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For instance, we think of the frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean to be nearly level, but in fact it's a wild jumble of jagged ice ridges, some of which are ten feet tall.
When comparing the photos with renderings, the build is faithful for the most part with the rendering, though the corner pier offsets are a bit less pronounced/flatter, and I expected a warmer color to the concrete, more akin to the Unity Temple. Still, I have in the back of my mind a question of scale. The as-built bay doors are pairs of doors, while the rendering appears to have single leaf doors. My mind's eye always saw the boathouse as smaller...the river side of the as-built boathouse is sited considerably higher with respect to the water than the original, which may be part of my perception.
Was this building scaled up to address a larger current day program at the new site?
A total of six drawings have been published, spread between Wasmuth (3 total), Monograph 2 (2), and Taschen I (4). Three of these are based on the same perspective layout; one of these---the second-floor plan found in Taschen---has a scale indication, of 1/8" to the foot. But that notation would only be useful to someone in possession of the original drawing, or of one known to be a 1:1 reproduction. There are no dimensions indicated on any drawing we have seen.
Presumably---hopefully---the makers of the building as constructed would have had access to, and made use of, the original drawing(s). Only they could tell us whether their work follows the original design as to scale ?
Looking closely at the photographs, a glass extension atop the second-floor parapet suggests that the architect's placement of the floor relative to the height of that parapet left too little material to satisfy current codes. This would presumably be a separate issue from that of the placement of the windows previously mentioned.
The "pinwheel" nature of the upper-floor plan is Wright's way of preserving balance---a sort of symmetry---in a plan that contains necessarily unbalanced content: a dressing room and a passage, placed on either side of the central space. Holding those dressing rooms to the same side of the building would have given the architect an unbalanced plan, within a rigidly symmetrical envelope: unacceptable to this rigorous and, yes, ideological designer ! (Even the doors giving access to the second-floor terraces are "pinwheeled"---placed diagonally opposite each other.)
Given that, it is perhaps surprising that he would choose the wrenchingly asymmetrical split floor plan drawing . . .
Drawings and text, this page:
© 2009 by TASCHEN GmbH, © 1986 A.D.A. EDITA Tokyo Co., Ltd.
© The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)