There is no doubt, to those of us who have walked through them, that Dow's Usonians preceded and inspired Wright's versions. This topic has not been explored by any of Wright's biographers.DRN wrote: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/Jacobs I) bears this out.
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Desert concrete overhead ? Why ? To carry out a misguided concept that "the whole thing should be made of the same stuff" ?
I have the same reservations about the Usonian Automatic roofs -- though the aesthetic effect on the interior may prove satisfactory and worth the effort and (to me) illogic of the construction.
S D R
One does not quibble about Wright's concealment of structure; the Robie dining chair is not less lovely or honest because its joinery is concealed (as contrasted to, say, a Stickley bookshelf where the construction becomes part of the visual effect). But when the architect resorts to a form of fakery in order to play out a theme, a theme in which the aesthetic is literally built of the structural components -- in this case, a form of textile block ? -- then I think the architect has lost his way to some extent.
Millard and Storer, et al, combine block and timber in a wholesome and delightful -- and not incidentally time-honored -- way; the Usonian Automatics might represent a digression in this regard -- though they may represent an advancement in (faked) "continuity" ?
S D R
The reason FLW gave for going that route was to have the same material used throughtout the house. A frame roof would be easier, cheaper and less prone to conk one on the head during an earthquake.
S D R
Paul Ringstrom wrote:DRN wrote: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/Jacobs I) bears this out.
"There is no doubt, to those of us who have walked through them, that Dow's Usonians preceded and inspired Wright's versions. This topic has not been explored by any of Wright's biographers."[/quote]
1934 was an amazingly productive year for Alden Dow (and yes, these houses were very Usonianesque...)
Timeline (with many omissions, especially the textile block houses):
1922-- R.M. Schindler-- Kings Road House
1933-- Frank Lloyd Wright-- Malcolm Willey House (Built 1934...)
1933-- Dow at Taliesin
1934-- Alden Dow--
"Shanty House" (Alden Dow House)
1935-- Frank Lloyd Wright--
1936-- Frank Lloyd Wright-- Jacobs House
My point would have been that a composite reinforced wall and a (ditto) ceiling experience radically different stresses; the ceiling would have to incorporate a slab while the wall would not. Also, we must distinguish between the early and the later block techniques, to the extent that they differ in detail. I am aware that the textile block wall underwent refinement and perhaps even re-thinking during the course of its use in the four LA houses. What sort of roofs does Freeman possess ? The other three houses have plank and beam roofs -- don't they ?
It's clear the rebar and concrete do all the heavy lifting. Even though the block provides a channel for rebar, the coffered portion with minimal density is along for the aesthetic ride. You can also see in the upper right detail there is wrapped rebar connecting the structural elements into a tensile system. Note the rebar at the top of the 4" slab, reducing deflection. The most interesting aspect is the apparently successful roof slab connection to the walls. They would appear to be in considerable compression. Location and folding of walls below most likely spreads roof forces around. Also, insulating concrete is usually a lighter weight mixture than typical structural concrete.
Not necessarily; a 4" slab is not unusual for floors, and roof loads are generally lower. The psi rating can also vary depending on the design.SDR wrote:Thanks for that, Jim.
Where insulating concrete is used in the roof span, it would be in compression, I take it. Would its lower density require a correspondingly greater slab thickness to do the job ?