House on the Mesa

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Tom
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by Tom »

Gheeze, you could land a 747 down the main hall of this house.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by SDR »

The 1932 MoMA exhibition is the occasion Wright scholars generally come to first when discussing the architect's running battle with the Internationalists. Fallingwater is a later manifestation, for some.

I can't comment on the House on the Mesa as a precursor to Fallingwater; the stepped window detail made its appearance, sixteen years later, at the Walker house.

Image
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This graphic is one which I have not seen published elsewhere. The cantilevering is just hinted at; the novel metallic screening and the fenestration are emphasized.


H o m o s e x u a l i t y wasn't invented in the 'sixties; gays have been found in the arts, and in every other trade and profession, since the dawn of mankind . . .

S

Tom
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by Tom »

Thanks for posting those images.
Ive never really looked that hard at this building.
I'm not used to this kind of grandiose orthognal scale in a Wright house.
(But I've only seen one fuzzy section.)
Of course the cantilevering really interests me.
I think it's Hitchcock who says the cantilever over the pool is 40ft. excluding the copper extension.
The entire structural complex of the second level living room - again another "mystery"

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

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by SDR »

Image

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The unbuilt house for Stanley Marcus (Dallas, 1935) has the stepped fenestration and an even more surprising scheme for suspended screening:

Image

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SDR
Posts: 19607
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by SDR »

A fourth project which included the stepped glazing was a large house for Stuart Haldorn,
for Carmel, CA, four years before the Walker house there:

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All illustrations above © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Roderick Grant
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Re: House on the Mesa

Post by Roderick Grant »

The connection between FLW and the European modernists dates at least as far back as the project for National Life Insurance of 1924 ... other than stepped windows and extravagant cantilevers.

Tom
Posts: 3209
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by Tom »

The National Life building is one of my favorites. Do you have a recommendation to learn about the European link with that building. Or explain it yourself - even better.

From the drawings posted of the Mesa House here are some observations.
The interior perspective of the livingroom is taken looking toward the pool; the main wall facing the viewer leads out to the pool and under the ginormous 40ft cantilever.
That wall is divided in half horizontally. The bottom of the cantilever to the pool begins at that halfway point.
The panels above, the central panel and the panel to the left are sold walls.
Thay must act structurally for the cantilevers, as counterbalance of some sort.
The cantilevers for the livingroom ceiling rest on top of them of these panels and extend in the opposite direction of the pool.
Would imagine some sort of steel tying down the supported ends might extend down through those cilumns and piers maybe even as far as the foundation, but that's just a guest.
Last edited by Tom on Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by Roderick Grant »

Tom, the first time National Life Insurance was published was in the October 1928 issue of Architectural Record, "In the Cause of Architecture, VIII: Sheet Metal and a Modern Instance." I don't know how available AR was in Europe in those days, but considering how influential Ausgefurtebauten was in 1910, I'm sure European architects were aware of what was going on in the USA. The article included a plan, section, perspective and extensive text on the structure of the thing.

Tom
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by Tom »

Looking at this some more I'm pretty sure that the two big beams of the living room roof are simply supported and not cantilever beams.
Seems that there is a column on each side at the top of the monumental stair that ascends to the living room on the north side.
These columns extend to the roof and catch the beams coming from the south side (pool side).
You can see these columns in plan, but they are more clearly seen and understood from the model shot in Figure 11
of the Old Dominion article by Robert Wojitwicz (sp?) linked above.

I wonder why he chose to put the beams above the roof and not make them a part of the living room interior?
Wonder what he was thinking in terms of the finish of that ceiling as he designed it? Gold?

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by SDR »

I don't see posts beyond the vast fin-like piers that support the cantilevered roof; I don't see them on a plan, or on the elevations, or on this model: https://d3i71xaburhd42.cloudfront.net/d ... re11-1.png

What am I missing ?

S

Tom
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by Tom »

Judging from what you said above I'm not sure you are missing anything. This could be merely a language problem.

The shot of the model you post (Figure 11) shows two piers or columns rising inside the livingroom in line with the beams.
You can see them clearly through the grid of the stepped curtain "screen" wall.
They are not located beyond the huge fin like beams, they are located directly under the northern end of those beams.
The roof is cantilevered from the beams but the beams themselves I think are simply supported and this was my point.
Could be wrong of course, but don't think so.
You can see the location of those supporting columns in plan too.
They are on either side of the main stair where the main stair reaches the living room.
They can also be seen vaguely in that fuzzy section (Figure 23). They match the pair visible in the interior perspective.
They are smooth columns half way up and then transition to a block type pattern for a capital.

What do you think the unit grid dimensions are?
I counted 95 squares down the loggia (runway) from the entry door to the master bedroom door.

Wright describes the curtains as woven from metal threads.

Tom
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Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by Tom »

The roof of the loggia/runway is transparent like the trellis of FW on the east side of the living room.
Walking down the loggia you would see the living room exterior above you.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by SDR »

Here are the drawings, enlarged; the major cantilevered canopy over the swimming pool will be unambiguous at this scale---if still mysterious in its structure. The plan module or grid appears to be 6 feet, judging by the beds on the plan.


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The cantilevered canopy extends from the mid-height beltline of the room. The beams support it from above.


Image

The minor piers between them do nothing for the cantilever---though they could, if they served as fulcrums for a pair of secondary beams spanning the depth of the living room well below the ceiling . . .

Image
Image

Tom
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Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by Tom »

These diagrams clarify and nail down what's going on.
The possibility of the secondary minor cantilever is pretty cool.
- will take a look at that.

Who goes in and out of their pool from their living room?
Steps down to water from living room.

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: House on the Mesa

Post by Roderick Grant »

Like the Cathedral for a Million People and the Mile High Illinois, I believe House on the Mesa was a sketch that had more to do with drama for the MoMA exhibition than as a possible scheme to be built. As such, FLW might as well have kept that extravagant cantilever elevated with balloons. It's as fantastical as a landscape by Maxfield Parrish or a flock of birds by M. C. Escher.

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