Assembling the Call model

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peterm
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Assembling the Call model

Post by peterm »

http://www.prairiemod.com/.a/6a00d8341b ... 970d-popup

Stafford Norris 111 is just the coolest...

SDR
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Post by SDR »

111 ? Isn't that III ? Ye Olde Roman numerals, don't ya know . . .

I had mentioned to Eric that I thought the building would be more pleasant to behold, more welcoming to the observer, if the single asymmetrical feature of the exterior, the planters which extend from the entrance(s), were placed toward the wall rather than nearer the aisle -- opening the entrance to visual access, as it were. I suspect that the original model was situated in this passage as we see the new one, only because of some flaw to the model's opposite face, preventing the preferred orientation. There is, in fact, a missing window spandrel in the original model (or a loose one, which I believe is preserved) as revealed in photos of the model as it existed in Mr Wright's Taliesin studio . . .

http://www.dwell.com/interviews/article ... e-guerrero

. . . from which the planters seem to be missing, incidentally. The planters do appear on original (undated) drawings. Eric did an excellent job of rounding up all extant documents related to the Call building project and its plaster and wood models -- but those are apparently not available for general consumption, so assessment of the 1940 (wooden) model in terms of fidelity to Wright's design, and the new one as compared to the old, is not really possible.

Knowing Stafford, I'm quite sure there's nothing wrong with either face of the new model . . . !

SDR

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Sorry! Make that: Stafford Norris lll is just the coolest.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I guess we could link to the other thread on this subject:

http://savewright.org/wright_chat/viewtopic.php?t=8856


Your title is "Assembling the Call model." Do we have photos yet ?

SDR

SpringGreen
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Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:00 am

Movie, assembling the Call Building model

Post by SpringGreen »

A movie was put on YouTube of the process of the construction of the Call Building model:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8anBr1 ... e=youtu.be
"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

With all the drawings and models, this must be the most obsessed-over unbuilt project of FLW's career. It's amazing how beautiful a simple grid can be when properly designed.
Kudos, Stafford Norris, III.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Yes, Roderick, obsessed for sure. It took nearly three months to prepare this set of documentation and assembly diagrams, as a pro bono to the effort.

(When thus engaged one wants to remember that advice is "worth what you pay for it" -- and is no doubt valued accordingly !)



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Last edited by SDR on Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

Brilliant !!!

Well done, indeed.

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

Forgive me, I guess I missed something and I don't know enough about the history of this model. I see that the Call Building was designed in 1912, but that the new model that was based on a 1940 rendition. Was that a 2nd version? Why was the 1940 model (re)built so long after the design?
Last edited by JChoate on Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

When the building was designed, or not long thereafter, a plaster model at perhaps 1/2 the scale of the present one was made, and exhibited. Years later, when the MoMA exhibition of 1940 was being prepared, Wright decided a new model at larger scale was called for. It is that model which the present effort is intended to duplicate.

The duplication was prompted by the fact that the original model, resident for decades at Taliesin in Wisconsin, was removed to the storerooms of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Eric O'Malley decided that a replica was called for, to fill the void . . .

http://savewright.org/wright_chat/viewtopic.php?t=8856

SDR

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

Okay. That makes sense.
It's interesting, knowing all that he was up to in 1940 (one of his watershed years), that he went back and reintroduced an unbuilt Prairie Style design.
It's a great design that I wish had been realized.
SDR, since you articulated the new drawings you certainly know -- how many feet wide was the actual building to have been? It seems like a very narrow along the entry façade.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Here are the principal building dimensions:


Typical office floor 31'- 8" x 133' (main space); two offices @ 12'- 4" x 29'- 8" ea.

Floor-to-floor 9'- 0"

Scale of model 1 : 32

Building height 241'

Building width exclusive of projections 37'- 8"

Length of roof, building length with entrance features 213'- 4"

Length of roof cantilever from face of corner pier 24'- 0"

Number of stories 25

Space between columns 3'- 0"

Column section 2'- 0" x 3'- 0"

Window opening height 4'- 4"

Spandrel height 4'- 4"

________________________________________________________

The addition of the column width to the intercolumnar space, on both major and minor elevations, gives us five feet, which we thus assume to be the plan module for the building. Office floors are clear-span spaces.

There is a lot of concrete in this tower !

SDR

peterm
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Post by peterm »

SDR wrote: (When thus engaged one wants to remember that advice is "worth what you pay for it" -- and is no doubt valued accordingly !)
Nice work, SDR...

I'm not sure that I understand your comment... Care to elaborate?

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I love the drawings! Precise drawings of this kind tell me more about a building than the prettiest perspective Marion Mahony could ever draw.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thank you. I like to feel that is true of this kind of representation. Of course, there is a place for both sorts of drawing; I recall Wright's words that for him the perspective served as a sort of "proof" of the design . . .


I have just substituted a set of Call drawings sans dimensions, above, at the request of project sponsor Eric O'Malley, who has an agreement with the Foundation that prevents the publication of such data. I am reluctantly permitted to display the unannotated set.

The process of making these drawings began with study of notes taken by Mr Norris and of photos taken, I believe, by Mr O'Malley. While not perfectly complete these sources enabled me to proceed. The object was to recreate the model; it wasn't, therefore, necessary to know the dimensions of the building design nor, in fact, the scale of the model. But I thought it would be interesting to know what those missing numbers were. While there are very few original measured drawings of the building, and no drawings made for the 1940 apprentice model-makers, it seemed possible to arrive at the missing data empirically. (One early plan is labeled at 1/4"=1'-0", but without knowing the sheet size this was useless information.) Objects on drawings such as stairs and doors can be useful. In the end, it was the floor-to-floor heights vs the known building lot size which suggested building dimensions and, in turn, the model scale. That is, the floor-to-floor couldn't be less than c.8 feet, while the building couldn't be longer that the 205-foot depth of the building lot at the corner of 4th and Market in San Francisco.

In the end I settled on a nine-foot floor-to-floor dimension, as the very minimum acceptable given a 16-inch deep reinforced concrete beam with integral slab -- itself only a reasonable guess. This would make the building block, including one 24-foot long entrance planter, 189'-4", which would fit in the allotted space. (The assumption, based on at least one plan drawing, that there was to be an identical planter at both ends of the building, would have pushed the number to 213'-4"; given the speculative nature of the enterprise -- it is not known if Wright actually had a contract to design this structure -- a certain amount of leeway can reasonably be assumed.

So, all this meant that the building model scale was a nice neat 1:32. Knowing Wright's penchant for whole numbers, I was gratified and encouraged to find that the columns were to be 2'-0" by 3'-0", the spaces between them 3'-0", and the planters and roof overhangs both just 24'-0" in length.

Nevertheless, the fun was just beginning. Looking at all the site measurements I was given, it eventually became clear that a couple of unknowns remained, including the exact height of the three "special" floors at the top and of the extra-tall first floor space, and the typical floor-to-floor measurement. Knowing the overall height of the model and all other measurements, however, I was able to come up with a unified and likely set of numbers.

Unfortunately, after having delivered a preliminary measured set to the model maker I realized I had omitted one floor in my count, potentially throwing everything into a cocked hat. I subsequently resolved this hiccup, but the horse had left the barn: doubt had been sown, and (with virtually no time left because the drawing process had dragged on) the maker resorted to his own devices (and numbers) -- understandably enough. My bad.

The video linked above does reveal that Stafford found his own ways to assemble the model, no doubt less complex than my jig-saw puzzle. In his place I would have done the same, I'm sure. As to fidelity to the original, I can cite a minor quibble: the zig-zag pattern of square depressions which decorate the tops of all 2x3 columns are intended to alternate in a left-right sequence, whereas in places on the original and in the reproduction there are exceptions to this order. (Perhaps it was decided that even such defects as these were to be faithfully reproduced ? I no longer have access to the bulk of original-model photos so cannot verify.)

One unfortunate discrepancy remains to be noted. The facia of the roof was designed to be made flush with the tops of the rank of columns on the building's long facades; it appears this way on the original drawings, on the vintage model and in my drawings, but not on the new model, where it overhangs them. Correcting this error would involve (at least) the modification or replacement of the roof slab and, most annoyingly, the notching of 56 column tops to accept the facia, which drops below the undersurface of the roof.

How this came to be I do not know and have not asked. A tight schedule may have contributed. I can't imagine that anyone is in a hurry to see the the problem corrected, and I don't expect that will happen. No one involved will be happy to have the issue publicized, I am sure -- but if we care about Wright's designs as we profess to, it can't be helped, as I see it.

So, to that extent anyway, Peter, the answer to your question is, unfortunately, no.

Nevertheless, a great deal was learned about this interesting project; many of the results of the research -- including new information about the actual intended building site, contributed by roving reporter William J Schwarz -- are published in the current issue of the Journal of Organic Architecture + Design (Vol 4, No 1), which is devoted to the Press Building for the San Francisco Call. Both editor/designer Eric M O'Malley and editor Randolph C Henning have contributed articles to the issue, which also contains a wealth of visual material.


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Last edited by SDR on Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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