Wild Bird

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

Post by mdgraham »

I can only hope good comprehensive photographs of the house as originally built exist somewhere. Janey Bennett is writing a book (compendium) on Mark Mills, the Architect for Wild Bird and other exquisite properties in Carmel/Big Sur. It couldn't possibly be included in its current state.
Sad that money does not buy taste. I understand that a few other houses designed by Mark Mills were inflicted with similar 'additions'. The link to the blog under Education Professor's post has some astute comments.
I hope more savewright readers post their comments.

Mary
FLL,FL

Education Professor
Posts: 594
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:10 pm

Post by Education Professor »

SDR, mdgraham, and dkottum, your points are well taken. I was equally surprised by the changes. In the first photo, it appears that a second story was added above the bedroom wing and the trademark Taliesin West-type beams were removed.

I do hope that the interior/exterior was well-documented before the changes were made. I'm surprised that there weren't protections in place to keep such extensive renovations from taking place.

Wild Bird is one of my all-time favorites and is located on one of the most dramatic sites that one could ever imagine. As my grandmother would often say, sometimes it is best to leave "well enough" alone.............

EP

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I don't know anything about the redo or who done it -- ahem -- but it would appear from the single photo and the comment that the usual trend has been followed: enlarge, homogenize, "normalize" -- and make it ready for an unknown future buyer. Think what they'd do to Hollyhock House (for instance) . . . !

S

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

Post by Education Professor »

yes indeed, SDR.........

EP

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

Post by mdgraham »

As they say...if it isn't broke, don't fix it. The perfectly proportioned, and daylit, spaces of Wild Bird deserved preservation (see photos on p.1 of this thread). Likewise, alterations to FLW houses are equally off limits.
The only thing worse would have been a tear down by a new buyer.

Education Professor
Posts: 594
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:10 pm

Post by Education Professor »

Wild Bird as intended (from Weintraub and Hess--Forgotten Modern):

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EP

Education Professor
Posts: 594
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:10 pm

Post by Education Professor »

Before and after comparison photos. Seems that Wild Bird now appears more imposed upon the site rather than being integrated into it.

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EP

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

Post by mdgraham »

Professor - point made and I have the NorCal Mod volume. The contrast of the original vision for two discerning Clients with the current 'condition' illustrates in a nutshell what has happened to the profession of Architecture, the role of the Architect and the place of the Client. It is with a heavy heart I follow this news today (but I thank you for posting), and why I have soured on the profession I started out in so idealistically years ago. Although I knew of Mark Mills house for June Foster Haas while in grade school, I later discovered him in my obsesssion with everything Lautner, and my purchase of the Taliesin Legacy in the last year. I am obsessed with them both. While I wrestle academically with FLW and Corb from my college (formative) years, I was robbed as Lautner was never made known to us students in the 1970's.
The Big Sur site of Wild Bird still evokes the spirit of Nat and Margaret Owings and Mark Mills, but the abode has been diminished.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Maybe someday someone will reverse some of the recent damage.

Are those A-frames concrete ?

S

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

Post by mdgraham »

Yes the A-frame is concrete and looks like originally unfinished (see re-posted photos above). The plumbing for the Kitchen at the end was likely capped off below the floor so possibly could be returned to the original layout. The end wall glazing was replaced as the 'pass-thru' window above the counter shows the original design. I imagine a California licensed architect had to have been involved given the licensing requirements per CAB but that person did a dis-service to a gem of a house. I am trying to be civil.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I can see someone laboriously removing the paint from the A-frames, some day. I recall the description of a similar labor of love lavished on a stone-veneered mid-century house somewhere in LA. Quite a grunt -- but the proud owner prevailed, to rewarding results.

Some designers can't abide unfinished materials, no matter the provenance or effect -- I guess.

S

Education Professor
Posts: 594
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:10 pm

Post by Education Professor »

mdgraham--

I believe I understand how you feel as I have been disheartened by my own profession in recent years. I do encourage you to continue serving as an advocate for organic architecture as Mr. Wright and his apprentices intended for it to be...much like Laurie Virr has done for organic architecture in Australia. I wish I would have been exposed to the work of Mr. Wright and the apprentices in my college years...my career path would have certainly been much different.

Concerning the Taliesin Legacy project, have you moved forward with it or is it still in the preliminary stages? Has a particular design been identified?

With regard to Wild Bird-----SDR rightly noted that it may very well be returned to its original state via "reverse" restoration one day. A proud owner will indeed prevail, to rewarding results (to quote SDR).

The true spirit of Wild Bird does indeed live on...what a remarkable site!

EP

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

Post by mdgraham »

Education Professor -
thank you for your encouraging words. i truly admire and respect all who post here as each is a devotee of good design and good architecture.
Taliesin Legacy is a book I purchased last summer in my continued purchase of anything Lautner in print (hard to find but you can read a review on amazon.com). Low and behold when I opened it I was on the Mark Mills section. I never knew Mark Mills was a FLW disciple which then explained my affinity for both he and JL. Janey Bennet is the author writing the book on Mark Mills http://www.janeybennett.com/taliesin.html
She had the good fortune of meeting him and walking through some of the houses he designed in Big Sur/Carmel, and wrote an article that was in the Taliesin Journal. I discovered her website and have offered in any way I can to help her as she completes the project. I believe we need a Publisher. Any suggestions would be appreciated from the Save Wright members. Thank you again.

Education Professor
Posts: 594
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:10 pm

Post by Education Professor »

mdgraham,

Thanks for your kind note. I likewise have the highest respect for those who post on this board. The Taliesin Legacy book definitely provides a nice summary of the work by some of Mr. Wright's apprentices. I hope the book will be expanded one day to include the work of other apprentices. I appreciate the info about Janey Bennet and her work on the Mills book. One publishing source may be Blurb.com. I know that "hypnoraygun" on this board recently published his book about the work of Fay Jones through Blurb.

EP

dleach
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:15 am
Location: Fair Oaks, CA

Post by dleach »

When evaluating the work of Mark Mills, one should not overlook his association and life-long friendship with Paolo Soleri. A year in the desert can have a profound and lasting effect.

Don
Last edited by dleach on Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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