Whiteford Haddock House - Ann Arbor

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SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »


SDR
Posts: 19439
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

The flip-up strip window blinds are clever. I wonder if they're translucent. If not, a darker color might have been nice ?

I also wonder who drew the bedroom fireplace front.

What a sweet deck-with-tree off the bedroom !

SDR

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

Post by SDR »

And -- lots of accordion doors in the plan. The two fireplaces and the heater room make up an L-shaped brick core; the bath is private, but the laundry
off the gallery doubles as a powder room. A clever and compact plan.

I haven't compared the elevations with the plan to see if the unusual peaked french-door heads help with door swings beneath the sloping roof.

There's a lot of beautiful clear wood in the interiors, especially in the main space. I wonder what it cost to build this, in 1979 . . .

SDR

jay
Posts: 283
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 8:04 pm

Post by jay »

It's a very interesting house... Does anyone else find it to be an especially peculiar design? I'm no expert, but to use the terminology of Grant Hildebrand, it seems to be a very "refuge-dominant" house. I suppose that makes sense considering it was called "Below Zero"... But I can't recall another Usonian that features the contrasting dual-combination of super slim horizontal windows and the fairly limited use of vertical window walls. There are no mid-sized type windows anywhere. (Of course, there's the great clerestory, and looks like the second and third bedroom have skylights, which I couldn't tell if were in the original design...) If most Wright Usonian's seem to blend "prospect" and "refuge" evenly, this one seems more like 80% refuge.

Also, the living room terrace seems pretty unusual. I can't recall a main terrace of Wright's that seems so on top of the driveway. The front door being so close to the living room's expansive glazing is also something I can't recall seeing much or any of.

And one more.... No seating near the fireplace is also somewhat unusual for Wright, though I'm sure there's some cases of that in his work. But, wouldn't seating near the fireplace be a compliment to the "refuge" theme?

All that said, a gorgeous house and design, and I'd sell a half dozen of my bodily organs to live in it.

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

Post by SDR »

"Below Zero," the Edith Carlson commission, was the precursor design. Pfeiffer's description evokes an even more insular habitation !

The topography of the Carlson site appears to have been flat. The slope of the Haddock property is in perfect accord with what can be seen in the Petersen view drawing -- and suits the building profile nicely . . .


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© 2009 by TASCHEN GmbH and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Last edited by SDR on Sun May 27, 2018 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
Posts: 19439
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Study of the Roy Petersen plan reveals that the floor was to have been brick paved, including the entry plaza, the hall, and an extension into the bedroom
to create a hearth for its fireplace. The workspace was to have linoleum on concrete. Other spaces are called out as concrete; the remainder of the bedroom
floor is not specified as to material, on the plan.

The Edith Carlson house would have had a large rug covering most of the living-space floor. Its second fireplace served the guest room, with the master
(mother's room) extending at the rear. A strong line added to the plan drawing seems to indicate a reduction to the plan . . .

A note at the entrance to the Petersen bedroom says "wall above"; the deck over that passage is also indicated. Was there to have been a full-height wall
separating the bedroom from the main space ? If so, it was deleted in the Haddock realization -- in a manner most Wrightian, and to the benefit of the whole
-- aesthetically, at least.

Photos of Haddock seem to show continuous glazing inside the living-room and bedroom perforated panels -- though not at other perf locations. In fact,
that rear-wall strip of perforations is apparently a light fixture rather than an opening through the wall, as two exterior photos reveal.

Another interesting variant is the doors throughout, made as board-and-sunk-batten panels, framed in the same way as many b-and-b partitions throughout
the Usonian oeuvre.

SDR

Wrighter
Posts: 488
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 11:22 am
Location: St. Louis, MO

Post by Wrighter »

One of the best arguments I've seen for the value of the legacy program.

That main fireplace, however... I'm happy to see that it has clearly been well used (and that it must draw), but that shallow firebox right next to the passageway into the kitchen would make me nervous!

Matt
Posts: 430
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:24 am

Post by Matt »

The steep pitch roof reminds me of the Griggs House in Tacoma. I do wonder if the living room here wouldn't feel rather claustrophobic with tall walls, pitched roof, and few windows. And this design commits a pet peeve of mine, which is that guests pass the living room on the way to the front door.

Rood
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Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

Post by Rood »

jay wrote:It's a very interesting house... Does anyone else find it to be an especially peculiar design? I'm no expert, but to use the terminology of Grant Hildebrand, it seems to be a very "refuge-dominant" house. I suppose that makes sense considering it was called "Below Zero"... But I can't recall another Usonian that features the contrasting dual-combination of super slim horizontal windows and the fairly limited use of vertical window walls. There are no mid-sized type windows anywhere. (Of course, there's the great clerestory, and looks like the second and third bedroom have skylights, which I couldn't tell if were in the original design...) If most Wright Usonian's seem to blend "prospect" and "refuge" evenly, this one seems more like 80% refuge.

Also, the living room terrace seems pretty unusual. I can't recall a main terrace of Wright's that seems so on top of the driveway. The front door being so close to the living room's expansive glazing is also something I can't recall seeing much or any of.

And one more.... No seating near the fireplace is also somewhat unusual for Wright, though I'm sure there's some cases of that in his work. But, wouldn't seating near the fireplace be a compliment to the "refuge" theme?

All that said, a gorgeous house and design, and I'd sell a half dozen of my bodily organs to live in it.
Having grown up on the prairies of Central ND, where winters are long, cold, and extremely windy ... this house would have been a natural ... a place where once in you would never want to leave, but once you did ... you couldn't wait to get back. It's a house where you would have and feel an innate sense of warmth and security.

Having said that, I have to agree that the driveway ... and the concomitant parking for additional cars ... directly in front of the living room French doors ... seems terribly odd. Perhaps that aspect of the design was related to the fact that cars were not as common in 1941, as they now are, when nearly every home is surrounded by three-four-or-five cars.

It was a house for the country ... rather remotely located ... without the ordinary city streets, sidewalks and houses chock-a-block to every other house, so in this case it might be nice to be able to see (through your living room windows) cars and people occasionally coming up the road to visit. Who else but welcome friends and neighbors?

The lack of seating near the fireplace is something the design has in common with the Willey house in Minneapolis, and these two houses bear more than a passing resemblance. It might be said they are cousins ... born just a few years apart.

I do have a long seat set a a right angle to my fireplace, here in Arizona, but on particularly cold winter mornings ... I usually pull up a comfortable chair to sit and eat breakfast right in front of the fire. No doubt I'd do the same if I lived in the Edith Carlson house.

You can see a fire from a seat set at right angles, but you really can't feel much warmth ... unless you have a very large fireplace, like the one in the Wisconsin draughting room which takes big, un-split logs

(Reminds me of the unusually cold winter day in Concord, Mass, when the Thoreau family crowded around their fireplace ... even to the point of hanging blankets behind them to ward off the chill breezes blowing through the house ... Thoreau related that it was so bitterly cold that a glass of water placed on the mantel ... froze solid!)

As for Wrighter's worry about walking by a shallow firebox ... this one is fully 24 inches deep, whereas my Arizona fireplace is only 20 inches deep, and I've never had a problem. Indeed, can't you just feel the delicious warmth of a fire, as you walk by?

Another feature of the Carlson living room fireplace, is that a fire is visible from every part of the living room, the dining alcove, and the kitchen. In that it bears a partial resemblance to the design of the later Teater House ... in Idaho.

Too often Wright's "Workspaces" were somewhat cut off, but here everything comes together in a unique, entirely workable plan. The house is a perfect gem.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Responding further to Jay's post:

There are a number of Usonians in which the built-in seating is remote from the fireplace. A study of the plans might narrow the list of such houses to a
certain period -- or not. Rood's point about the ability to see the fire from multiple locations is worth pursuing; I wonder what the statistics are on that ?

The "great clerestory" might be the "super slim horizontal windows" in the living room and bedroom ? The latter turns out to be a linear light fixture
subbing for a "perfed" strip window, perhaps; there is no opening through the wall, as seen in a couple of exterior photos in the set.

We don't know what the site conditions were, for the Carlson and Petersen projects; perhaps cars were to be parked further down the drive than at the
realized house ?

SDR

Rood
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Post by Rood »

SDR wrote:Responding further to Jay's post:

We don't know what the site conditions were, for the Carlson and Petersen projects; perhaps cars were to be parked further down the drive than at the
realized house ? SDR
Don't know about the Peterson design, but those are Mr. Wright's penciled in cars (3 of them) in the coloured plan of the Carlson House (above). He also demonstrated how a car in the carport could be turned around by backing up (in front of the living room French doors) before continuing out on the entrance road.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Aha. Thanks.

It could be said that not only are no two of Wright's houses alike (excepting twins or triplets like the plan under discussion), but that some of them seem intended to prove that every rule is meant to be broken -- never mind that Mr Wright never enumerated the "rules" in the first place !

SDR

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

Post by Roderick Grant »

As for walking past a shallow or deep firebox, if the amount of fuel is scaled to the size of the firebox, it can be a bit harrowing to get too near the thing.
On a cool evening (by Phoenix standards) in 1990, FLWBC held an event at the Price House with a blazing conflagration in the atrium pit.
Getting past that roaring inferno to enter the bedroom wing was like passing by a blast furnace. (Of course, I am Norwegian, I have ice in my veins, so I may be more sensitive to excess heat than others.)

Built-in seating is not always related to proximity to the fireplace, but rather intended to handle the occasional full house.
The built-ins at T-West are across the garden room from the grand fireplace, nowhere near a relationship with the fire, while Himself and Olga were enthroned in origami chairs flanking the fireplace.
FLW liked to hunker near a cozy fire, and sometimes even sleep by it, as at the Wisc. residence.
His own intended use probably played a bigger role in the placement of seating relative to the fire than that of guests.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The only design element that I find somewhat troubling is that carport, where one sitting in the living room would have a view of the backside of a Buick.
The enclosure offered by this house is comforting, not only against the wintery blast, but as a shadowy retreat from the summer heat, ND or MI.

jay
Posts: 283
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 8:04 pm

Post by jay »

To clarify, my observation about seating near the fireplace wasn't limited to built-ins; there are plenty of examples of Wright designs with stand-alone chairs positioned in front of the fireplace.... It was more about the lack of space for the possibility to sit near the fire. In this case, the proximity of the kitchen entrance appears to prohibit any seating near the fire... The Willey house does have dining seating near the hearth, and there is also room to pull up some chairs (as you illustrate in your own experience, Rood)... But could you actually do that in the Edith Carlson house? I mean, obviously you can. (You can also place the dining table in the bedroom if you wish, etc.) But I'd suggest that the fireplace's proximity to the kitchen, and being in the middle of a high traffic area, makes pulling up a chair seem awkward.


Regarding the viewing of the fire from multiple locations�does the placement of the hearth actually reinforce the "shelter/refuge" motif then? It could make sense in the Hildebrand theory... His thesis is that the core effectiveness of Wright's work is the blending of shelter and prospect. But that would imply that the refuge elements (like fireplace/inglenook/seating) are notable in their context, and contrast, with the prospect elements (like big expanses of glass).... In this case, "Below Zero" drastically dials back Wright's prospect features, creating less need for contrasting areas within the house....? Essentially, the fireplace doesn't need its own inglenook�the whole house is the inglenook.

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