Richard Smith House, Jefferson, WI

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Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Of all the FLW houses accused of being too dark, Weisblatt is the one that most fits the bill. The interior has a lot of concrete and dark wood, with few reflective surfaces. As I recall, the Howe addition was suitably subdued, adding on to the bedroom wing. (Though it has been a long time since I saw it!) The screened porch is one of the nicest touches. The framing, as I recall, was painted Cherokee red. Overall a very livable house. Mrs. Weisblatt was still in residence at the time.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Two references refer to the roof of this house as "cantilevered" -- in one case, "from side wall masonry." Mysterious. . .

I haven't found interior photos.


Image
W A Storrer photo and plan


Image
Weintraub photo (published at 2 5/8" wide -- rephotographed with Canon 2MP camera and pocket magnifier)


Image
Weintraub photo (HP all-in-one scanner)

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The plan shows a corner-opening pair of doors -- but the photos don't bear that out. . .do they ?

There would have to be stiles at the corner, not mitered glass. . .


SDR

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Roderick Grant wrote:Of all the FLW houses accused of being too dark, Weisblatt is the one that most fits the bill. The interior has a lot of concrete and dark
I have been in this house and I agree with Roderick that this house is dark, but upon examining the the orientation of the two walls of glass in the living room that face south I can only conclude that vegetation to the south is blocking the light. It appears the Wright did what he usually did, place the window-wall to the south. From historical photos it appears that most of these Usonian homes were built on naked farmland and the trees were subsequently not Wright's fault.

Now the Charles Manson House is another story....

Tom
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Post by Tom »

Helpful thread for understanding these roofs

John
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Location: Shoreview, MN

Smith

Post by John »

"...it could be considered a township site, and as such the choice of random coursed limestone masonry walls is totally inappropriate. "

Please enlighten me.

Can there not be stone quarries in Townships?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The comment you refer to is found on page one of the thread. It was made by an Australian architect; we have learned that many items in the professional
vocabulary have different meanings there. In any event, several posts on pages one and two express differing opinions on the matter . . .

If there was once agreement that rusticated or rough-faced masonry is inappropriate "in town," numerous examples from the past several centuries should
have served as antidotes to the notion. One thinks of Richardson's courageous/outrageous Marshall Field Wholesale Store in downtown Chicago, of 1885-7.

SDR

DRN
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Post by DRN »

If there was once agreement that rusticated or rough-faced masonry is inappropriate "in town," numerous examples from the past several centuries should
have served as antidotes to the notion. One thinks of Richardson's courageous/outrageous Marshall Field Wholesale Store in downtown Chicago, of 1885-7.
I suspect Laurie's comments about the appropriateness of rough stone in the city or townships would not extend to the work of HHRichardson at Marshall Fields in Chicago or for that matter, the Allegheny Courthouse and Jail in Pittsburgh as those granite stones (blocks, really) were carefully dressed at their edges to make precise, formal joints between blocks, lintels, and segments of Roman arches.

http://glessnerhouse.blogspot.com/2015/ ... store.html
http://www.pittsburghartplaces.org/accounts/view/111

The comment relative to the Smith house focused on the difficulty inherent in making such an imprecise material as fieldstone or quarried ledgestone conform to such an exacting organizational module as a diamond or triangle. Brick would seem a more logical choice.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Brick vs. Stone: Every brick building sits upon the earth. Many stone buildings emerge out of the earth, unless the stone is dressed.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

. . . and yet, Wright has his brick penetrate the earth in many structures, once he has left the water table behind ? The Kraus house comes to mind; parts of the house are bedded in bordered crushed rock while others rise directly from the grass.

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

With or without the water table, brick is a manufactured material, not a natural one. It sits upon the ground. You might find FLW houses with brick flooring in front of the fireplace, but never brick growing out of the earth like the FW fireplace. It would look contrived. There are places in FLW's work where stone seems to grow out of the ground and find its way into the interior. Even the brick terrace at Willey doesn't do that; it reaches out from the brick structure into the environment, but does not rise out of the earth.

At T-West, the concrete is so much like the desert floor, that the building seems to emerge out of the desert. Stones lie strewn about the desert, and the stones in the concrete are an abstraction of that natural environment.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I am fully engaged with Roderick's sensitivity to the nature of building and ground. Does a building grow from the ground, or does man place his
construction upon it in a way that clearly distinguishes one from the other ? What are the differences in this regard between the various masonry materials
with which man chooses to protect his structure, from the waste and ruin nature stands ready to inflict ?

It is interesting to see Wright wrestling with this problem -- in its aesthetics, at least. In 1936, for the Lusk Usonian, at Johnson Wax and at Wingspread,
brick rises from pavement, or from a concrete base where the surrounding is greenery. By the next year, his elevations of the Rebhuhn house show brick
walls rising from the surrounding lawns without an intermediary -- water table, edge of slab, or other.

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Brick is clearly distinguished from nature, while stone (undressed) is an extension of nature.

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Daniel, I agree with you 100%: The Smith House is excellent.

jay
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Re: Richard Smith House, Jefferson, WI

Post by jay »

Great thread here....happy to resurrect it.

Among my 'deep dives into the online Archives' this week, I was surprised to see how tight the lot of the Richard Smith house is:
https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 0207887378

I'd have to agree with Mr. Laurie Virr concerning the use of rough stone; it seems to be misplaced in the town context... And as to the preferable symbolism of stone 'emerging from the earth", one might wonder to what extent the actual terrain should give those cues? A rocky, sloping site, like those of Usonia NY, or SE Pennsylvania with Kentuck Knob and FW, lend their natural settings for use of rustic masonry....no? Using materials that are 'more distinguished from nature', like brick, would itself be more honest within a town neighborhood, because neighborhoods themselves are 'more distinguished from nature'.

All that said, the Richard Smith house seems like a very wonderful house.

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