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An Apprentice's Story

Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:14 am
by Macrodex
Here's an interesting thing I happened upon from a Taliesin apprentice's experience working for Wright.

http://www.miltonstricker.com/Book/ms_01_05.html

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:09 pm
by Paul Ringstrom
I was unable to find this book on Amazon or various other sites that sell out-of-print books.

If you happen to have it... could you tell me the ISBN?

Re: Milton Stricker

Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:13 am
by SpringGreen
I thought his explanation about nature study was really good. I sent the hyperlinks to his pages titled, "This is the Beginning of Architecture" to someone who had someone insisting to him that FLW used fractals (& we didn't agree, but couldn't articulate why). Stricker's description of what FLW was telling them, & how he got a design through abstracting nature is a good explanation:
http://www.miltonstricker.com/Book/ms_01_17.html

Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:57 am
by DRN
When I look at Stricker's abstractions of Taliesin West I see Usonian perforated boards....coincidence?

Stricker described his process of abstraction in a book I have...was it the Guggenheimer "Taliesin Legacy" book? I think he wrote an essay for Tafel's "About Wright" as well.

Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:58 pm
by KevinW
Mr. Stricker used to have a feature on abstract design in each of the Northern California Taliesin Fellows newsletters for a while. I believe many of the issues are available on-line, or at least were.

Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:18 pm
by jay
Forgive me for the following, but seeing the poster's wording of "I happened upon" in regards to Milton Stricker, I just had to offer this story....


I've loved FLLW's Organic ideas for quite some time. I live in Seattle, and with the exception of FLLW's 3 Usonians in the area, and one in Oregon, I wasn't aware of any other Organic designed homes in this region.

Now, I've lived in the southeast corner of Seattle for over 5 years, in the neighborhood between two John Olmsted designed parks, Frink and Colman, which are less than a mile apart from each other.

This winter, my wife had a child, and since then, we've been taking lots of long walks through our neighborhood and the aforementioned parks. One day, we walk up a quiet street, just off Colman Park, and to our delight, a very very Usonian style house is just sitting there.

My wife says, in almost disbelief "Is that a Frank Lloyd Wright house???"

We both know it is not. But in looking closely at the house, the details are far too Wrightian to be a simple "in the style of Wright" design. This had to be a Taliesen trained designer, right?

Now remember, we live about 6 blocks from here, and we've lived there for years. And in those past years, we've visited a nice handful of Wright designed buildings in our travels, with a particular love of the intimate Usonian design.... You can imagine the pleasure of "happening upon" such a building!

But, as we walk further up the street, we come across the next house, nestled behind some great trees. It's also an unmistakable example of Organic-principled architecture. It is a strikingly elegant house which is one-story at street, but then descends 3 stories down into a very steep hillside.

Walking further up this street, we then find another Organic house. This one in the more traditional Usonian sense, and with a fantastic overhanging roof that extends over the carport and into the ground.

If that's not enough, two more houses across the street seem to be of the same designer, although newer.

When we get home, in ecstatic delight, I spend some time Googling. Without knowing the architect's name, and apparently being bad at search engine navigation, I can't find any information on these houses. However, about a month later, one of Milton Stricker's houses in the suburbs gets a remodel and my wife sees an article about it. From there, we're able to learn about Stricker's work, and the backstory, in particular, about the two houses he built for himself. (The first two we happened upon.)

I read his online book, and everything else I can find on him, andyes, we walk past his houses many, many times!

And on a personal note, I'd been thinking for awhile about the lifespan of great design ideas. For me, both Olmsted and Wright capture my imagination in every way. And their ideas are timeless. But, can those ideas be carried on without them?

It's of even deeper resonance to me these houses by Milton Stricker, including two that he built for himself, sit on the edge of an Olmsted park. Because the Olmsted park was not by Frederick, but by his stepson John. Meaning, FLO's design principles were carried out by his successors, (with an elegant compression and release point, using a footpath beneath a bridge), just as Wright's organic principles were carried out by Stricker.

So for me, this little corner of the city, just blocks from where I live, represents not only two design philosophies that I cherish, but also the "passing of the torch" sense of great ideas spreading.

Anyway, that's my story of "happening upon" Milton Stricker. What an amazing experience to just find that sort of architecture in your neighborhood!

Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:50 pm
by Roderick Grant
Kevin W, there is a source: Go to "Journal of the Taliesin Fellows." Back issues are available, also contact information. In addition, several universities subscribed to the journal. The "Taliesin Newsletter," established by the Northern California branch of the Fellows, is still online, but that doesn't go all the way back to the beginning.

Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:25 pm
by Matt
I had a similar experience, but I had know of Stricker's work, so when I saw a very Usonian Automatic looking house in North Seattle, I wondered if it was a Stricker. A little Googling proved me right. Of course, it saddens me that nice little houses in Seattle are now going for over a $million.