Wild Bird

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mdgraham
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

Thanks for posting the chapman blog link. Interesting as to not a mention of the original house, owner, etc. Seems a little disingenuous.

On the architect and interior designers website no photos of Wild Bird. (Interior design by Stephen Hensel).

But the General Contractor offers an eyeful of 40 or so photos worth checking out.

http://www.stockerallaire.com/stockeral ... Coast.html

KevinW
Posts: 1281
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:41 pm

Post by KevinW »

Oh my....it gets worse. Poor MILD Bird.
KevinW

mdgraham
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »


SDR
Posts: 19292
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Thanks for the contractor photos, mdgraham. That's what we needed. And the 1959 Time piece is useful. Note that Mr Mills is not mentioned.


S

mdgraham
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

The application and review process to Monterey County was probably an eternity. The architectural historian concludes demo/rehab will have no adverse impact because it will retain the integrity of the most prominent/premier character defining element - the A-frame. Also mentioned is owner's intent to complete the rehab of the A frame to Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehab of Historic Resources.

hometheater
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:35 pm

Post by hometheater »

just because you own a Picasso does not give you the right to cut it up or paint over it.
Take this in the spirit of intelligent conversation and healthy debate.

Let's look at this another way. Let's say you just bought your dream car. A 1957 corvette. The problem is - it constantly overheats. It's not very safe, there are no seat-belts, no safety glass in the windows and it has problems with braking and handling. It leaks and needs constant maintenance. Doing a restoration will be expensive no matter what. Now you need to decide - how are you going to use this car? If you are planning on taking it to car shows to get judged - restore it back to factory specs using vintage parts.
Some people do a resto-mod to bring it up to date - modified and modernized. From the outside, it looks like the standard 1957 corvette, but inside it might have better seats, 3 point safety belts, disc brakes (instead of the slower stopping drum brakes) modern suspension and fno panel gaps that were common from the factory in 1957. Some might go so far as to install back up lights, a third brake light, day/night rear view mirror, power steering and windows, modern in-vehicle entertainment systems, air conditioning, and other conveniences that were just not available at the time. Making the car much more reliable, safe, and fun to drive.

Purists scoff at resto-mods. "You are taking a piece of art and history and changing it to suit your selfish needs!" Spoken by people that are behind the wheel of the truck that is towing their baby who only gets driven off the ramp to be judged then back into storage for the next one. Or worse yet, someone who doesn't even own one of these cars and has no idea what it's like to live with it.

If this home was a museum, yes by all means, restore this house to it's 1950's glory. But no, this house is meant to be LIVED IN. I think it's fine to make it a more comfortable, safe place to live.

Should they not fix the problems at FLW's Fallingwater? In '95 engineers warned of "possible massive structural failure and collapse" "They also dealt with water leaks in the roof seams, window seals and skylights. The continual water damage had wrought cracking walls, peeling paint, warping doors and rotting artworks. $11 million was needed to restore what was once the vacation home of a man who reportedly referred to the place as “Rising Mildew�, and has been open as a public museum since 1964." Hallowed ground? Not if you live there!

From Architecture magazine, November 1989:
“Leaks are a given in any Wright house. Indeed, the architect has been notorious not only for his leaks but his flippant dismissals of clients’ complaint. He reportedly asserted that, ‘If the roof doesn’t leak, the architect hasn’t been creative enough.’�

I know I'm not going to convince you. Just like you wouldn't be able to convince ardent Corvette fanatics. But THIS poor shlub would much rather live in the new Wild Bird than the old one.

From the first paragraph of the article that myLiebermeisterAGG posted last night: "After visiting Wild Bird and Big Sur I concluded that this must be one of the most beautiful places on the planet."

mdgraham
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

SDR -
just as FLW often did not give credit or even mention the name of a Taliesin protege who designed work, Nat and Margaret doing the same. Hence, referral to MM and his "working drawings" for Wild Bird in his book. Seems the re-do architects follow the same philosophy. like someone wrote earlier, at least they didn't tear it down.

Also, perhaps the current owner does not live in Big Sur if they offer it for $15,000.00 per night. Seems like only the caretaker lives there 24/7.

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

Post by KevinW »

I really get the feeling that the owner of this would have preferred to demolish and start over...so far I have read nothing from anyone now involved with the house regarding its creator. Since the article I posted says that it can be rented for $15,000 a night, the interior choices are starting to make some sense. To me it looks like a 1990's Four Seasons hotel lobby.
If that interior is anyones view of comfort, I feel sorry for their lack of passion.
This is no longer Wild Bird, because those unique, special, beautiful, exciting, raw organic qualities are gone. Of course Nat is gone, Mills is gone, the view remains...it's location will eventually be it's demise. You cannot compare this to a Chevy....they were mass produced.
KevinW

mdgraham
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

myLiebermeisterAGG-
you may be correct but I suspect some people who looked this over before it went to contract (after Margaret's death in 1999) realized it had 'potential' and 'good bones'. So they had the wherewithal to stay the course as you will see in these docs. It appears no expense was spared (or could be per the Monterey reviews and deed restrictions) and given the contractor's statement "...we had to reinvent the wheel on this one....", it was not cheap.
I am confused as to a Seattle based interior designer but what do I know.

http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/planning/c ... 266PC1.pdf

http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/planning/d ... c04031.pdf

The aforementioned historian stated Margaret support demolition of the workshop studio as she came to dislike it (Item 5), along with toxic material mention. This on a 2004 application when Margaret dies 5 years prior.

hometheater
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:35 pm

Post by hometheater »

regardless - "The structures were submitted to historic assessment by a professional architectural historian, Shiela McElroy, who found the Workshop/Studio without architectural merit and nearly uninhabitable because of toxic building materials."

Grab your torches and pitchforks - then Google Shiela McElroy

How dare she force them to build a structure that's save to live in.

mdgraham
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

The “Wild Bird� house similarly has strong associations with the lives of its owners, Nathaniel and Margaret Owings.

Nationally, Nathaniel Owings was well-known for his association with the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, one of the most important firms in postwar United States. In terms of this house and the Big Sur country in which it is located,
however, his wife, Margaret Owings was better known and arguably more important. Margaret was regarded as one of the key figures in the environmental movement in California in the late
20 th century and was especially active in preservation of the Big Sur and sea life in the region. She was born in Berkeley, California, in 1913 but lived outside California between the mid-1930s and early 1950s. She married Nathaniel in 1953; he was her second husband. They built Wild Bird in 1958 and established it as their permanent residence, although they maintained several other homes as well. Nathaniel designed Wild Bird himself, steering far from the International Style for which his firm was famous. One architectural critic likened it to a Frank Lloyd Wright house in that it “combines wood, stone, and glass to create a form that is both sculptural and embracing, almost nurturing.� Nathaniel lived there until his death in 1984, as did Margaret until her death in 1999.

Paul Goldberger, “Revisiting Big Sur’s Wild Bird,� Architectural Digest, (June 1996)

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Wild Bird was "updated" to allow for modern electronic conveniences that were not in existence in 1958. Fine. We all want to watch "The Bachelorette" on big screen TV. But the new wood ceiling, new fireplace, new fenestration ... those are not "updates"; those are egregious alterations that don't make the house any better than before. They are violations of a great artist's intentions in favor of the current fad for slick surfaces and as minimalist a design as could be accomplished without demolishing the entire building. Where it originally seemed a living extension of the site, it now looks sterile. But at least it doesn't look as bad as that monstrous attack on Hillmer's Ludekens masterpiece, which is now irredeemable.

Let's all cut hometheater some slack. It wasn't his fault.

KevinW
Posts: 1281
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:41 pm

Post by KevinW »

McElroy also writes that she "does not consider WildBird an Architecturally historic resource.." really!
KevinW

mdgraham
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

I don't blame him. Until yesterday's post I had no idea of hometheater or the 'team' involved with the re-do. Since hometheater has gone to such great lengths to defend his opinion, and has no comprehension of why I or some of the others may not completely agree, I am at a loss to understand why he just won't let any one us have a fondness for the original. It seems his goal is to convert us. Like the French say - To each his own taste.

I rest my case.

mdgraham
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

myLiebermeisterAGG -
thats why I posted those docs. I have found that you can always find an 'expert' to defend your opinion, just like the opposing side will. They found her. Probably alot easier for the historian 5 years AFTER Margaret's death.

I read thru all of them. Given those deed restrictions, how is one allowed to book the property for $15k a night? Just curious how thats licensed and what kind of P&C insurance you need.....just in case a guest falls over a balcony. Big Sur is kind of strict about that stuff.

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