Kraus home s340 1951 Kirkwood MO 3/11

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

Every one of these, the best-sited, best-designed, and best-executed Usonians, was clearly a labor of love for all concerned. When we think that the owners, the builders, and even the architect were all breaking new ground with structures like these, it's a testament to faith as well as to craft -- diving headlong into the unknown, and no doubt relishing the relief and revelation of a successful outcome . . .

SDR

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

I was disappointed to see the condition of the exterior red concrete mats. Everything else looked tip-top (thanks to John Eifler).

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

My only quibble with this design is the art glass (done by the client). While the pattern is appropriate to the overall design of the house and is well executed, art glass in Usonian doesn't quit fit.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I agree. I wonder how much of that is simply our expectation based on knowing the history. It's clear that the pattern used by Mr Kraus seems derived from Prairie-period Wright art glass -- which doesn't objectively clash with the geometries of this Usonian house. Maybe it has more to do with the narrow cames of the art glass, and the turn-of-the-century period from which they come -- as opposed to the thicker divisions of the Usonian wooden perfs ?

SDR

peterm
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Post by peterm »

The typical Usonian is generally sited on a larger piece of land in a semi-rural setting. The prairie art glass served the important function of ensuring privacy in the city and urban suburbs which became a non-existent problem to solve in more isolated houses like Kraus.

When Wright wanted even more geometric complexity in a Usonian he might add it in a free form colorful decorative wood screen or in the repetitive patterns of the perforated panels placed over clerestories.

I think the perfs replaced the art glass...

Though I believe in the case of Kraus, (like Lamberson) there are no perfs...

SDR
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Post by SDR »

That makes sense. A difference, then, between art glass and wooden perfs is that the latter are seldom located where they would provide privacy -- fitting for their rural settings ?

I imagine that the art glass panels serve their screening function as much through the broken reflections of daylight as by the relatively scant amount of translucent or opaque glass they contain ? At least that is what shows often in photographs.

S

lang
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Post by lang »

So, was Wright's art glass an element he left behind with the prarie school? Did he approve of Kraus's work or was it added after his death?

hypnoraygun
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Post by hypnoraygun »

lang wrote:So, was Wright's art glass an element he left behind with the prarie school? Did he approve of Kraus's work or was it added after his death?
I'm not 100% sure on the art glass time period.. But the Kraus house did have the windows installed at the time it was built. Wright gave his blessing for Russell Kraus to design the windows. Kraus was a very talented artist.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I have a little trouble accepting the notion that Wright would have designed a house with some art-glass windows and some plain glass. As far as I can see he never did this in the Prairie period -- unless there are a couple of budget houses where this might be the case. In the LA work, Ennis breaks the rule with a combination of plain horizontal muntins (on the module) in most sash, with some leaded glass in a few major panels -- in the architect's drawings, which were ignored on this point.

By 1930 art glass no longer appeared in Wright's work. Pierced block, and/or patterned muntin work, later replaced by the cut-out perfs, took the place of leaded glass from then on.

Consistency was a prime tenet of his aesthetic (as I believe it should be, for any architect). There was no "fancy front and plain back." As such, the blessing he may have given to client Kraus to install a few of his (Kraus') creations inside the french-door glass of his new house was strictly an indulgence -- as I see it.


SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The last FLW-designed art glass is Hollyhock. The windows at Ennis were to have been wood mullioned; the leaded windows were designed by an employee of Judson Studios in Pasadena, where they were fabricated. I've heard that FLW signed off on them, but I don't know if that can be proved. By the time the window treatment was done, FLW had written Mabel Ennis' house off, and spoke unkindly of her thereafter.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Image

Image

Drawings reproduced in Robt L Sweeney, "Wright in Hollywood"

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Image Storer -- Ploch photo pub. 1993

Image Storer -- Korab photo pub. 1996

Can anybody describe what is going on here ? Half of each strip of glass is coated with something that doesn't show from inside ? Or, removed prior to 1996 ?

SDR

Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

The concentric squares on the Storer windows are some kind of applied metal decoration. They were Wright's design, but I don't think they were ever in place until the Silver restoration.

Wright (or maybe Masselink) designed leaded glass for the Greek Orthodox church in the late 50s, but the church didn't use the designs. The guide explained that a church depends on donors for its windows, and these tend to be the wealthier, thus older, thus more conservative congregants. Wright had been a hard-enough sell, and his windows were an impossible sell.

Wrighter
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Post by Wrighter »

According to "New World Odyssey: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and FLW," Masselink designed stained glass for the windows. An illustration on page 70 shows 4 window designs, one for each gospel writer. They are quite lovely, up to Masselink's usual high standards. They would have been more appropriate than the windows installed later.

According to the text, the windows were a victim first of waning budgets, and second of a deteriorating relationship between clients and architect(s) that had developed over time.

I quickly skimmed, but the book discusses post-construction problems, including trouble with asbestos insulation inside and the blue tiles outside the dome. I'm eliding a complicated narrative here, but relations between the parish council and Taliesin had suffered by the mid 1970's. A letter was sent in 1976 apparently inquiring about the Masselink designs. Taliesin says it never received the letter, with WWPeters in particular insisting he would have moved "heaven and earth" to get Masselink's windows installed.

I get the impression that even if the letter had received a response, it's not certain that anything coming from Taliesin at that time would have received the go-ahead from the parish council.

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