Article: Troy University (Troy, AL) to build FLW Usonian

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DavidC
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Article: Troy University (Troy, AL) to build FLW Usonian

Post by DavidC »

Original Frank Lloyd Wright plans donated to TROY

I wonder what plans Mr. Hall donated to them? And, will they have to get Foundation approval before lifting a finger on the project?


David

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Recognizing that the Hall family, donors of the plans, were apparently not Wright's clients, I nevertheless checked Taschen III for any projects under that name. There is a triangular-module Usonian from 1950, for a Louis B Hall of Ann Arbor, MI.

Looking further, again in Taschen, a 1958 project for Mr and Mrs Crosby-Lambert, in Colbert County, Alabama, project number 5823 (p 524), is a square-unit single-story flat-roofed one-bedroom residence of masonry construction, with an unusual quarter-round living-room window wall. Working drawings were prepared by TAA after Wright's death.

The Rosenbaum house, in Florence, is the only constructed Wright project in Alabama. Florence is in Colbert County, in the far northwestern corner of the state. Troy is in Pike County, in southeastern Alabama.

http://www.troy.edu

SDR

Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

Three Quarters of a Century of Drawings lists it, too.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks, Reidy. I hadn't noticed that the book you cite contains a chronology of Wright's work. It would be interesting to see how it compares to the Taschen list. A note in the earlier book mentions that, as a result of research for the exhibition, "hitherto unknown projects" are included in the list.

SDR

Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

3/4 says the client is Lilian, not Mr. & Mrs.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The plan drawing in Taschen is inscribed to Mr and Mrs. It is also marked with Wright's pencil scribbles: the quarter-circle garden wall echoing the window wall is Xed out; a pair of break lines runs down through the center of the plan, with a note about adding 2 units; another note says "To the Lamberts -- Here it is -- $35,000."

This drawing would be the initial presentation, of 1958; perhaps by the next year (the notation in 3/4), Lilian had become the principle supporter of the project. I imagine Mr Crosby-Lambert (?) cooling to the prospect, perhaps based on cost -- thus the removal of the garden wall and a suggestion of change from stone to concrete block (another note on the drawing) ?

Architect Donald Lambert (Lambert Ezell Durham, Florence) was engaged in the restoration of Rosenbaum following its purchase by the city. Could he be related to the Crosby-Lamberts, residents (apparently) of the same county ?

SDR

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »


DRN
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Post by DRN »

What maddeningly vague article. The video is a bit of tease too...not one glimpse of the plan, rendering, or title block. Maybe Troy is milking this...good for them.

The idea of another unbuilt coming to fruition, particularly if it is carried out with the care shown at the FSC Usonian, is tantalizing. The prospect of the house being used as a place in which to live for visiting artists/faculty is an oddly rare use for the current crop of newly built or relocated "Wrights"?

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Perhaps it became Mrs. project after Mr. died?

The Crosby-Lambert Project is not a bad design. As a guest house for visiting dignitaries, a one-bedroom house could be more functional than as a private residence.

How the college could construct a plan with major alterations scribbled on it, plus a "future study and sewing" room, "future carport," "future shop" and what appears to be a walled terrace off the bedroom, may become controversial. What do you do, keep the curved living room wall and concentric garden wall, obviously designed to accommodate the lay of the land? If so, what about the 2 added units? There are 4 units with a big "X" in the bedroom; what does the note say? I can't read it. Stone vs. concrete block? As digs for visitors, a shop may not be necessary, but the addition of it would be very desirable to integrate (and support) the added carport.

Unless this design was extensively clarified in subsequent drawings, before FLW's death, I think it should not be built.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

DRN, both Hanna (Stanford) and Freeman (USC) were intended to serve the same sort of function Troy has considered, but in both cases they failed. The Provost who occupied Hanna after Paul Hanna's death hated it. Needless to say, Freeman has been unfit for habitation since 1994. But the idea is valid.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I believe the "added carport" is simply an extension of the existing carport roof necessitated by the addition of the shop -- the single parking place moved outward to a new location . . .

SDR

outside in
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Post by outside in »

brings new meaning to the term "trophy home".... amazed that these projects are even considered when so many REAL designs (i.e. built) are in need of help.

Like most universities, one would hope that, in time, the administration realizes their duty is to provide a superior education rather than creating "bright shiny objects" that gets them in the news. There is no benefit to building this house.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Any opportunity given to the world, to inhabit even for an hour a Wright-designed space, can't be an entirely bad thing, can it ? As the restoration profession labors to keep existing structures viable, the occasional "fresh start" can have its uses, too . . . ?

Is the FSC faculty house a travesty ? Is the relocation and reconstruction of Bachman-Wilson a valid form of conservation ? (Is it valid only if every scrap of original material is employed ?) Aren't there many shades of gray, each project calling for its own rhyme and reason ?

Cannot there be more than one kind of respect paid to the architect, and to the waiting world ? The recreation of lost or unbuilt designs needn't take away from the primacy of in-situ rehabilitation -- unless we allow it to !

SDR

outside in
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Post by outside in »

there is something vacant and empty about building a home that was designed for someone else by an architect long dead. Involvement of the foundation supposedly gives the effort credence, but contemporary codes, manufacturing methods, building materials all contribute to making the creation feel like a replica. Of course they are interesting exercises, and yield new, usually exciting space, but one wonders if 20-30 years from now these buildings will represent nothing more than our current fascination with Wright, or in this case, the marketing of the college by the current administration.

This subject has been over-studied and discussed extensively on this site and I apologize for reinvigorating the discussion, as there is no answer, no right or wrong. Ultimately the building will stand for what it is, interpreted in a variety of ways now and in the future.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The same arguments for and against can be made for all buildings that survive their original use and clients. Same with all art. Is the museum homage to the art of the past, or merely a warehouse where the history of obsolete fads can be put on display? Music, the same. Do we really need all that Mozart in our lives when we have Philip Glass? Look what was done to Handel's Messiah over the years. It is now, in its most popularly known form, a bloated version of what Handel intended originally (although he probably would not complain).

You're right, John, this is rehashing hash. But then, that's what we do.

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