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Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:39 pm
by mdgraham
The house was built and completed in 1958-59. See TIME link I posted. Thats 50 years. Forget your sloppy math and 60-70 years ago. Not the 1930's. Not the 1940's. 1959. see wikipedia under WILD BIRD and Nat Ownings.
FLW Was NOT the architect on Wild Bird. instead it was low profile Genius named Mark Mills. NOT FLW. He actually was pretty good at keeping his roofs from leaking. Among other construction defects.

Is there a way to resto-mod a house? I can't say. I do not market on this site.

My clients pay me for other services. Believe me if there is a way to "resto-mod a house?" I will advise. And likely LOOSE the project/commission/job. Sobeit. NO is the most powerful word in the english language. I;ll take the TOXIC MATERIALS LIE up with the expert at a later date. It defies any explanation and is not credible. She worked for someone who paid her to say it with NO BACKUP.

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:55 pm
by hometheater
yes, I know this was built in the late 50s, that's why I picked the 1957 corvette example. I also know this was not a FLW house.

I was asking a general question about the concept. If someone were to buy a historic Wright house (some of which were built in the 30's) Would there be an acceptable way to add things like grounded outlets, a security system, and internet access? Could you put a microwave in hallowed ground?

I am not marketing. Believe me, this is NOT my market.

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:57 pm
by SDR
Yes, old houses are often updated in subtle and sensitive ways. There is a 100+ yr old house on another thread here, which an experienced restoration architect is rescuing for his own use. The Ross house has received a modern roof on top of the original structure, in a way which almost invisibly enhances the energy performance of the structure. Unoriginal additions to the house have been removed, windows restored or replicated as needed, and a modern heating system and other mechanical upgrades will be installed, rendering the house fit for another century of use while recreating Wright's original architecture in every way. A 100-year old kitchen design is unlikely to provide what is needed today, so the architect has devised a sympathetic new design for that portion of the house -- and some upstairs rooms have been slightly reorganized for similar reasons, without compromising the original character of the structure. ... light=ross

The better architects have always sought to create an entire environment, inside and out, including furnishings and landscaping, in order to provide a well-coordinated and complete experience for the occupants, and a satisfying aesthetic whole. This is true of many of the twentieth-century designers we call modernists. Wright's oldest son, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr (known as Lloyd) specialized in landscape in his early career, and so provided the many homes he designed in Southern California with especially complete exterior environments.

Many architectural practitioners maintain interior specialists on staff, to coordinate material and furnishing choices and lighting design with the overall concept. Other architects leave interior design to someone chosen by their client.


As for the "unsafe" studio or workshop at Wild Bird, a complete restoration might have included a replica of that space in more acceptable material. And that part of the house could have found a new use, such as a guest suite or home office, etc, if desired. "Adaptive reuse" is one popular strategy for retaining significant structure.

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:31 pm
by KevinW
To be accurate, Wild Bird did not receive an award of merit in 2009 from the San Jose AIA. The Architect was a juror for the 2009 San Joaquin Chapter Design Awards. His bio mentions that he just completed a house named Wild mention that it was a remodel / addition.

In the case of one of a kind properties like the former Wild Bird, Restoration should be the first consideration. A team of professionals experienced in Historic properties should have been employed. Several things broke down in this project, starting with the "expert" stating that the house was without architectural significance....but Wild Bird LLC's partners were no doubt behind that..

The dramatic site, the wealth of the area, the desire to use WB as a $15K a night hide away, and a savvy owner pretty much sealed WB's fate. I understand that.

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:22 am
by hometheater
mdgraham - as the Mills expert, do you know did he do the interiors also?

Wild Bird seems very different from any other thing I can find he has done. Most remind me of the "house of the future"

and some are pretty mundane: ... 102163.htm

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:35 am
by SDR
I have yet to see another work of Mark Mills which interests me as much as the Big Sur opus. Will we ever know how much input Nat Owings had into the design ?


Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:16 am
by KevinW
I have some pics of some Mills work that will interest you, if I find them tonite I'll scan them at work tomorrow.

Wild Bird

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:42 am
by Unbrook
I am late to this thread, and would like to add to the comment about Wingspread a while ago. The story about water dripping on the dining room chair during a dinner party does have a part 2. I have heard that the next day Mr. Wright sent a team from Taliesin to solve the problem.

What to do with significant residential architecture? I believe we must preserve the structure as much as possible, but we can't all live in museums.
I think an hommage to the original design is mandatory. Documentation of the original building is the best we can do. At the Weltzheimer House, we present the basics of the Wright design, with the modifications that occured as the house was being built and with the various owners. I believe this invites dialogue and ultimately shows the genius of its architect.

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:35 am
by mdgraham
thank you. I stand corrected on the juror error.

Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:40 pm
by Education Professor
To paraphrase my grandfather, I think that Wild Bird from Mills'/Owings' time has flown the coop.


Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:55 pm
by Tom
I've got a deep hatred toward the perpetrators of this. It cannot be overstated.

Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:15 pm
by SDR
Calm down, son -- this too will pass. The present state of the house is a great alternative to demolition. The bones are still there, and visible; a third architect might someday do something worthwhile with the remains . . .


Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:47 pm
by Tom
Okay. But I think I disagree that the present state of the house is better than demolition.

Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:16 pm
by SDR
Tsk. Well, I sympathize with your outrage, of course -- but the building site deserves to be utilized for some functional and pleasurable purpose, and it presently supports an enclosure which retains the original architect's chosen exposures and other responses -- in a condition which can be described as pleasant, even sophisticated. The remodeling could have been far, far worse.

One might almost think that the present designer had a certain respect for what came before, while succumbing -- let's assume under financial pressures -- to the ubiquitous desire for ostentatious luxury ?


Posted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:47 am
by Tom
SDR, thanks for your sympathy the reason for which I know you share at least in part. I disagree that the site deserves to be used. But arguing this would ruin my day. I understand something of what you are trying to say but honestly I'm just not there. I'd prefer to see the pile taken down, the promontory restored to creation, and Wild Bird only in memory at this point. I know all that has nothing to do with "reality." But I believe it nevertheless.