Weltzheimer Landscape Plan

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Unbrook
Posts: 706
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:19 am
Location: Lakewood, Ohio

Weltzheimer Landscape Plan

Post by Unbrook »

On the landscape plan for the Weltzheimer house is an area between the access street and the house itself which is labeled "Playspace". Are there other Wright houses (especially the Usonians) which have this designation? The Weltzheimer's had three children when the house was designed. The eldest was a son (17), then a daughter (13), and then another daughter, so the idea of a playspace was a necessity. I have never heard of this designation for any other house and would welcome input from others.

dtc
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Post by dtc »

"Playspace" on the Weltzheimer landscape plan was an attempt to personalize his design for the client. No doubt the children would appreciate their own play area.

As for the Dobkins...their only child was away attending medical school when the home was being built in 1954. No need for a "Playspace", but he designated "Evergreen area", "Pin oaks", "Apple orchard" and "Vegetable Garden" which to my knowledge was never planted in the 42 years that they lived there.
I always questioned if the Dobkins had a sincere interest in gardening or did Wright want all his clients to live in their homes as he did at Taliesin.
Perhaps they would have installed the garden if they had a half dozen or so apprentices living on their property.

dtc
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Post by dtc »

Unbrook...The "Playspace" was it located on the public side of the house or the private side? Perhaps at the tail end of the bedroom wing?

Unbrook
Posts: 706
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:19 am
Location: Lakewood, Ohio

Weltzheimer Playspace

Post by Unbrook »

The "Playspace" area is located to the south of the house, between the lawn proper and the orchard near the road. Technically this is the public side of the house as it faces Morgan Street and the driveway, but in actuallity it is the private side because the bedrooms and living room open onto this space.

In a way Wright has altered the sociologic aspects of the house-lessening the hierachy between public and private. At Weltzheimer, there was no backyard to speak of-as the house sits towards the back of the property.
The exisitng condition is confusing. In the 60's the private/public relationship was altered. Access to the house was developed from the north-allowing the southern part of the property to be the "backyard".
This was not Mr. Wright's intent.

Palli
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:20 pm
Location: Oberlin, Ohio

Post by Palli »

I think I have noticed an annotation for childrens' play areas only 2-3 times as I scoured published drawings but it was recorded on paper notes so I can't confirm the houses easily now. I'll look for it.
Note too that the modernist mansion Wingspread has the Children Wing with an adjacent lawn.
The Weltzheimer family visited Taliesin.
I wonder if there was a correlation between clients who introduced their children to Taliesin & Wright and the appearance on landscape plans. There are so fewer Landscape plans in the references.
Did neighborhood plans like Okemos & Pleasantville Usonia mark playspaces.
I think not, but I always wondered if Wright knew of Denmark's landscape architect C. Th. Sørensen pioneered "Adventure Playgrounds" or Lady Allen in England who lobbied for "Junk Playgrounds" after WWII?
The Perf Project

Reidy
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Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

Hollyhock House has a fully-enclosed "playporch" off the child's bedroom. See #29 and #30 here: http://hollyhockhouse.net/?page_id=55&pid=43

Unbrook
Posts: 706
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Location: Lakewood, Ohio

Playspace

Post by Unbrook »

The Westcott House has a room just off the front hall that is refered to on the tours as the children's playroom, but my question is about exterior spaces labeled Playspace. An early interpretation was that it was left to be unmowed and would be reminicent of the Prairie.

Reidy
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Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

The walled-in, street-facing outdoor space at Robie was a play yard for their son. An article in the old Heinz newsletter (as memory serves) said that the Robies wanted to wall it in lest gypsies kidnap him and that this kind of thing really happened in those days, so it wasn't as bizarre a request as it sounds to us.

dleach
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Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:15 am
Location: Fair Oaks, CA

Post by dleach »

It is not bizarre at all. Those kinds of things happen these days, with regularity.

Don

dkottum
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Location: Battle Lake, MN

Post by dkottum »

Remembering small town Midwest in the 1950's, virtually every home had a vegetable garden, some fruit trees, and a lawn for the youngsters to play (without wood ticks).

Wright most certainly recognized this, and added his artistic version when he could. The trees seemed to suit him in their natural random positions, but everything else ought to be in the geometry and alignment of the house.

I believe he was concerned about the scale of the gardens as well.

doug k

Palli
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:20 pm
Location: Oberlin, Ohio

Post by Palli »

The Brooks Project 1956 for Middleton WI (a western suburb of Madison)had an extensive landscape and on the plan it shows the area off the NE terrace marked PLAY YARD.
The Perf Project

Unbrook
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Location: Lakewood, Ohio

Playspace

Post by Unbrook »

Was the Play Yard an enclosed space?

peterm
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Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

At Lamberson, the terrace was designed and built to be completely enclosed with no steps to the 5 acre garden/mini farm. A later drawing shows three steps off of the terrace leading to the back. I have always wondered if this later drawing showed a modification which was to be realized after the children had become older (at least one was a toddler at the time...) and that the enclosed terrace was for Mrs. Lamberson to keep an eye on the kids and to keep the tikes from wandering off. The only access to the garden as originally built was to go out the workspace door to the carport, and then walk around to the garden area...

I have noticed that many other terraces were built in this way, with no direct access to the surrounding nature... Were these terraces possibly designed in this manner to accommodate the concerns of parents with young children? An enclosed "Play Space" as well as outdoor family space?

Storrer's interpretation of the Lamberson floor plan:
Image

Palli
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Location: Oberlin, Ohio

Post by Palli »

The Brooks play area seems to be open space. Tthe only landscaping details is PLANTING (trees/bushes?) in a straight line directly north to separate it from the extensive FORECOURT. However the foliage lines show a greater density than the spaced trees along the Weltzheimer drive and would have served to mask the living very well from the drive. Unlike Lamberson, the PLAY YARD is directly adjacent to the house/terrace slab, open to the north.There is with a stone masonry wall on the west side that joins the wall of the SANCTUM. The wall ends in a planter where it meets the 2 steps of the terrace. Two terrace steps are the length of the living room and continue past a planting box outside the workspace ( maybe windows over the sink and counter?) to the entry where it angles back to the make a comfortable entry space.


The GALLERY is on the forecourt-with north perfs. On the southern bedroom side (6 kids rooms & and master) of the wing there is a large swimming pool and another terrace with steps and access to the house from the central loggia.
The Perf Project

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