Florida Southern Usonian Gets State Funding

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michaelmaguire
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Location: Lakeland, Florida
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Florida Southern Usonian Gets State Funding

Post by michaelmaguire »

TALLAHASSEE | Two long-sought projects involving Frank Lloyd Wright designs at Florida Southern College in Lakeland were funded over the weekend as legislative leaders ironed out final differences between the Florida House and Senate budgets.

READ MORE HERE

www.BuildingTheUsonianHouse.com/news.html

Matt
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:24 am

Post by Matt »

I still can't fathom how that little Usonian house is costing $2 million. Someone is pocketing a lot of cash on that deal.

Unbrook
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Location: Lakewood, Ohio

Usonian House

Post by Unbrook »

I guess I haven't followed the whole story of the construction of the Usonian.
Did Mr. Wright design it for this particular site?

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

michaelmaguire,
Please let us know when you see signs of the construction resuming. Also, see if you can then find out the new projected completion date. -Thanks

Unbrook,
This building was designed, by Wright, for the FSC Campus as Faculty Housing.

Matt,
I agree. Using very rough figures this comes out to well over $1,000/sf.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

DRN
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

Building this isn't an inexpensive proposition considering that nearly every component is custom made, relatively expensive to obtain, given the size of the house there is litte economy of scale, the construction is labor intensive, and the workmanship appears to be first rate (the perf blocks are exquisite). The labor rates, considering state involvement, may be subject to the Davis Bacon Act (prevailing wages), and could pump up costs as well.

Over $1000/SF is steep. I thought $600 or $700/SF would have been the price.

Matt
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:24 am

Post by Matt »

I'm sure the quality of the building is good....for that price how could it not be. I'm not saying it's stupid to spend $2M on that particular visitor center....I'm saying it's stupid to spend $2M on any visitor center.

Wouldn't it have been a more worthwhile effort to build a very affordable center, pushing technology to lower prices, and let that serve as an inspiration for new building systems? Rather than spend a fortune making a mockery of a "low cost" Wright design?

jmcnally
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Post by jmcnally »

I don't know the cost of construction, but two lots were also acquired for the project. DRN is correct about the unique craftsmanship involved.

As for labor, you might be surprised how few people work the job site at any given hour. The most I have ever seen has been around 5.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I would have though it worth almost any price to have a newly-created example of a first-rate and more-unique-than-most Wright design, where every modern improvement has been incorporated without ruffling the feathers of the original design in the least. (For my money, this will be the best Wright design on the campus, hands down; I'm not the biggest fan of the FSC work, on the whole.)

This project will probably stand as a model for any subsequent effort to re-create Wright. The whole affair seems to have been masterfully conceived and handled -- judging solely by the resulting product. The right people seem to have been selected, and the necessary monies found.

SDR

jmcnally
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Post by jmcnally »

When you consider how much money is spent to stabilize existing structures, I agree that $2 million (if that is indeed the pricetag) is a worthwhile investment. I have been most impressed by the ability to see a Wright building being built (over time), and Michael's website has been very good at describing the process rather than just focusing (as I generally do) on the aesthetics.

Matt
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:24 am

Post by Matt »

I'd love to study the budget of this house and see where the money went. My fear is that the price-tag will actually discourage anyone from attempting to build a FLW design.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

No one should think they can do justice to a 50+ year old Wright design on the cheap. It just won't happen, and (like so many other exotic pursuits) it's probably a rich man's game. It's more like building a Lamborghini than a Toyota, for good reason: A one-of-a-kind object is always more expensive per pound than a high-production one, even if they perform essentially the same function. I have little doubt that the money was well (i.e., honestly) spent, in this case . . .

SDR

peterm
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Post by peterm »

One needs to factor in the lessons of history. Every slight failure of the "original" has been carefully considered and avoided. There is little room for error in such an endeavor.

Imagine the original "budget" of a Gothic cathedral! There is no way that with all of our technological knowhow and dollars that Chartres could be built now. We should be happy that it is still possible with a Wright design...

The restoration of Mies' Tugendhat cost a fortune. The cost of building this small Usonian does not seem to be out of proportion, in my opinion...

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

There can be no "economies of scale" in a bespoke design.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

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

Post by SDR »

Exactly. The only economies come from selection of material, duplication/standardization of parts, and off-site milling/fabrication. CMUs are cheap, ditto knotty softwoods, and labor (block-laying) can be accomplished by the owner. I wonder which is cheaper: concrete slab with finished surface and buried heating, or wood floor construction with under-floor heat.

SDR

pharding
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Post by pharding »

I am sure that the quoted number includes soft costs, site development, contingencies, furniture, fixtures, equipment, security system, telecommunications equipment, IT equipment, etc. These costs are not included in cost per square foot numbers. Although given the small size of the building the real cost per square foot is somewhat high, but not likely $1,000 per square foot.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

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