The Allan and Arline Paul House, by Aaron Green...For Sale.

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Post by KevinW »

My wife reminds me that the correct spelling of Mrs. Paul's name is Arline. FYI.

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Post by SDR »

Now that's how you do a California "ranch" house -- that, and no other.

Too lovely for words. The owners seem to have exercised the discipline that's needed not to acquire oily fingermarks on the redwood touch-latch cabinet doors (hint: use knuckles only, not fingertips; did they ask their architect ?).

I had to look long and hard to find the P-lam countertops (kitchen counters in the guest cabin). Subtlety everywhere. There's always some detail or effect in the apprentices' work, never explored by Mr Wright himself, it seems; in this case, it might be the cantilevered beam at the corner of the living room -- echoed (perhaps minus cantilever) in the bedrooms . . .


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Post by m.perrino »

" us no harm " A nice tribute by FLW, who we all know was not always as kind or generous.

What a tribute to Aaron Green.


Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »

For those who have studied the Architecture of Aaron Green, this house is a step with regard to how his detailing evolved thru’out his career. To a far greater degree than was the case with most of the other apprentices, he was his own man: he interpreted the tenets of an Organic Architecture without borrowing the forms of others. I willingly concede that, as a young architect attempting to find my way, the Architecture of Aaron Green influenced me to a greater extent than any other.

Highly intelligent, generous, and with exquisite manners, he was an ideal mentor for any young architect.

I subscribe to the view expressed by peterm with regard to the merits of the Paul and Hanna houses. Is that view sacrilegious, or was the latter really that significant? It, and the Bazett house, were exercises in the use of the 60/30 module on training wheels. By the time he accepted the commissions for the Palmer and Dobkins houses, Frank Lloyd Wright had mastered the module, but the earlier Californian efforts pale in comparison in every degree.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Bazett is superior to Hanna, which is just a bit over the top, overly complex, lacking clarity. It is sublime simplicity that gives the Paul House its charm. Same is true of Bazett, which is Paul's equal. But would Paul -- or Bazett, or Auldbrass -- have been possible without Hanna, a major template for FLW's late work? I doubt it.

In the March 1938 issue of Pencil Points, Talbot Hamlin, one of the most prescient of architecture critics, and a staunch supporter of FLW, was unsparing in his criticism of Hanna's odd geometry, but he concluded:

"Yet the house is beautiful, poetic. There is a character to the hexagonal elements that has an imagination-stimulating quality which right angles do not produce. The softened angles at the corners are agreeable. There is a character of variety, of change, of invitation around corners that is endlessly fascinating. And, above all, there is an extraordinary definiteness of rhythm...."

This at a time when nothing like Hanna had ever been seen before. Hanna was FLW's point of departure for all the non-orthogonal designs of his late career. Flawed, perhaps, but like Ennis, an idea carried to its ultimate expression, even stretched beyond sensibility, from which he was able to advance ideas which sent residential architecture on new paths. Aaron Green understood FLW's work better than most, perhaps equaled only by Beharka and Hill. The lyric simplicity of Paul, as little as it may seem to owe to Hanna, is a direct descendant of that almost rococo work of genius.

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Post by peterm »

Agreed. Well said...

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Roderick Grant wrote:Perfection. I especially like the hall of shoji.
There is a house in Wisconsin by John Randal McDonald that also uses shoji screens in the hallway for closet doors (lit from behind) to great effect. The small bedrooms that lined the hallway were accessed by large sliding doors that formed the whole wall and when opened enlarged the small space very similarly to the Paul House.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

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Post by SDR »

The non-orthogonal board ceilings in the Paul house -- reading like the (usually concealed) common diagonal sheathing of old, perhaps -- becomes, for Aaron, another tool in the architectural tool-box. The direction of the boards furthers the play of form and space as it aligns itself with one or another of the diagonally-placed walls below -- while politely declining to become a look-at-me decorative element (in re the elaborate hexagonal ceilings of Bell/Feldman and Wall) . . .


Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »

Roderick Grant:

With regard to the Hanna house we are not so far apart as may initially appear the case. I wrote that in the design of the Hanna and Bazett houses, Frank Lloyd Wright using the 60/30 module was on training wheels. You write that the Hanna house was Frank Lloyd Wright’s point of departure for all the non-orthogonal designs of his late career.

I suggest that the impetus for the architect exploring new forms originated in the treatment he received from Henry Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson in 1932, and their exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art titled, ‘The International Style’.

At Fallingwater he was able to trounce them at their own game, but altho that stupendous achievement must have given him immense satisfaction, of itself it was not enough for him to consider he had settled old scores.

Thru’out his career he had always sought freedom in planning, and after the house in Pennsylvania, by means of which I have no knowledge, he alighted on the hexagonal module. During the Prairie house period he had employed octagons on occasion, and with the Lake Tahoe project he had turned the rectilinear plan forms thru 45˚.

The Bazett house is an improvement on the design for the Hanna’s, but it was some years later before he realized the full potential of the 60/30 triangle, which of course is derived from the hexagon. The latter is a fussy design, that for the Bazett house much cleaner, altho my reading of the details is that he was still struggling to come to full terms with the forms. Three years later, with the Vigo Sundt project, he embraced the 60˚ angle in addition to the 120˚, and after the Carl Wall house he was on his way to create the glories of those for William and Mary Palmer and John and Syd Dobkins.

I grant the affinity between the Bazett and Paul houses, but have difficulty in accepting that the Hanna residence is of great significance because it was the first. How much emphasis are we to accord a child’s first steps when later in life he becomes an Olympic champion?

If FLLW had not embraced the 60/30 module, all would not necessarily have been lost for ever. He was not above borrowing the ideas of others, and almost always improved on them. In 1941 Bruce Goff designed ‘Triaero’. Having been made aware of this, it is inconceivable that Frank Lloyd Wright would not have picked up that ball and run with it.

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Post by DRN »

A discussion about a hexagonal unit Usonian designed by Cornelia Brierly for her aunts in the suburbs of Pittsburgh (it was constructed ca.1940) is found here: ... t=brierley

I recall reading an essay in FLLW Quarterly or another source that Cornelia had experimented with the hex unit in the '30's and that it drew Wright's curiosity. He apparently adopted it for a few designs, but within the drafting room often refered to the hex as "Cornelia's Unit".

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

We're not far apart at all. "Training wheels" is an accurate term for Hanna, which is basically what I said. When FLW was exploring new ideas, he tended not to place limitations on his expressions. That's why the massive chimney in Burlingham floats in midair. An example of a trend that didn't get beyond the drafting table is Gladney, rococo on a Bavarian scale. Hanna is similarly fulsome in its detailing. Everywhere one looks, there is busyness. To mess with Salieri: "Too many lines! Too many lines!" But where we may part is that I would still say, all things considered, Hanna is a major masterpiece in its own right, because it is a complete work, every detail well thought out. Try to improve it by deleting the excess. You can't. Wright would have done Bavaria proud.

I also disagree with connecting Hanna in any way to the Internationalist movement. Kaufmann, yes, but not Hanna. No one in Europe produced anything even vaguely resembling Hanna, literally or metaphorically. That FLW was searching for something new, even after Willey, traces back to the end of the Oak Park era, before international was capitalized.

(You will have to expand on the "Triaero" argument. I don't get it. Is that a connection to Sundt?)

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Post by SDR »



Gladney I


Gladney II

Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »


In my previous post I was not attempting to connect the Hanna house with the International Style. Quite the reverse. The point I attempted to make, obviously unsuccessfully, was that, Frank Lloyd Wright, having thwarted by the design and construction of Fallingwater, the aim of Henry Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson to consign his Architecture to history, then went on to explore a new way of defining space, by use of, ultimately, the 60/30 triangle. I concur that he was searching for a new expression for Architecture from 1909. He found part of it whilst living at Fiesole, but it was really a life long exploration.

This later exploration, that of the mid to late 1930’s, would distinguish for all time his Architecture from that of his rivals, the designs of whom never deviated from the orthogonal, with all its limitations.

The great advantage of the 60/30 module is that in planning one is afforded a third dimension, as opposed to the two available with an orthogonal grid. It is possible to subtly open a space, or shield it in a gentle way, a circumstance more appropriate to human movement than the right angle could ever be.

It is a fact that with the Hanna design Frank Lloyd Wright freed the space, but the indoor/outdoor relationship was marred by all those dreadful muntins that disfigure the glazing. As you write, way over the top.

By the time he approached the design of the Sidney Bazett house he had dispensed with the muntins and created a much greater openness to the outside as a consequence, albeit in a much smaller house.

Is every detail of the Hanna house, as you claim, well thought out? The living room fireplace is a disaster. Perhaps it is its chosen location that is at fault? The height of the fireplace lintel is beautifully scaled to that of the room, but the width available results in the logs having to be set vertically, with all the unfortunate results that such placement entails. It is not practical.

The Sidney Bazett house fireplace is a similar form, but for some reason appears to be more appropriate. Is the vertical log placement mandatory there also?

The reference to ‘Triaero’ relates to the triangular form that Bruce Goff adopted for the ground plan and structure of the Bartman house.

Late in life Frank Lloyd Wright claimed that almost everybody who used non-orthogonal ground plan forms was guilty of plagiarizing his Architecture. as tho he had a exclusive proprietary interest in the triangle, pentagon and hexagon. One person he did not sanction in this regard was Bruce Goff.

Jeff Myers
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Post by Jeff Myers »

Bruce Goff was what Wright wanted to aim for in his geometric designs.
However Goff seemed to make the designs flamboyant whereas Wright
was more refined and practical.
Goff did design prairie houses similar to Wright's designs, but he also
was branching into geometric forms like that of Boston Avenue UMC, and
Tulsa Club, as some examples I can think of. I was reading some Goff
material yesterday and found some interesting designs he drew. Goff
was doing these geometric houses in the 20's as case studies Wright
didn't start till the 30's.
I think Wright respected Goff in many fashions and we all know Goff
admired Wright.

Though Goff has more designs here in Tulsa than Wright you can see
the influence it left not only in Tulsa but internationally as well. People
just didn't want a triangular house, or a hexagonal house, or round. Wright
was more respecting to the intentions of Geometry being in the design
but remained elegant, it was not just 1 triangle,hexagon,ect. it was
many that formed the building. The 30/60 plans are something
that I'd love to see become popular, then again the majority of
people have always loved the boxy. We seem to have gone into
the box again but we are digging ourselves out and dusting it off
here in the coming years. Wright was ahead of his time,some say,
but really are we just making Wright's idea more commonplace now
that we are accepting of his ideology along with his contemporaries?
Wright has influenced my designs for years now, but I don't copy what
he designed. I go in and take the ideology and plug it into a design.

Sorry to go off the subject of thread. Just interesting facts and questions
I have found that could be a thread topic.
Jeff T

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Post by SDR »

Looking for precedents, in Wright's work, of his equilateral-triangle-derived plans of the later 'thirties and beyond, we find that, in 1929, all of the following projects (none realized) were based on that geometry:

San Marcos in the Desert
Cudney residence
San Marcos Water Gardens
Richard Lloyd Jones house (first scheme)

Robert L Sweeney illustrates all of these schemes in his Wright in Hollywood (1994, MIT).

Last edited by SDR on Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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