Unbuilt home--Ludington Michigan

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dkottum
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Location: Battle Lake, MN

Post by dkottum »

The fireplace and dining/living/terrace arrangement remind me of Fallingwater. Unconventional to those who like little groupings of furniture around the fire, but perhaps intended to serve the space as a whole with its presence.

I think the unusual workspace placement serves with some success to break the long and unnatural run of windows. My experience with FLLW buildings is that such odd-looking elements look much better in person than on two dimensional drawings.

I am defending this design only to learn the opinions of others, and to consider how something on paper may work much better when actually constructed.

doug k

Deke
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Post by Deke »

I can't recall another Wright work in which a shed roof flares out...but I'm no expert. The stairs are also unusual in that most Usonian stairs are straight runs without turns and landings. The placement of the fireplace seem counter to the typical Usonian technique of working the fireplace as a divider between workspace and living room.

Deke

Tom
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Dkottum: I like your point about the fireplace position.

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Stracke aside, if one wants to get a sense of Wright's influence in the studio of Taliesin, one only needs to look at what came after April, 1959. William Wesley Peters' ebullient ornamentation is well known, but instead look at a large sampling of John Howe's work:

The following link leads to drawings from the John Howe archive at the University of Minnesota:

http://umedia.lib.umn.edu/taxonomy/term/717

Howe was an artist and architect of very high caliber, but he was not on the level of Frank Lloyd Wright. Look through the drawings at the link above, then look at FLLW Monograph 7. The Howe archive is filled with good design and exceptional renderings and draftsmanship, but in almost every project there is a detail, a gesture, or a form that instinctively one familiar with Wright's work will think, "Wright wouldn't do that."

dkottum
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Location: Battle Lake, MN

Post by dkottum »

This may bring us back to the Berdan project and its louvered windows above the transom. Wright never did that before, is it his? Well, that's his signature at the bottom of the drawings.

doug k

Palli
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Post by Palli »

I see the Fallingwater and Stracke fireplaces differently. Although each have built in seating to the left, the function & effect are quite different. The Fallingwater hearth is the all important welcome gesture. Remembering the House in it's real life: for Fall and winter visits the servants would have a blazing fire ready for the Kaufmans and its color and warmth would have dominated the room immediately. The entry water spout signals "preparation for the interior" but for House intimates it could be ignored, however the hearth- even in summer- was the undeniable spirit. There is no inglenook to restrict it's all-encompasing nature.
On the other hand, entering the Stracke House you would have to make an about face to see the hearth. It is not a defining element of the design. And because the front of the fireplace is in direct line with the hallway it does not invite the comfort of hassocks or easy chairs, making even the symbolism of the hearth as vague as the reason for a fire in Florida anyway. In a northern clime would the little ledge that emerges from the built-in seating have been a half inglenook? Correction: the House was designed for Wisconsin

The perf design, by the way, relates to the Sunday House T5522 S.393.
Last edited by Palli on Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Tom
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Post by Tom »

Palli, I like your point about the fireplace position.

Palli
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Post by Palli »

At least one other Project used louvres- Oak Shelter for Wisconsin- I will look for the client name and date.

dkottum
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Post by dkottum »

Fun to compare design elements of a considered lousy house with one of FLLW's best.

Palli, is Stracke for Florida? I remember an earlier scheme for Stracke built into a hillside apparently with an expansive overlook. I don't see Wright's Usonian fireplaces as a place to gather chairs. The placement of the central core, usually containing the workspace, left them in line with the entrance to the space, and often very close to the dining table. A pleasant description of how it may have been used at Fallingwater. A "path of discovery" exists in either design.

Roderick, this floor plan looks pretty decent to me, and for the most part typical Usonian. Is the problem with the plan, elevations, or both?

doug k

Palli
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Post by Palli »

At least one other Project used louvres- Oak Shelter in Wisconsin- I will look for the client name and date.

Palli
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Location: Oberlin, Ohio

Post by Palli »

dkottum- boy! I was off, I should have checked the book: Stracke is for Appleton WI. (and my home state too) I just dumbly jumped on SDR's FSC comment.

Knowing it is for the Wisconsin, the fireplace seems even more out of place and extended seating around the corner could be utilized.

Wrighter
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Post by Wrighter »

Two questions:

1) When would Stracke have been on the boards at Taliesin. Anyone know? We're calling it 1956--does that fit with around the time these drawings would have been produced?

2) Those lights recessed into the surface of the cabinets as indicated on the upper right hand corner of the first drawing. Were lights like that built into the cabinetry of any built design?

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Stracke seems to have a toplight (skylight) in a bedroom which is rare for Wright. The only other that comes to mind is the Jester plan as built for BBPfeiffer, though I'm sure there are more. The same bedroom's window placement seems out of character too: Wright's bedrooms usually create cross ventilation either with their own windows/clerestories or when a bedroom door is opened to catch a breeze from the gallery clerestory....this room depends on the opposite bedroom door being open.

Palli
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Post by Palli »

The Stracke text from the MONO indicates the chevron panels are windows (at least below the kitchen) onto the lower level workshop and the bedroom lanai is grass.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

First I would say it is essential to separate residential work from all non-residential work. FLW was a residential architect, and those habits spilled over onto his other work, occasionally to their detriment. (That's why I would rather have seen St. Marks on the Bowerie built than Price Tower.) I would not want to compare Stracke to FSC in any way, except possibly the plan of the Administration Building, which is appropriately residential in scale ... and wonderful!

Keep looking at Stracke, inch by inch, and you will probably conclude that just about everything is wrong with it, including the plan. While superficially Usonian-like, if you were to imagine how one would use this layout, as opposed to say Jacobs I, it should become clear just how bad and un-Wrightlike it is. The fireplace, for instance (which I would not compare in any way to Fallingwater's): The placement of the Stracke fireplace is close to the entry, as it is in Jacobs I, but the orientation is 90 degrees off, making it a hot nuisance to pass by or dine near, but not a visual delight from the rest of the living room. The chevron window almost celebrates the basement, which, as can be determined by the elevation of the north facade which shows the foundation in dashed lines, was confined to the space under kitchen and bedrooms in the usual furnace-room-only Usonian style ... maybe room for laundry. Also, the elevation does not include the screened porch shown on the plan. Try integrating that with the sloping roof. Inoffensive, but not practical, is the arrangement of steps that lead from the front door, around the corner to the lanai entrance (and,yes, lanai was a popular term in the mid-50s, senseless as it may seem), cutting the usable width of the first carport bay to a trifling 6'. This seems a recollection of the similar steps in the Sunday interior (M8/181), which are successful ... though I'm not sure how FLW they are; it's a detail that doesn't appear often in his work.

Bit by bit, the flaws in this design bare themselves, not showing FLW in decline in any way other than unwisely leaving too much decision-making to apprentices.

Just a brief digression back to the original subject of this thread: Berdan is an example of one of FLW's finest late design types, which include Bachman-Wilson and Penfield.

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