Robert W.Beharka, Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice

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KevinW
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Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:41 pm

Robert W.Beharka, Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice

Post by KevinW »

It is with profound sadness that I report the passing of my friend, gifted Architect, and former apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright, Bob Beharka. Bob passed away this afternoon after suffering a stroke shortly after Christmas. Prior to starting his own practice in Los Banos, California, Bob joined the Taliesin Fellowship in 1955, and supervised the construction of the Marden House, Robert Llewellyn Wright House, and the Fawcett House. Bob also was a master carpenter. I will miss Bob dearly.
KevinW

DavidC
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Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Post by DavidC »

I'm very sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.

My wife and I recently had the opportunity to see Llewellyn-Wright and Marden. Do you know if he had a role in any of the carpentry on those two jobs?


Thank you for letting us know about Mr. Beharka.


David

KevinW
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Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:41 pm

Bob

Post by KevinW »

Yes, indeed. Bob was responsible for all the carpentry.
KevinW

DavidC
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Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Post by DavidC »


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

Post by Education Professor »

David,

Thanks for sharing this remarkable story.....he was truly a gifted apprentice, architect, and person.....

EP

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

Post by Education Professor »

myLiebermeisterAGG: I'm very sorry for the loss of your dear friend....

EP

SpringGreen
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Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:00 am

Post by SpringGreen »

I am very sorry about the loss of your friend. Thank you for your posting. Please extend condolences to members of Mr. Beharka's family.
"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".

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

Post by Education Professor »

Did Mr. Beharka work on any other FLLW projects besides Marden, L. Wright, and Fawcett? His craftsmanship is outstanding.

EP

DavidC
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Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Post by DavidC »

In looking online for things related to Mr. Beharka, I stumbled upon this very good article (pdf file) from the Conservancy about the Marden House.

And also, this one about the Fawcett House.


David

wjsaia
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Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 6:53 pm

Post by wjsaia »

Image
Taliesin Theater Stalk Light Constructed by Bob Beharka

Image
Taliesin Theater Stalk Light Constructed by Bob Beharka

Image
Detail of Taliesin Theater Stalk Light Constructed by Bob Beharka


Posted with esteem remembering a lovely man . . .


In respect,

Bill Schwarz

". . . so I asked, 'Mr. Wright, what would you do if the client insists he cannot afford piano hinges for the doors?' He said, 'Use pieces of piano hinges.'"
- - Bob Beharka

DRN
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

". . . so I asked, 'Mr. Wright, what would you do if the client insists he cannot afford piano hinges for the doors?' He said, 'Use pieces of piano hinges.'"
That is too freakin' funny...possibly a bit eerie! In my first weeks after taking possession of the Sweeton house, I was cleaning out a cabinet in the living room, and I found a couple of short lengths of piano hinge in the back corner of the deep cabinet. They matched hinges elsewhere in the house as well as those to the fretted doors of the cabinet I was cleaning. In fact, the cabinet doors were hinged with unequal lengths of piano hinge... per Mr. Beharka's quote, I suspect I have my answer as to why they are of unequal length. ...somewhere a regal voice is saying "Well, there you go!"

I'm sorry to hear of Mr. Beharka's passing. His lantern at the Taliesin theater is stunning.

KevinW
Posts: 1287
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:41 pm

Bob

Post by KevinW »

Thanks for all the kind words. I am leaving work shortly to make the beautiful drive to Los Banos to attend Bob's service. I will tell his daughters all the wonderful things you have written.
Bob made 4 half size models of that lovely lamp, one for his friend Henry Herold (Taliesin fellow 1953 to 1957), one for himself and one for each daughter. They are stunning. He made a Taliesin table lamp a few years back for my wife on her birthday. It sits on our FLLW Henredon dining room table that is up against a wall with a 4 panel Japanese screen behind it. In the evening Bobs lamp glows.
In a few days I will share some pictures of some of my frequents visits with Bob. We would usually drive around to "check" on some of his buildings, drive up to the Fawcett Ranch, or just sit in his little jewel of a house and talk Architecture, he would read Emerson passages, and of course the Taliesin stories.
I feel there are maybe 10 or so "perfect" buildings that I have experienced. Bobs own house is one of them.
KevinW

KevinW
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Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:41 pm

Ok one before I go.

Post by KevinW »

I cant concentrate on whats on my desk, ( a not very * remodel where the clients wants are not quite fitting into the "what the client gots" )..so heres a Bob story.
For years Bob always talked about his little desert shelter at Taliesin West. It was his take on the textile block which he made each block, one by one using the desert sand from a nearby wash. It frustrated him that every year he would attend the reunions but on his hikes in the sheter area he could never locate any trace or ruins of his little shelter that he built in the 1950's. He said he had one picture of it, and he usually kept is on view, close by. The shelter caught Wrights eye and this was just one of the reasons he chose Bob to work on some block houses.

I guess it was 2 years ago I was on vacation and staying at one of the guest suites at T West over the dining room. It was summer, hot but I brought a copy of the picture of Bobs shelter beacause it shows the mountains in the background. I thought I would hike out there and try to line ou the mountains in the photo with the actual view. I didnt have a clue really weher to start so I just kept walking. Finally after about 2 and a half hours I thought I got a pretty close match. It was off the path a bit but it looked close. So I started carefully looking around me for any sign..Carefully because I have had some critter confrontations before. Soon I found a lone slab. About 10 feet away from the slab I saw a portion of a block, then under some rocks I saw another one, with russted rebar wire twisted. then a larger corner of a block. I matched the design of Bobs shelter.
I called him from the site to tell him what I found. He didnt believe me, so I brought them to him on my way back home. After he inspected them, he confirmed they were the open blocks from his shelter. He got a bit sentimental, and he kept them next to his fireplace. Bob and his shelter were somewhat reunited after 50 years.
KevinW

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

Post by SDR »

Those are wonderful stories, mLAGG. We are brought a little closer to the source -- or is that Source -- at times like these.

Do you know if Bob's house has been published anywhere ? I am having trouble finding images of his own architectural work. I am glad that I was
finally able to visit Los Banos and the Fawcett house, just last year. . .but nothing led me to seek out Mr Beharka's other work at that time.

What is the story of his settling in the town where his last work for Mr Wright was located. . .?

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

Post by Education Professor »

Thanks for the wonderful stories, myLiebermeisterAGG. I'm with SDR in that I would like to learn more about Mr. Beharka's own house as well as his other design work. Any info you could share would be humbly appreciated.

EP

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