Larkin Administration Building visuals

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pmahoney
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concrete

Post by pmahoney »

The lighter section is tinted concrete, the darker is the stone used in most locations. We believe it was part of the original construction at part of the rear of the building.

David
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Post by David »

interesting. You would agree with the following scheme ?

Image

The result will be something like this:

Image

Again, this is only a test, I still have to work with the materials but that's something that will take me some time.

If I had to bet, I'd say the base is concrete:

Image

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I'd like Pat to weigh in on this, as he's been at the site. David, what has been your experience ? I assume you have Jack Quinan's book; have you been able to visit the site ? I'm still trying to assess what's seen in those close-up photos. Are they yours ?

One possibility to contend with is that the tinted concrete, assuming it is original to the construction, may have faded in color; whatever pigments were added to the mix would have been at far lower concentration than are the pigmented contents of stone or brick.

One photo shows, among other things, some coated concrete, the coating being very pale. Do we have to do carbon dating to know the ages of the various elements in that one remarkable photo ? Note the wear to the red stone; what was once square (?) is now beveled and rounded.

Another question I have: do you intend to present the building as it was when new, or as it was after some years of existence ? My choice would be the unweathered condition, because it would present the freshest colors and the most uniform textures. If that is indeed the case, then the test you show is quite convincing, with the possible exception of the gray base.

Do we not think that the intent would be a uniform color throughout ? Pat's photo shows a red sidewalk . . .

SDR

Tom
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Post by Tom »

So, is the famous shot of Larkin really the "back" of the building?
While the "front" is the elevation with the arch, which has something of a plaza in front of it adjacent to a main transportation artery, like Midway?

pmahoney
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Larkin entry and concrete

Post by pmahoney »

From my recollection, The arched entry at the rear of the building on the ground floor gave access to the mail trucks that brought in large numbers of letters/ orders.

The entire front of the building used stone from grade upward. There is a twenty foot section of tinted concrete on the remaining intact fence pier at the rear of the site. When we built the phantom pier (front left of the complex) we incorporated the remaining stone base. Much of the stone base at the front of the building (fence line) was removed in the last thirty years.
All of the original sidewalks were thought to be grey concrete, the red sections in my photo have been added to interpret locations like the atrium and main entry.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Tom, the Swan Street façade with the arched opening was the back. The trucks that drove into the building through that entrance delivered thousands of letters each day. However, the Seneca Street entrance was repeated on Swan, as the plans show, gaining access to the same entry lobby, and sporting the same glass doors and fountain.

Tom
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Post by Tom »

Got it.
Thank you.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Quinan does not supply the reader with a photo of the Swan Street arched opening, but it appears in this drawing, on p 45:

Image

Note that a fountain is not included in this elevation. The other differences as compared to the opposite elevation at the top
of this page are also interesting. Quinan details the changes that occurred during the design process . . .


The intaglio panels above the two fountains vary slightly:

Image p 93

Image p 92


Most interesting of all, perhaps, is this construction photo, which clearly shows the building base at the entrance not adorned -- yet -- with its fountain and panel:

Image p 57

pages © 1987 by Jack Quinan



As to color, the fountain and panel in many photos is distinctly different in tone from the stone building base below it. As the panel with intaglio decoration is finely carved, and
was added to the building after the brick and stone was in place, might it be possible that the material was different from the red sandstone found throughout the exterior of the
building -- including presumably the large sculpture with orb that caps the columns ? In most photos the fountain and panel appear lighter than all the other trim. The question
then is, was the harder (?) material also red in color ? Based on the few colorized images we have, the answer appears to be yes.

SDR

JimM
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Post by JimM »

SDR wrote:The book on the building, by Jack Quinan, mentions only red sandstone as the material for trim, presumably including the exterior sculpture and the intaglio panels above the fountains. So, relying on the material samples above, David should tint these parts of the model to match ?

It may be that the fountains were made of slightly paler red sandstone.

Older colorized images, as well as many black-and-white photos, seem to support these readings:

http://www.monroefordham.org/Projects/L ... istory.htm

http://www.islandbreath.org/2014Year/06 ... orybig.jpg

http://www.steinerag.com/flw/Periodicals/LarkinIdea.htm

SDR
A note found on the last link mentions: "The building was constructed of dark red brick, utilizing pink tinted mortar."

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Ah. So, a monochrome effect -- something we see in Wright from time to time -- was the intent ? Let's model it that way, and see what it looks like . . .

SDR
Last edited by SDR on Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom
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Post by Tom »

I'd never in my life seen that elevation drawing with the arch.
Amazing.
Might just have to purchase Quinan.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The first time I saw pink crushed rock, I knew I was someplace special. It was the driveway of the Max Hoffman residence, in my home town.
Neil and I were in the rocky and woodsy part of town, seeking modernism on our bikes. We'd heard there might be a Frank Lloyd Wright house
down on Manursing Island. He rode a blue Schwinn Roadmaster; here's me on my Rudge three-speed:



Image

Tom
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Post by Tom »

Very tidy.

David
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Post by David »

Patrick, thanks for the clarification, so I can forget the whole idea of the tinted concrete in my images.

SDR, Must I introduce myself? I'm an architect, I´m Spanish (excuse me for any spelling mistakes) I have a wife, two daughters and a hamster and I am a great admirer of FLLW work (like everyone here, I guess). I read some books, including Jack Quinan, but I'm far from consider myself an expert on the subject and that's why I need your inputs. My area of expertise, if I had to choose one, would be the architectural visualization.

And back to the subject, I've never been to the place where the Larkin building was built and those photographs are not mine, I found them online. I intend to present the building in its greatest splendor, although some degree of use and dirtiness is necessary to make the images look real.

Thank you gentlemen, I think I have enough information to improve my images, as soon as I have something I will show you. The question of the sculptures is still open, I'll try to introduce a lighter tone than in the rest.
Last edited by David on Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Reidy
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Post by Reidy »

Joseph Siry p 144 reports that Wright at one time wanted crushed red granite aggregate for Unity Temple.

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