The Zoned House

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Macrodex
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The Zoned House

Post by Macrodex »

Image
Image
Image

I was wondering if anyone had more information -- drawings, schematics -- regarding the Zoned House(s) project. The only information I could find is from An American Architecture (scans), nothing more. If anyone has more information, it'd be appreciated. (Sorry for the third scan's quality)

Jeff Myers
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Post by Jeff Myers »

I do have a page in "From Within Outward". To me it looked like Wright was going after the International Style.

Glad to see more on it.
JAT
Jeff T

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The Zoned House was not so much a project for a client as a generalized treatise on planning the modern house, arranging interior spaces in a logical, efficient, modern way. Nothing that recalls the sketches was ever developed into an actual building to be constructed. Following that section in "An American Architecture" he similarly waxed poetic on the New Theatre, which led directly to Kalita Humphreys in Dallas.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

[deleted -- see below]
Last edited by SDR on Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jeff Myers
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Post by Jeff Myers »

Thank you SDR.
JAT
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Macrodex
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Post by Macrodex »

Thanks for the images, SDR.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thank Jeff -- I'm just the messenger. . .


SDR

george nichols
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Zoned houses

Post by george nichols »

Additional information: T3502

FLlW Collected Writings,Vol.3
FLlW Monograph,Vol.5
FLlW Taschen,Vol.2

G.N.

Deke
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Post by Deke »

I liked these designs as well, but found nothing more detailed in the Getty collection. Just a couple perspectives and a very sketchy plan. It's almost like this was to illustrate some sort of presentation of article, not really a official project. I still find the composition of volumes and that broad roof very seductive.

Deke

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Here are three projects, arranged chronologically, that seem to share some of the same themes and elements: The Alexander Chandler Block House of 1927, the Zoned House[s] of 1935, and the All Steel Houses of 1938.


Alexander Chandler Block House as published in In the Nature of Materials:

Image



Project: The Zoned House for City, Suburb and Country, 1935 as found in Monograph 5. Here is Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer's text:


When he made these three designs for what he called "The Zoned House," Mr. Wright explained the project accordingly:

"New facilities make it desirable to lay aside the provincial American parlor. A beautiful kitchen should now go where the parlor went some time ago. With modern appurtenances what used to be the kitchen can now become a high spacious work studio opening level with the garden, therefore, a natural get-together place in which to live while at work. In a zoned plan the utility stack has, economically standardized and concentrated within it, all appurtenances of modern house construction: oil burning boiler and fuel tanks - air compressors, oil and gasoline supply for car, heating and air conditioning units, electric wiring and plumbing, vent and smoke flues. This enlarged hollow chimney - about 6 by 8 feet on the ground - is accessible from the coat-room and so placed that only one short run of horizontal pipe or wire to the study is necessary. Each bathroom is a one-piece standardized fixture directly connected to the stack. Kitchen sink, ranges and refrigeration, likewise. Here at the nexus of the arrangement is complete standardized factory production, in lieu of the wasteful, [angleci web of" wires ancl piping involved in the construction of the ordinary dwelling at present. Thus the cost of about one third of the usual home is here seen as reduced to a certainty, and one half or one third of the cost is potentially saved.

"The carport, integral feature of the dwelling, is convenient, not the gaping hole it usually is. Other features of the zoned house are the utilities stack; the development of the kitchen into the real living room, completely furnished, part of the whole; and the segregated space called the study. A third zone -- the slumber zone -- is introduced as mezzanine with balcony opening into the living kitchen or work room. While the children are young, each has a dressing room and sleeps out. When they grow up, by a few simple changes in the mezzanine each has a private room. Here are self-contained economies for the family, more natural and more orderly than is possible at present.

"This germ-plan would easily adapt itself, as indicated, to the several conditions of the small house in suburb, town and country. The suburban house is shown lighted largely from above - to avoid the more or less indecent exposure most suburban houses suffer from when they try to be little country houses on lots 50 feet wide. The town house is tall, all rooms having high ceilings. The entire house is hermetically sealed from dirt and noise and air-conditioned, with opportunity to go out to view the passing show on occasions, but only when moved; also opportunity to live outside, up top where greenery can see the sky. The utility stack and bathrooms, work room, segregated study and segregated slumber rooms of this town house all keep to the underlying scheme of the suburban house.

"The country house has the same scheme too. Its outer walls are mostly metal and glass screens and the plan is opened wide to sun, air and vista. A spreading good-time place is possible in country life."


Image Plate 255

Note that this sheet has a portion at the top which is to be read "from the opposite side of the table," as it were. I have reproduced that portion below, as Plate 255 (rotated). But first, an enlargement of the bottom right portion, followed by a separate plate of the same subject:

Image Plate 255, detail 1

Image Plate 257



Image Plate 255 (rotated) (detail)

Image Plate 255 detail 2

Image Plate 259


Image Plate 256

Image Plate 256 detail

Image Plate 258
Last edited by SDR on Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Project: All Steel Houses, Los Angeles, California, 1938 as found in Monograph 6. Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer's text:


This housing project for Los Angeles, a large group of 100 homes on hillside sites, was designed in 1937 using a system of sheet metal, steel, prefabrication created by the architect to render the entire cost more moderate. Throughout his life he was continually developing systems of building, with the prefabricated houses of 1915-1917 called the American Ready-Cut System, again in the twenties with the textile block system in Los Angeles, and with the U sonian houses using wood, plywood, masonry and glass. In each instance, the aim was to make building construction less costly by means of factory production, and keeping skilled labor off the building site as much as possible, retaining the skills in the factories where materials and method made thcir work there more profitable for all concerned.

The ''All Steel" houses were placed among the hillslopes of Los Angeles with careful consideration of the terrain. No cutting and slashing ofthe hills, no ruthless terracing as had become the habit for most Los Angeles housing. This makes the individual homes cling to the slope, and necessitates, in plan, the use of multiple levels.

The material throughout was intended to be sheet steel and poured concrete. All the plans vary from house to house, but the system is constant. This is the cost-reducing factor used at its best without the monotony of repetitive designs.

On his first sketch for the project, in his handwriting are written the following notes in explanation:

"Sheet metal structures for cantilevered mezzanine-type dwellings. Unit system. Furnished, except movable.

"One section used throughout - interpenetrated casting of vermiculite or concrete.

"Windows and doors same sheet metal section. Wardrobes and stationary furniture, same.

"Sections perforated for glass insertions for windows.

"Flanges perforated for concrete interpenetration. Floors, walls, ceilings the same.

"No bolt-screws, or mechanical fittings. No field labor except assembly and pouring concrete.

''Appurtenance systems all independant of structure, shop fabricated."




Image Plates 135, 136

Image Plates 137, 138

Deke
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Post by Deke »

There is some aesthetic similarity between the suburban home designs and the all steel designs...most obviously in the flat plane of a roof. What I like most about the suburban plans is that they were a rare occasion in which Wright designed for a fairly standard lot. No need here for an acre of land in which to nestle a Wright jewel and surround it with foliage. These designs would work in a standard development.

I've always felt it was a missed opportunity for Wright not to spec-design homes on a Levitt-town scale. The Usonians, much as I'm addicted to them, are all unique, even with the standard construction system. They are also often so fussy that they were difficult to build. If FLW had designed a post and panel construction system, he could have opened a factory to crank out the building components and them ship them to anywhere in the country to be assembled in three or four plan options.

Deke

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Wright's comment about his suburban Zoned plan: "The suburban house is shown lighted largely from above - to avoid the more or less indecent exposure most suburban houses suffer from when they try to be little country houses on lots 50 feet wide."

This is the kind of note that means a lot to a reader of his small-scale prototype plans -- especially when the elevations are missing or not fully developed.

SDR

Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

The closest Wright came to tract-house design was prefabs. He did this twice, once with the American Ready-Cut system ca. 1915 and again 40 years later with Erdman. Eichler's houses in California from the 40s to 60s give us an idea of what Wright might have done for a mass-market builder.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Another contemporary (in more than one sense) would be Cliff May's tract house -- an "undesigned" panel+post+beam low-gabled wood and glass "ranch" with (as a signature) a glazed gable. These houses in their most stripped form seem almost Japanese to me. . .

Image

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