Alpaugh Residence

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Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, to your question about butterfly roofs, yes FLW did design at least one. (Unless I page through Taschen #3, 580 pages, I cannot be certain it's only one.) But he did not build one, although Alpaugh, completed, might qualify as a butterfly rent assunder. In Taschen 3, pp 83-4, is the Project for the Walter Dayer Music Pavillion. Part of the text states:
... The distinguishing feature of the work is the butterfly roof, of which Wright wrote, "The butterfly roof I suggested to Frankfurt, Germany, in a brochure in Frankfurt published in 1913 is here adapted to a combination music-studio and cottage living room. The cantilevered roof shelters both -- tall windows opening to a garden so terraced that comfortable seating may be had using the studio and living room as a stage. The two rooms may be thrown together by means of a sliding partition." [The Architectural Forum, January, 1948, page 76]

PrairieMod
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Post by PrairieMod »

It would be nice to know where they ended up. Perhaps the owner would be generous enough to share more info or better images...a long shot, but a nice wish.

I'm especially interested in seeing the furniture sheets a little better--some of those Usonian chairs look fairly unique in their design.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Yes -- the X-base side chair seems to be unique. All the drawings exhibit both interesting design and superior draftsmanship, from what I can see. (On second viewing, my screen shots seem not much different from the images in the link.) Wish we could see the rest of the set.

The listing shows a variety of materials, both printed and original. The sheet labeled "4 out of 10" contains a section (in red) superimposed upon the plan of the same space -- all at a 45º angle. This kind of superimposition is not all that rare in the literature, but I can't recall another example from the Taliesin drafting rooms.

Where are they now ? I wonder if any nation has a law allowing copyright holders to exercise control over materials not in their possession . . . at least to the extent of requiring copies to be provided to the original owner. Wouldn't that be civilized ?

SDR

Palli
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Post by Palli »

Published plans clearly annotated perforated boards and this set is without elevations that might show the ideas of the design. I am wondering if the detail drawing at the bottom of page 9 is the perf unit. On the left faint lines suggest a rectangular shape.

The chair if perforated clearly.
The Perf Project

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Interesting question. Compare to page 7; the shapes on the lower left of page 9 are identical with the section through the roof fascia(s) and soffit(s).

What a perf would be doing at that point is a mystery. I had at first assumed this to be a study for a plan element, with masonry walls. But the geometry of this "perf" element is 30º angles, while the floor plan geometry of the house is composed of 45º angles.

Copper roof-fascia pattern ?

The piece at bottom right of sheet 9 is a complete puzzle -- to me.

SDR

DRN
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Post by DRN »

The composition of the construction drawings is different than most drawings we have seen from Taliesin in this era...the literal overlay of section or interior elevation over partial plans, the density and arrangement of the large scale details, the bleed of the drawings to the edge of the page and into the title block, not to mention the distinctive and elegant lettering style. In the GA Monograph of this period (late '40's) I recall seeing an unbuilt house with lettering similar to this...possibly from the same hand?

It would be interesting to know whose drafting this is. E. Fay Jones often used a vertical font in his work...what summer did he spend at Taliesin?

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

E. Fay Jones: May to September, 1953

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Much of the lay public believes (has been led to believe ?) that all of these drawings are Wright's. The reality is far more interesting. I wonder if the absorbing story will every be told in full. In each decade of Mr Wright's career, different hands assisted him in recording his thoughts and preparing them for construction. Speculation about this one set of documents represents the issue; imagine the effort necessary to unearth the whole tale, from beginning to end. No doubt some parts of this saga will never come fully to light . . .

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Both Geiger and Besinger tried to ferret out the names of as many delineators as they could, with mixed success. If they couldn't do it, I doubt anyone else can.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

If true, that's a shame. The best time to have conducted such an effort has long passed; that is, collection of data might have begun in the 'forties and 'fifties and continued in the subsequent decades -- in each of which, more members of the drafting staff were retiring from practice and Fellows were forgetting what they knew. Clearly there was no system in place -- ever -- to identify drawings by their makers: quite the opposite, in fact, as I understand it. Neither Mr nor Mrs Wright seems to have wished to have any name other than The Master's applied to any Taliesin-generated work -- understandably, I suppose, if regrettably.

Even master drafters like John Howe were content to subsume their own considerable talents in deference to the boss. A discreet delineator's initial would have done no harm -- it would seem -- but, no.

I suspect that no one yet has devoted the time necessary to achieve some clarity on this matter -- at least to the extent of narrowing the field, in the case of a particular set of drawings, to a couple of possible candidates. Were no records kept by Jack Howe (as chief draftsman) of drafting assignments ?

Lettering, and such details as the form of the geographic orientation arrow -- which we looked at recently in the case of the questionable Pappas drawings -- go a long way toward distinguishing one hand from another. I accept that it's a daunting task . . .

SDR

Palli
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Post by Palli »

Roderick, are there any records of the work Chris Besinger and John Geiger put into trying to ID Apprentice delineators?
The Perf Project

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Palli, Geiger's archives at U of M would have whatever information he acquired. I don't know about Besinger's archives.

dkottum
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Post by dkottum »

In 1994 we attended an exhibit of FLW's work at the MOMA in New York, and purchased a large book of essays and plates published to accompany the exhibit, "Frank Lloyd Wright Architect".

Many of the drawings in the book give credit to the delineators with their initials in the captions. On page 109 the initials are identified with full names, some going back to the Oak Park years. Some are shown with more than one delineator, for example "FLLW and JHH".

doug k

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks, Doug. I thought I had seen credits like that somewhere in the literature -- and there it is, in the volume you cite.


Image


Now, with some cross-referencing to other drawings (or larger reproductions of the drawings in the MoMA book), we might get somewhere in this study.
That's assuming that the credits supplied are indeed correct . . . !

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Geiger had that book. I believe he had some problems with certain ascriptions, especially for the period (1948-1954) when he was resident.

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