Article: Affleck House

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DavidC
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Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Article: Affleck House

Post by DavidC »


SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

A previously unpublished memoir fragment dating from the late 'sixties or early 'seventies, by North Carolina-born writer Joseph Mitchell, in the Dec 1 New Yorker, contains this passage; the writer is speaking of the branch (a stream) running through the swampy woods behind the family home:

"When I first knew it, as a child, and I sometimes marvel at this, it had hardly been touched by the axe and the crosscut saw and the ditchdigger's spade and the stump-digger's dynamite -- it was still quite wild. Parts of it, in fact, were still primeval. The stream still ran in the same bed it had run in since time immemorial, and growing in the sloughs along the banks of the stream and out in the wettest bottoms were scores of giant old virgin-growth bald cypresses, a majestic tree with snuff-brown bark and ferny pale-green needles that rises out of the water and goes straight up a hundred to a hundred and twenty-five feet and that sometimes lives to be a thousand years old or more and whose wood is so resistant to rot that boards sawed from it used to be used for coffins (up until my grandfather's generation, most country people in my part of the South were buried in family cemeteries in homemade cypress coffins) and for such things as shingles and gutters and rain pipes and watering troughs and for the sluices underneath water mills and for the water gates on rice plantations, and are even now used for such things as the kind of water tanks that sit unpainted and naked to the weather on stilts on the roofs of office buildings and apartment houses in New York City."

SDR

jmcnally
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Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:23 am

Post by jmcnally »

Like Fallingwater, Affleck sat over a running stream. Although it is now dry, the university is considering feeding it once more.

http://www.flwright.us/FLW274.htm

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

Post by Matt »

Mosquitoes must have been a nuisance in the summer.

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

Post by SDR »

Mosquitos need standing water, don't they ?

SDR

jmcnally
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Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:23 am

Post by jmcnally »

Mosquitoes are always prevalent in Michigan. That's is why they are designated as the state bird.
Image

Macrodex
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Post by Macrodex »

Image

Image

This was a student project someone did I found through random browsing.

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

Post by SDR »

Good gravy. An assignment, maybe ? We assume this is the Affleck ?

Lots of interesting substitutions, reflecting today's techniques, materials, and codes. The flattening of the surface textures due to reduction in material thickness is unfortunate. Was the house really built with a combination of 3/4" and 1/2" boards ? (Apparently so, according to a note on the upper drawing.)

A cypress cap to the original chimney ??

In any event, I'm sure there was a good reason for reversing the lap of the ceiling cladding ! In neither iteration is the structure of the balcony parapet clear, in its connection to the deck. Anybody ?

No section drawings in Mono 6 . . .

SDR

jmcnally
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Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:23 am

Post by jmcnally »

Students were actively involved in the renovation and restoration of the house. Some even lived there. It was a great opportunity to experience first-hand and to develop creative solutions. Lawrence Tech has an outstanding engineering program. My kids and I had a private tour given by one of the school's department heads. My son (now an engineering student elsewhere) was fascinated by the students' notes, photographs and drawings, some of which are kept in a binder at the house.

Keep in mind that student drawings may reflect proposals, and not the final output.

Anthony Gholz
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Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:51 am

Post by Anthony Gholz »

Regarding the Affleck as built Living Room and Balcony wall section:

Almost nothing is correct in this section. The "original" CD's showed the Living Room floor and Balcony as 1 5/8" sq. cypress slats on 2X wood framing supported by a steel frame system. The steel section is shown correctly between the interior and exterior. During construction by Harold Turner the floor system in the Living Room and Balcony was changed to a concrete slab supported directly on the steel frame both inside and out. Thus the entire house on the main and lower levels has a concrete slab. The slab is either on grade (as in the north end of the bedroom wing), or a supported slab on a concrete wall (as in the north lower level darkroom/laundry), or is supported by the steel frame system (as in the Living Room and Balcony).

The wall section is a 3/4" plywood core with 1X10 milled cypress boards inside and out. The boards are of different section inside and out, but appear with the same face. A great design feature of the walls is that the faces are vertical and the overall wall slopes per the beveling of the boards. The miters corners both of exterior and interior walls bely Turner's start as a millworker and are not "rough" carpentry but honest to god millwork.


The brick walls are capped in either brick as in the exterior retaining walls or copper as in the brick Kitchen/chimney mass.

All drawings of the "original" set of CD's have been scanned and are in the LTU Rare Book Library on their campus in Southfield. Hopefully the students have access to that. By "original" I mean a set of brown line drawings used on site for construction in 1941. There were many blue line ruled and hand drawn drawings done with by someone at Taliesin and shipped to the site or done locally, many with hand notes on them. They are typically "blueprints", white lines on blue backgrounds. These blueprints have been scanned by LTU as well.

FYI the heating pipes in the living room area are not in the slab, but below the slab in a space between the slab and the "ceiling" of the cantilevered LR floor. The floor was originally insulated with, what I can best describe as one inch cotton batten laying on the "ceiling" boards below the slab. IE I think the outdoors got most of the heat.

I'll leave the "Redesigned Wall Section" to the student's instructor to crit. I will note that the student should be shown what the cross section of a "beveled" cypress board looks like, and how water flows down the face of the Affleck House walls.

Anthony Gholz
retired architect, Taliesin fellow 1969-70,
current author of books on golf course architectural history and design

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Thank you so much, Mr Gholz. A single post like yours is worth any number of educated guesses by laymen observers like me !

I pursue the matter of the lapped-board construction as a pet project; the variety of means by which Mr Wright achieved the desired appearance -- or,
to put it better, in the pursuit of a goal of honest wooden construction -- continues to amaze and inspire. In the as-built section above (whether right
or wrong) a couple of lapped-board assemblies are depicted, seemingly identical to ones found in drawings of the Pew and Pauson houses:



Image Pew

Image ditto


Image Pauson


I wonder if you know whether the Pew canted walls (including deck parapet) were built as shown in the sections. As for the double-board coreless wall --
what stabilizes that construction ? At Pauson, the single-story entry passage exterior wall is strengthened with interior posts (as shown in a plan
drawing); is there any hope of the double-height wall standing intact over time without such an exoskeleton, would you say ?

SDR

Macrodex
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Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:11 pm

Post by Macrodex »

One thing that seemed obviously wrong with the section by the student is that the cantilevered pergola uses a 1 x 11 beam -- and I am pretty sure that Wright would never have a near foot-thick beam in anything cover-related.

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

Post by SDR »

Were you looking at the horizontal measurement 1'-11" at the interior light deck ?

SDR

Macrodex
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Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:11 pm

Post by Macrodex »

Yes.

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