Alden B Dow

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SDR
Posts: 19068
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Alden B Dow

Post by SDR »

I have copied the posts below from the Wright Done Wrong thread:



Paul Ringstrom

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:35 pm
I tried to find photos of the Charch House by Alden Dow online but was not successful. Does anyone have a photo?


SDR

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:09 pm
Has a book on Dow's work been published ?

S


TnGuy

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:15 pm
SDR wrote:
Has a book on Dow's work been published ?


Alden B. Dow: Midwestern Modern

Architecture of Alden B. Dow

David


SDR

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:29 pm
"Charch" does not show up in the index of the first volume . . .

S


Paul Ringstrom

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:08 pm
Here are two more book on or by Dow:

Alden Ball Dow: A selected bibliography
Author: Anthony G White
ISBN: 0792004914
Publisher: Vance Bibliographies

Reflections
Author: Alden B. Dow
ASIN: B0006CKBJW
Publisher: Northwood Institute (1970)


SDR

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:40 pm
Can you describe the Charch house, Paul ? Is there a particular feature of note ?

S D R


DRN

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:35 pm
SDR:
The Charch house is listed in both the Sidney Robinson book from the '80's and Diane Maddex's recent book. It is not pictured or described other than a listing in each book's roster of built work. The commission came about '45 or '46, and was built by 1950.

I had the opportunity to tour the house as a friend of a friend was the listing agent for the house when it was sold in 1987. The house has a flat roof with thick redwood fascias similar to those on the house posted earlier. There is a mix of stonework and it is evident that the house was built as an addition/infill of some existing stone ruins that dated from the early 20th century. The interiors were spatially interesting, there were flagstone floors and a lot of mahogany, but the level of detail was thin and what there was was very builderly. It is sited on the brow of a north-northeast facing slope overlooking the Brandywine River valley...in fact it is immediately across the creek from Andrew Wyeth's old mill home and studio on the flood plain below. The views were stunning. The drive is situated on the south side of Brinton's Bridge Road.

The fit/finish/level of detail is far below that of Dow's work that I saw in Midland, MI, and it was noted by the realtor that the house was "designed from a distance" meaning no on-site architect supervision was provided. Apparently, the Charch's were connected to the nearby DuPont chemical company and some connection through the chemical industry via Dow Chemical brought them to Alden Dow.

It is my understanding the 1980's purchasers heavily remodeled the interior, added a lot of downslope landscaping and a pool, and subdivided the extensive acreage ( the drive was over 1/2 mile long).

I have a couple of snapshots somewhere...I will try to find them for posting. If you want to find it on GoogleEarth, the house's coordinates are:

39.883439,-75.613582


peterm

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:50 pm
Freshly nominated:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzao4-0cgfk


SDR

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:35 pm
"Low-resolution realtor videos: scam, or mere annoyance ? Discuss . . ."

(No, don't bother -- just musing.)

S


tarad

Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:11 pm Post subject: Excuse me DRN.. I grew up in that house!!
DRN wrote:
"SDR:
The Charch house is listed in both the Sidney Robinson book from the '80's and Diane Maddex's recent book. It is not pictured or described other than a listing in each book's roster of built work. The commission came about '45 or '46, and was built by 1950.

"I had the opportunity to tour the house as a friend of a friend was the listing agent for the house when it was sold in 1987. The house has a flat roof with thick redwood fascias similar to those on the house posted earlier. There is a mix of stonework and it is evident that the house was built as an addition/infill of some existing stone ruins that dated from the early 20th century. The interiors were spatially interesting, there were flagstone floors and a lot of mahogany, but the level of detail was thin and what there was was very builderly. It is sited on the brow of a north-northeast facing slope overlooking the Brandywine River valley...in fact it is immediately across the creek from Andrew Wyeth's old mill home and studio on the flood plain below. The views were stunning. The drive is situated on the south side of Brinton's Bridge Road.

"The fit/finish/level of detail is far below that of Dow's work that I saw in Midland, MI, and it was noted by the realtor that the house was "designed from a distance" meaning no on-site architect supervision was provided. Apparently, the Charch's were connected to the nearby DuPont chemical company and some connection through the chemical industry via Dow Chemical brought them to Alden Dow.

"It is my understanding the 1980's purchasers heavily remodeled the interior, added a lot of downslope landscaping and a pool, and subdivided the extensive acreage ( the drive was over 1/2 mile long).

"I have a couple of snapshots somewhere...I will try to find them for posting. If you want to find it on GoogleEarth, the house's coordinates are:

39.883439,-75.613582"

[tarad]
How can you say it is below level?? My parents put the pool in and did extensive work on the house. My mother spent a lot of time and energy in to every detail.. She also had the house put on the historic registry in Pennsylvania. I can't begin to tell you what an amazing home it was to grow up in.. I wouldn't go by what the realtor told you. My mother knows every bit of the history on this house and it was not designed from a distance!! Please get your facts straight. p.s. I have many many photos from every room and all over the landscape. If anyone is really interested. It is truley the most amazing house I have ever had the pleasure of living in. I think it surpasses Falling Water.


egads

Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:06 pm
Hey, post some photos and let us see. You have to understand that our interest here is somewhat academic. And opinionated. It's what this place is for.
Some of these folks are very knowledgeable about a whole range of an architect's work. Stuff you have never seen or even know about. While I'm sure that is was an amazing place to grow up, and you know the home's many overlooked features, saying "it surpasses Fallingwater" won't win you any arguments. Unless of course you have actually lived at the Kaufman's place at Bear Run.


tarad

Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:20 pm Post subject: Excuse me..
egads wrote:
"Hey, post some photos and let us see. You have to understand that our interest here is somewhat academic. And opinionated. It's what this place is for.
Some of these folks are very knowledgeable about a whole range of an architect's work. Stuff you have never seen or even know about. While I'm sure that is was an amazing place to grow up, and you know the home's many overlooked features, saying "it surpasses Fallingwater" won't win you any arguments. Unless of course you have actually lived at the Kaufman's place at Bear Run."


Please don't assume to know my knowledge of architecture. I have been to Fallingwater..and in my academic somewhat opinionated opinion it does surpass it. I could actually care less about winning any arguments by the way. Fallingwater has seen much better days. Just my opinion.


egads

Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:37 pm
Oh, by the way, Dow's Charch house is not being discussed here because it fits the description in the thread title, "Wright done Wrong" It was only mentioned (and then gone off topic about" because of it being attributed to Wright by those who are not educated about such things. It's a real Dow and he should be getting credit for it even among the locals. From what little I know, Dow actually studied with Wright. He created work that did not mimic, but did stick to the Organic principles Wright espoused.

You in fact may be making the same mistake we are discussing with respect to seeing the superficial and not the meat. If the Charch resembles the Realtor link on the first page, and you think that somehow makes it like Fallingwater, well the concept behind each was vastly different and only some details make them seem alike. The whole idea behind this thread is that that is not the case.


peterm

Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:42 pm
tarad-

Welcome to Wright Chat!

Please post the photos you mentioned having or I will gladly post them for you if you like.

Our intent at Wright Chat is to analyze, inform, educate, and yes, criticize on occasion. Please understand that even Wright's (and Dow's...) finest works have been intensely scrutinized here. If you have evidence which supports your claim of it being a strong design, we would love to see it!

I don't think that the subject of Dow came up in order to place him in the context of second rate Taliesin apprentices or architects who were clueless about Wright's principles. On the contrary, it is generally agreed upon here that Dow was indeed a fine architect...

Last edited by peterm on Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:18 pm; edited 1 time in total


myLiebermeisterAGG

Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:53 pm
http://www.abdow.org/index.php/projects/out-of-michigan

There are two small pictures of the Charch house shown. While it would never be confused with FW, it appears to be a good effort by Dow. Dow did some great work, anxious to see more if this could be considered one of them.
_________________
myLiebermeisterAGG


peterm

Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:05 pm
Click on "other states" and you will find the two photos which myLiebermeisterAGG refers to.

This site also has extensive documentation of Dow's work. Scroll down about half way to see Charch: http://www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/dow.htm


tarad

Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:50 pm
peterm wrote:
Click on "other states" and you will find the two photos which myLiebermeisterAGG refers to.

This site also has extensive documentation of Dow's work. Scroll down about half way to see Charch: http://www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/dow.htm

Thank you Peter for the clarification.. I will go through my pictures and post them. The majority of them have family members in them so I would like to get permission to post them.


SDR

Posted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:12 am
From the two pictures I've seen so far, the Charch house looks just dandy. The exterior may have something in common with the Upton house by Paul Schweikher, another Wright-influenced Midwestern architect:

Image

Image


tarad

Posted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:47 am
SDR wrote:
"From the two pictures I've seen so far, the Charch house looks just dandy. The exterior may have something in common with the Upton house by Paul Schweikher, another Wright-influenced Midwestern architect:"


This looks nothing like the Charch house..I think you may have it confused..I don't think cactus would survive outside in this climate either.


SDR

Posted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:04 am
I feel badly that we've offended a new member. I do look forward to seeing your photos of the house, and I'm very glad to hear that Mr Dow had such a positive influence on your life -- that's the goal of every architect, and I'm sure he would be glad to know of it too.

What I saw in the one exterior photo of the Charch residence was a very long multi-board fascia at the top of the ground level, and some nice looking rough-textured masonry, including a broad and tall chimney mass crossing the principal axis of the structure. Those are the elements that reminded me of the Upton house; granted there are many differences, including a much more refined interior in your house. Of course the environment is different as well.

S D R


Roderick Grant

Posted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:07 pm
The site on peterm's post, "Triangle Monernist Houses," does have a single view of Charch (dining room), but the other view identified as Charch (living room) is actually, according to "Other States," the Charles Reed residence in Houston, Texas. Reed is brick; Charch is stone.


SDR

Posted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:00 pm
The site AGG linked http://www.abdow.org/index.php/projects/out-of-michigan shows two photos of the Charch residence -- the same dining room as on Peter's link and this exterior:

Image



DRN

Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:28 pm
tarad:
Welcome to Wright Chat, and I hope you will let me clarify what seems to be a misunderstanding of my comments in an earlier post.

I toured the the Charch house in late July 1987 prior to the house's purchase (presumably by your parents). The house at that time was empty, and was in need of a lot of TLC. My comments relative to the interior are based on that visit alone. I was in college at that time and had recently studied the work of Alden Dow...the Charch house was a beautiful house, with interesting spaces, and dramatically sited, but it lacked much of the interior finish detail (trim, built-in furniture) common to houses by Dow in which he had a more day to day presence during construction. My comment was not a judgement on the quality of the subsequent work your parents put into the property, rather it was noting a visible difference in the Charch house's design and detailing (as seen in 1987) vs. the other works of Dow, mostly located in his Michigan hometown, with which I (and much of the Chat group) are familiar.

It must have been wonderful to live in the Charch house...the views are spectacular and Dow's architecture takes the best advantage of them.

Roderick:
The pic of the dining area is from the Charch house....the furniture was not there when I saw the house, but as you can see the view is great. I liked the way the mirror on the wall enabled those seated at the table looking away from the view to still capture some glimpses.

Last edited by DRN on Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:00 pm; edited 1 time in total


egads

Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:59 pm
I would like to reiterate that the discussion of Charch here is off topic to Wright done wrong.
Charch strikes me as more "Neutra done organic."
It's really silly that the abdow.org site does not identify the photos it shows. I do hope for more photos.

If we had a real moderator, I would suggest separating these threads. One for discussion of this and other works by Dow. And this one could go on with it's real subject. Having to refer someone to the Wright done wrong thread for photos of Dow's work is just wrong.


SDR

Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:33 pm
On my computer (?) when I hold the cursor over a photo on the Dow site, the photo is identified. I assume that the photo I posted above, from that site, is correctly identified as the Charch residence. . . ?


We can open a Dow thread without the aid of an administrator. Shall I do so ? I would copy the Charch-related posts there, and discussion could continue on that topic . . .

S D R


DRN

Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:38 pm
Relocating to a Dow thread make sense....let me know if you need me to help, or when to delete my Charch/Dow posts here.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I would say it isn't necessary to delete posts from the other thread. Anybody ? Is the above transcript sufficient ? I have deleted only the posters bio info from each post, and the redundant quote reposts of the images. . .

S

peterm
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

SDR- Good work...

I was trying to remember which Frank Lloyd Wright house Charch resembles; then it occurred to me that it has something in common with the Karl A. Staley house:

http://my.opera.com/TnGuy/albums/show.dml?id=756356

Thanks David..

KevinW
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Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:41 pm

Post by KevinW »

Darn....trying to view the link from work. But the home office in Toronto has blocked the link, stating it is a website for intimate apparel and swimwear. Now I really want to see it!

.....back to work...
KevinW

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Mmm . . . Nice photos. Mouth-watering, even. She's so long and lovely . . .


S :shock:

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Or . . . you could do your Dow-ing on this thread

http://savewright.org/wright_chat/viewtopic.php?t=5120

where Mr Dow has a dot after his middle initial -- classy !


S

Laurie Virr
Posts: 472
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:32 pm

Post by Laurie Virr »

The Charch house is nothing like the architectural standard of Alden B. Dow’s own home and studio. In fact, none of his other work remotely bears comparison with the latter.

Did he design the home and studio himself, or was there major input from somebody else?

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Some designers are rigorously single-minded, always following their star and never straying far from what works consistently for them -- while others are all over the map, frequently trying different ideas, stumbling sometimes and scoring gold stars at others. Come to think of it, some would say Mr Wright followed such a course, over the span of his career . . . though with a pretty good batting average, owing perhaps to the generosity of his muse ?

S D R

peterm
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Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Laurie Virr-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12342031

Are you going to be all right with this massive storm "Yasi" coming in? Do you live in the path of the cyclone? It looks like Kambah is to the south of the worst of it, but I am concerned nonetheless...

Laurie Virr
Posts: 472
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:32 pm

Post by Laurie Virr »

peterm:

It is very kind of you to show concern with our safety here at Kambah, Australian Capital Territory.

Altho we are experiencing abnormal rainfall, thankfully we are fine. Our lot is high above the valley floor.

Our thoughts are with those some 2500 kilometers to the north, who are in the eye of the cyclone. It is considered that even the buildings designed to the latest code will not be able to withstand 295kph winds, and if this proves to be correct there will be widespread devastation.

I have been intending to contact you regarding another matter, but in the absence of private messaging on this website, I am at a loss as to how so to do.

Paul Ringstrom
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Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

In dining rooms where on wall was all glass Alden Dow often put a mirror on the opposite wall so the people on both sides of the table would have a view outdoors. Very cool idea.

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Laurie:
It has been established that Dow brought the Stein house (1933) commission with him to Taliesin, and that Wright provided critique and suggestions for improvement. The floor plan pre-Taliesin is published next to the plan drawn post-Taliesin in the Diane Maddex monograph. Pics of the completed house are here, scroll down:

http://www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/dow.htm


The concept that Wright may have provided some critique relative to the studio and home is interesting. The design is a drastic departure from Dow's other work of the period. I have long been aware of the differences between the home and studio and Dow's other contemporary and subsequent work but, I had written it off to his almost unlimited budget, and the fact that he was literally living with the design and had ample opportunity to consider even the most minute details over an extended period. Still, given the time period it was conceived and started, input by Wright may not be impossible.

There is no question Dow was a gifted designer though....a look at his houses of the mid-thirties shows a designer working with a textile block system that was arguably an improvement on Wright's, and his forms (possibly influenced a little by Schindler) were actually somewhat prescient of Wright's own Usonian work. A look at Dow's houses post 1933, but pre 1936-7 (Wright/ Herbert Jacobs) bears this out.

egads
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Location: Long Beach CA

Post by egads »

The fireplace photo, posted alongside the dining room one for Charch is also posted with the 1958 Charles F. Reed house in Texas. (on the Triangle Modernist site linked just above) I wonder which house it's really in?

In any case, that fireplace does have a Schindler vibe to me.
Last edited by egads on Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Our correspondent tarad, who would seem to be the nearest thing we have to an expert on the Charch residence, among the present group, has been mum on the matter of which (if any) of the photos labeled "Charch" are in fact photos of the house -- despite repeated cues.

I like DRN's estimate of Dow's career as he sees it, above. I am not especially familiar with that career in its entirety, however . . .

Errors in the spelling of dining, found here and elsewhere on the board this morning, inspire me to provide a correction.

S D R

DRN
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Post by DRN »

egads:
Based on my recollections, I'm confident that there are two pictures of the Charch house on links posted above:

1. the exterior shot with the rough fieldstone chimneys and multi-board fascia
2. the dining area shot with the rolling country view and the mirror wall

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