Assembling the Call model

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

[contents moved to previous post]
Last edited by SDR on Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

After submitting drawings, it was time to assist by contributing decorative elements. First, the 10 fourth-floor "special spandrels,"
coated with paint on the original to the point where it was difficult to determine the nature of the design.

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A closer look led to the conclusion that there were canted elements, some pointing up and some down. Pinewood was chosen for the panel material, with punches made of hard ipé.

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Last edited by SDR on Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Then, the third-floor "cube windows." I provided stock, plain and decorated, with which to make the open-ended cubes.


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sjnorris
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Post by sjnorris »

Hi Everyone ,

I was made aware of this Call model thread today so I though this would be a good time to say Thank you!

This was a great project and it was wonderful to see so many people get involved , volunteer and donate with nothing more
to gain than to see a great piece of history returned home and a Thank You.


I will not be able to list everyone but a few people you might know that made the Call model possible are . Eric O’Malley , The Journal of Organic Architecture + Design ,
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and of course Wright Chats very own Stephen Ritchings or SDR .


Stephen did a wonderful job on the drawing based on measurements Eric and I took from the original Call Model. He also made many decorative elements for the model
as well as tools to make other items . I’m sure he will show his work soon so we can all be amazed . Its all in the details !


Signing Off now for another 3 years.

Best
Stafford

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thank you, Stafford. It was a pleasure to work with you on this challenging project. I was just in the midst of posting some of the pieces I had the pleasure of making for you.

Be well -- and don't be a stranger to Wright Chat, where you are highly regarded by those who have had the pleasure.

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The concentric stepped portal trim needed to be incised with a running pattern. After trying soft maple, red cedar proved malleable enough to take a deep impression from two metal tools.


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SDR
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Post by SDR »

The zig-zag decoration at the top of the columns called for a stamping tool that Stafford could use in his shop. I found steel
machine key stock, 1/8" square, and ground two different shapes onto the ends of 45 pins, then inserted them into square
holes in a hardwood jig. Buried soft plastic O-rings keep the pins from getting lost.



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SDR
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Post by SDR »

Finally, another stamping device, this one to create the figure incised, by unknown means, into the soffit
beneath the exterior balconies on the model. I settled on hard maple, in an end-grain orientation, imbedded
in blocks of ipé. I made three stamps, so that 56 impressions could be made, hopefully into soft material like cedar.



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JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

Again, I say, "Brilliant !"

Those devices you made to fabricate the ornament are works of art themselves. In particular, that last photo of the stamping tool and its product. They are exquisite, and belong in an art gallery.

I've seen the old model in photos but never knew it contained that minute detail. How wonderful to recreate it so well.

Bravo.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Look again at sheet 11 of the drawing set.


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I am intrigued by these five decorative motifs. Other than being orthogonal, symmetrical, and repetitive -- like many such motifs from the entire history of art --
they have not much to unite them. They, some of them, may derive from the ornament which Wright drew on his most elaborate and finished view of the Call
tower (and its attendant connector structure, which seems never to have been modeled):


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A couple of writers have addressed this building project; one of them was at pains to connect the ornament we see here with the Secessionists, in whom Wright demonstrated quite an interest at just this moment. We see dotted motifs of several kinds. There seems little doubt that the zig-zag dotted figure decorating the columns of the 1940 model are derived from this precedent. But what are we to make of the other four figures ?

While drawing these elements I became convinced that Mr Wright might have doled out the work -- drawing, if not incising, each design -- to a different apprentice, and gladly accepted the result without too much fuss, busy as he was with the many elements that had to be brought together for the 1940 exhibition. They would presumably have had access to the older drawing above, and some initial input from the Master -- but what then ?

How does it strike you ?

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

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Then we go on. Regard the top of the building: Mr Wright has placed a shadow of the pierced roof overhang on the vertical surface of a pier below, angling it so that it appears to be an extension of the self-same oblong opening. Accident ? Surely not -- and a hint perhaps that there's more yet to be found in this view.

How about the fact that the long edge of the projecting balcony at right nearly perfectly aligns with the edge of the roof above and beyond -- so that the two forms can be read as one, simplifying both the graphic composition and the depicted object at the same time.

Now, look at the straight line that connects the short edge of one balcony with its twin on the other side of the building, and observe that it is aligned almost exactly with the unique feature of the columns on the front of the building, namely the molding which snakes its way in and out of those columns and the voids between. One reads a single straight line across and through the building at that point, yet those two features, the balconies and the serpentine molding, are a full story apart in space, in fact. So, the architect is again simplifying and uniting what is really a more complex structure.

And that through-line is something more. It is a two-dimensional alert to the most significant fact of this design, that it is one of Wright's most overt displays of the Cartesian trinity, the north-south, east-west, and up-down axes of which have preoccupied the minds of twentieth-century architects. The upward sweep of the six columns is arrested only when it meets a corresponding rank of horizontals, giant roof beams which, in the final version of the design, present five openings of exactly equal length on either side of the columns. This would be thrilling enough, but there's more: the balconies on either long facade, both visible in this view at least, suggest a single plane passing through the building, broken up into beams and voids just as the other two planes are, and completing the axial trinity.

So, we have ranks of columns, beams, and voids of matching dimension, sweeping across space and colliding, forming warp and weft, weaving a building between them. That for me is the abstract meaning of this design, both subtle and overt as a self-assured and serene display of geometry fulfilling itself on the ground and in space.

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

This early design, the Abraham Lincoln Center (Chicago; 1903) for Jenkin Lloyd Jones (presented in a fair example of photo-realistic illustration ?), contains two details which can be found on the Call elevations: a single story above the base whose spandrels are uniquely decorated, and a string course of molding snaking around the columns near the top . . .


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DRN
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Post by DRN »

SDR, I'm enjoying seeing your drawings and tools for the model...always a treat when the artist and magician share a secret. To my eye the Call is Sullivanian in its grammar, but very much Wrightian in its form making. Where Sullivan creates static form enriched with artful texture, Wright emphasizes a more dynamic object form. The perspective rendering, as you note, appears to have been carefully studied to make the view angle and shading best express the dynamicism Wright envisioned. Do you suppose Wright chose to have this project modeled to convey his vision in a way a perspective, even one so painstakingly considered, could not?

Does the design or repetition for the spandrel detailing have any relationship to analogous work by Sullivan?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I am not above (or beneath) suggesting that Wright designed the top of the tower as he did in full awareness that it would be seen from far below, not "in elevation." This would imply that the effects we see in his illustration are exactly as he anticipated them to be . . . including perhaps each of the items in my description.

It has occurred to me that Mr Wright placed both models of the Call tower on plinths, where he and others would regard the building from below -- if not exactly from "ground level."


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I'm no Sullivan specialist, but I have noted that the spandrels on the Wainwright building differ on each floor:


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In this regard the Call building (and the precedent Jones tower) demonstrate a retreat from that level of decoration; Wright is saying, in these instances, "Less is more" ?

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

FLW is sticking with plane geometry at Call, as opposed to HLS's reliance on foliate imagery at Wainwright. This is why parsing the applied decoration in Charnley is so difficult. There is, on the one hand, a geometric rigor in the second floor balustrade not obvious in HLS's work, though the dining room fireplace appears, if not exclusively HLS, to have been affected by Elmslie. Yet FLW showed he could do Lieber Meister well enough in the Harlan House.

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