'eighties by architect owner Roy Palmer, "using two masons and two carpenters who
had worked on the original construction three decades earlier." Note the handsome pivotal rubblestone planter pier, and the refreshing lack of
railings. (Continuous built-in seating might be a useful compromise solution, if safety became an issue ?)

Storrer gives this description of the material, in the listing for this house.

"Desert masonry, more specifically called desert rubblestone wall construction, was used in this house. Stones are dropped between
plywood retaining walls [i.e., formwork], their surfaces having been covered with newspaper before the cement is poured. After the concrete
is cured, the plywood is removed, the paper pulled off the stone, and the surface scrubbed with a mild acid cleaning agent like vinegar. In this
instance, mica-flecked stones were split in two, to gain maximum color in the exposed stone surfaces."

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

BBuck's recent photos of Hagan ("Kentuck Knob"):

Image Roof of carport

Image

Image

Image

Terrace at bedroom wing


..

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