Sweeton Window Wall and Roof Resto/Rehabilitation

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DRN
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Post by DRN »

Work was completed at the beginning of September, these are some pics of the finished product...

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Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

Wonderful photos, DRN. You must feel a great sense of accomplishment! Just in time for sitting outside and enjoying the autumn colors!

dtc
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Post by dtc »

Dan, Christine, this project is the ultimate in tender loving care.
Time to take some time off, kick back and enjoy.
Sorry we could not attend the conference this year, we will need to get together soon. Would love to hear in more detail about all the work performed at Sweeton.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Looking so fine, Dan!

You must be relieved to have that phase completed, and so beautifully executed...

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Ain't she sweet ?

Now, at last, we can concentrate on the design -- two wonderful and different roofs, depending on which side of the house you look at -- and at the same time two roofs, one passing behind the other, both steaming along as if on invisible rails or beams, their surfaces articulated so unusually and so well . . .

I have to say that I had not previously appreciated that the carport roof is a continuation of the bedroom roof -- visible from the south. It hasn't helped that the Taliesin roof plan drawing omits the carport roof ridge. Any explanation for that, Dan, can you say ? Is there a version of the design that's consistent with what we see here:



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SREcklund
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Post by SREcklund »

Phenomenal job - I need to find an excuse to come back and see it!
Docent, Hollyhock House - Hollywood, CA
Humble student of the Master

"Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old." - Frank Lloyd Wright

pharding
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Post by pharding »

It looks beautiful Dan. I commend you for a job well done.

Did the original drawings and/or specifications call out what Wright's intent was with the the concrete block. Left unfinished or painted? I am just curious what his intentions were.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Thanks all for the kind words.

SDR: The roof plan seems to be simply missing a line defining the main roof gable edge blending into the carport ridge...from the first rendering sent to the Sweetons in 1949, the carport was the asymmetric gable as-built. The Taliesin elevations also show the condition as-built. In the GA Monograph entry for the Schaberg house, the initial sketches were derivative of the Sweeton house plan type...in the Mono entry is a loosely drawn sketch perspective from an angle similar to the photo we are discussing...see the sketch on this thread:

http://www.savewright.org/wright_chat/v ... b179ba9d9f

The presence of a steep embankment and the trees (and poison ivy) to the east of Sweeton often prevent me from photographing from this angle...I suppose this angle's use in the Schaberg rendering may be an indication that Wright thought it significant. The lower roof seems to set up a base or datum from which the living dining roof springs.

SREcklund: Please stop by when you find yourself in the Philly area.

Paul: The original drawings do not directly note the paint for the CMU, but the rendering indicates a creamy color. The subject of painting and the selection of the color was in the correspondence between Taliesin and the Sweetons...I had some of it posted in another thread here, in particular scroll down to item #2 on the typewritten page:

http://savewright.org/wright_chat/viewt ... c&start=15

SDR
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Post by SDR »

It's amazing how the paint on the block walls changes with the light -- as recorded on "film." In the flesh, once we "know" the color of something, we often (I believe) miss seeing it for what it may be at a given moment. Even unconsciously, nevertheless, the changeable color of a surface adds to visual delight and the pleasure of variety -- I imagine.

SDR

DRN
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Post by DRN »

I've been noticing that too. The previous block paint was a pale/dirty yellow that seemed little affected by its surroundings. The current (original) tan has an element of red in it that seems to harmonize with the red roof and in particular the red and pinks in the sky at sunrise and sunset.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I got used to seeing a butter yellow block with bright brick-red roof -- something from Plastic Town that only an early baby-boomer might pine for ? -- but I accept that a less dramatic tone suits the whole quite well.

The corrections and improvements are impressive, as a suite of Twenty-first Century repairs which won't need to be improved upon for the foreseeable future.

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Looking again at a favorite photo of a pre-war Usonian, and finding the original rendering of Sweeton (in matching perspective and lighting) in Taschen III, I like the comparison: pre-war and post-war Wright, one in brick-and-wood, the other in block-and-asphalt . . .

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Rosenbaum, early photo

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Sweeton, initial rendering


For me, Rosenbaum is shown in its finest flower, not to be improved by later changes, while Sweeton in its first outing is pure and even, perhaps, incomplete, the composition enhanced, along with the square footage, by the addition of the workshop ell and with the final roof texture (see the last of Dan's photos above).

SDR

Matt
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Post by Matt »

Great pictures. Thanks for posting. Was the concrete block always painted. There's a usonian east of Seattle that uses block but it wasn't painted. Did Wright often specify painted block?

The grand gesture here is that wafer thin roof plane. I've been looking at early work of Pietro Belluschi around Portland OR and his houses also had a very thin roof edge. There is some trickery to this as the elements are thinned as they reach the edge so the roof looks thinner than it really is. Was this something Wright appropriated from the Japanese?

DRN
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

Matt:
The rendering indicates a creamy color for the CMU, and the subject of painting and the selection of the color was in the correspondence between Taliesin and the Sweetons...I had some of it posted in another thread here, in particular scroll down to item #2 on the typewritten page:

http://savewright.org/wright_chat/viewt ... c&start=15

SDR:
I agree. The workshop, at least to my eye, visually anchors the composition if one pictures the carport as the "cantilever", the masonry mass as the "fulcrum", and workshop as the "anchorage".

The workshop was added to the project during construction document preparation at the request of the Sweetons. The first iteration of the workshop was a simple extrusion of the bedroom wing with exterior only access gained from the rear of house. The outward appearance was just a lengthening of the house as depicted in the rendering. In the final set of construction drawings, the previous extrusion was erased, and the as-built version appeared with no mention in the correspondence from either the Sweetons or Taliesin as to why the configuration was altered. Possibly a last minute Wright alteration upon seeing the extrusion? According to the recent book, Jack Howe often brought roofs down close to grade, possibly he was looking over Davy Davison's shoulder?....this is if Davy developed and drafted the CD's. We know from the correspondence Davy shepherded the project during construction...I suppose the only way to know for sure who prepared the drawings would be to see one of Howe's weekly work assignment lists of the period, if that still exists.

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »


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