Wright's Fontana Boathouse - new website

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jmcnally
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Post by jmcnally »

without having actually visited the site, I figured it was so high because it had an extra story added to accommodate a restaurant. But that's speculation.

Rood
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Post by Rood »

I wasn't around when the Fontana Boathouse was designed, but it might be suggested that the floor height above mean water level is meant more as protection from expanding lake ice than anything else. The mere presence of Niagara Falls helps keep the water level fairly constant, but in a lake the size of Erie ... thick ice must crash onto the shore during long winters. And the movement of expanding ice can be inexorable.

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.

DavidC
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Re: Wright's Fontana Boathouse - new website

Post by DavidC »


SDR
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Re: Wright's Fontana Boathouse - new website

Post by SDR »

A couple of well-chosen trees on the landward side of the building wouldn't go amiss. They could provide something for the boathouse to "talk to" . . .?

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DRN
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Re: Wright's Fontana Boathouse - new website

Post by DRN »

The Yahara/Fontana Legacy build was an odd one for me to grasp. The original Wright design consisted of just a few presentation drawings and a later "black and white shadow study", and as rendered, it had few if any "scale entourage" bits on the drawings....not person, shell, or oar in sight.

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?

SDR
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Re: Wright's Fontana Boathouse - new website

Post by SDR »

I guess the question would be, "scaled up from what ?"

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 ?

S

SDR
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Re: Wright's Fontana Boathouse - new website

Post by SDR »

Comparing Wright's view drawings with photographs of the building reveals that the trios of small windows on the long elevation(s) have dropped a bit. The little window groups lose their relationship to the window bands above.

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.


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SDR
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Re: Wright's Fontana Boathouse - new website

Post by SDR »

First- and second-level floor plans. Wright's first-floor plan (immediately below) is confusing because it is a "split plan," showing both the first (above) and second (below) levels on the same sheet, divided along the centerline of the plan.

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 . . .


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SDR
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Re: Wright's Fontana Boathouse - new website

Post by SDR »

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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)

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