Ross House Construction Photos

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JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

SDR, If you look back at page 10 of this thread, he shows that the original exterior base was wood as was drawn, but that it was doomed to fail, which it did. I suspect for that reason he went with a different configuration, more along the lines of Willits.

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thank you. The section drawing is interesting. Mr Wright, ever the inventor. He drained the wall to behind the skirt board (mustn't see it stained with debris!) and floated the whole affair just above grade . . .

Imagine a grade beam composed of disconnected square-section tiles laid end to end! The house proper has a concrete grade beam, as shown in the section ?

SDR

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Rood wrote:One thing I notice from the drawings is that the solid (concrete?) foundations apparently go down below the frost line ... so it must have been much later, at Taliesin I, perhaps, when Mr. Wright began using rubble stone foundations.
Rubble stone foundations preceded concrete foundations in the Prairie Period as was common.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

SDR
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Post by SDR »

That is not what this section drawing of the street-side wall shows. As there is no break line at the bottom of the concrete, I have to assume that this indicates a grade beam -- without reinforcement, apparently ?

Part of the drawing is missing. There appears to be a three-inch slab, on top of 3" of crushed rock or tamped fill ?


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SDR
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Post by SDR »

I thought it was time to review this record for my own information, hoping specifically for information about the foundation(s) of the house. The owner seems to have dived right in by removing the carbuncle, recreating the missing entry elements, seeing to the stucco and to the roof. No mention so far of the base.

I like this entry particularly:

PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:40 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

"The doors and windows are original, except for the patio doors which were added to allow access to the rear yard. The glass in the windows was designed to be held in place with wooden stops, but the contractor switched to glazing putty, which meant that the windows needed to be painted, not stained. We removed all the subsequent layers of paint, reinstalled the glass with wooden stops, per the drawings, and stained the sash using Sikkens. Each window opening will be fitted with a roller insect screen, and an insulated storm window installed at the location of the former screen window for an R value of 7. This method allows all of the windows to be open during the summer with screens."

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

SDR wrote:Hunt and adjacent to Stockman (these two are mirror images of each other, I guess -- Storrer's plans vary from page to page as to scale). SDR
The Hunt House and the Stockman House are similar, but they are not mirror images of each other. Major differences occur on either side at the front entry and opposite at the open porch.

I have not researched it there are size differences as well.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

outside in
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Post by outside in »

SDR, there is a photo and explanation of why the original wooden base detail was no longer used - its a bad detail. Leaves, grasses, bugs, you name it settle into the space with no where to go, creating rot and moisture problems. I have seen the same detail used on other Wright and Van Bergen homes, with the wooden base raised about 8 inches off of the ground, giving a strange effect of the house floating. Some would not be happy with the decision, but the current condition matches the original elevation, prior to working drawings.

ImageImage

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

I guess I've never focused closely on the base detail for Prairie Style houses with scrutiny, just assuming they were either cut stone or poured in place concrete where they met the ground. Looking at the photo of Ward Willits above, for instance, since I don't see mortar joints and discontinuous color/texture I would've assumed that base isn't stone & therefore was a concrete slab. But, seeing these details on Wm. Ross makes me wonder if more of these bases are instances of stucco on wood framing. That seems like a vulnerable detail, placing materials prone to decay so close to ground moisture, yet there it is.
If one were to do a survey of various base details used what would be the mix used over the years?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks, John. It's a pity that some continue to deny that Wright is a stylist, among his other attributes -- when the evidence is so plain to see.

James, here's where I wish I had some of the earlier Monographs -- still probably the best source for a random sampling of Wright CDs from each period.

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Perhaps there's a project here to study documents and list all the houses with this or that kind of base. Like Palli's Perfs. I suspect the conclusion would be that wood on dirt was commonplace at one time.
Ginny Kazor owns a 1908 Queen Anne/A&C hybrid. Investigating a slump in the living room, she discovered that the entire front wall of the large house was resting on a massive beam set on grade.
Needless to say, 85 years of resting on dirt left it in sorry condition. She found out one reason why her house had cost her only $70K.
Of course, her house is in California, where houses are put together with spit and a promise and tossed on the ground without care.

outside in
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Post by outside in »

Image

outside in
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Post by outside in »

Image

outside in
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Post by outside in »

Wright went to great lengths to describe how his buildings exposed the foundation - an "honest" detail. Even in the early buildings, such as Willits, he poured a concrete beam on top of the rubble foundation up AGAINST the wood framing to create the plinth. On the less expensive homes, he created the base with wood.

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

That's interesting. I would've thought Chicago weather would've rather consistently deposited snow drifts on top of that type of assembly and the freeze/thaw would've taken a toll. Perhaps the broad overhangs provide enough protection (?)

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Yes. The effect must be had, by whatever means could be afforded. One wonders why the architect didn't resort to the sensible arrangement you have substituted for the original, which as you say gives us what is seen on the original proposal.

The framing you show is necessarily more complex and time-consuming that the few boards employed in the original; I suppose that's the explanation.

In the Usonian model we see Wright achieving an honest expression of material -- at last ?

SDR

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