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How does the Foundation view replicas such as this? My late father was very enamored with the Goetsch-Winckler Usonian and once shared his pipe dream to me of building an exact copy of it, possibly mirror image, with the bedroom next to the living room altered to become the chambers (complete with horizontal board and batten swell shades) for a salvaged theatre organ whose console would be located in the low ceiling portion of the living room...I do miss him.
We can start by looking at Wright's plan for the Alvin Miller residence:
This is the drawing which Wright chose to publish in "The Natural House." Note that, though the river view oriented the house
to the northeast rather than the ideal southeast exposure (of the principal space) Wright maintains the 30-60 degree orientation
on the page -- and the earth. Perhaps the site dictated that orientation.
Here's the plan rotated to match the one published on the site linked above.
And here's the plan of the new house -- which I am calling Jensen/Wilson, after its owner and its architect.
The caption is inaccurate; this is presumably the plan of the new house. Thus we have the opportunity to
compare the two plans, at nearly the same scale (it is unclear whether Mr Wilson chose the same module
as did Mr Wright; the Miller house has a module of 54", or 4'-6").
Here's an exterior view provided on the linked site; the following four photos are from the same source. The
two jarring elements are (a) the stone wall in the foreground, canted in plan, and (b) the trio of windows with
their prosaic (and separated) sills. Looking at Wright's plan we see only an orthogonal array of walls and
landscape elements. Only the natural outline of the river-front escapes the architect's guiding hand.
Another instance of "naturalism" in the landscape:
Moving inside, we have cabinetry in the hall (gallery ?) which, despite being of conventional (that is, unWrightian) half-overlay, face-frame construction, appears to have piano hinges on the doors ! This would be forgivable if not for the fact that in this application the hinges prevent the doors from opening more than 90 degrees or so -- not an ideal situation, especially in a confined space.
If we're going to ape the architect, let's go all the way . . .
A bathroom. Didn't Mr Wright say "Three lines where one would do, is obscene" ?
Maybe owner and architect were making a comment of some kind.
But when all is said and done, it's still a thrill to see this particular concoction erected anew:
Something might be said about the stonemasonry in evidence in the Jensen/Wilson house. For comparison,
we have three nice photos of the Miller house, from the camera of Chat member Mike Shuck.
Compare the stonework there, with this final shot of the Jensen/Wilson house. Yes, the stonework at Miller varies from place to place (compare the first two photos) and we could pick our favorite spot (I vote for the first example, hands down) -- but the corners tell the tale: note that everywhere your eye comes to the end of a wall, the terminal edge is a more or less perfect vertical line. I wish the same could be said of the edges of this fireplace (yes, the left edge bulges because of the wide-angle camera used). Mr Wright's random ashlar stonework is rough in texture but carefully tailored as to volume. It is decidedly not "rustic."
I wonder how a potential homeowner would know what to look for in an architect when he wished to recreate -- or at lease invoke -- the work of a past master. I can imagine a number of unsatisfactory scenarios -- starting with flat refusal to take on the project ! A well-informed client would be the best guarantee of success, I suppose.
Roderick: you are so right.
He once replied to someone's newspaper criticism of the Taliesin program, writing in response how impressed he was by always finding someone doing maintenance work.
Welcome to Wright Chat, we're glad to have you here.
No apologies necessary. You and your architect appear to have done a very nice job of adapting a FLW Usonian plan to work with today's lifestyles and building codes. Congrats to both you and your architect, and here's hoping that you and your fiancee are able to spend many enjoyable years together looking out over the mighty Mississippi River from your beautiful home. We should all be so lucky.