Glenbrow/Gunning Tower Restoration

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Posts: 132
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:09 pm

Glenbrow/Gunning Tower Restoration

Post by Modmom1 »

The Glenbrow Tower was designed by Ted van Fossen in 1964 for Robert and Mary Gunning for use as office space, work space and a guest suite with a roof terrace with a Murphy bed. The structure was connected to the carport which added 2 more bays at the time for a total of 4. The original lower level had a kiln and work table, the entry level was Mr Gunning's office, the third level was a bedroom/bathroom and the final was the roof terrace.

Ted van Fossen(TvF) had worked on the original main house in 1940 with Tony Smith and Larry Cuneo, left for Los Angeles and by 1956 had returned to Ohio where he partnered with Martha and Dick Wakefield on Rush Creek Village, a community in Worthington, OH of nearly 50 homes all inspired by Wright's Usonian principles. Although TvF had spent a year at The New Bauhaus (under the direction of Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, and he worked as a laborer alongside FLW apprentices Smith and Cuneo, he never had a formal architectural education.

Like the main house, the tower sat with little maintenance from 2006 to the time we purchased it in 2014. It was left open to the elements and suffered even worse damage than the 1940 main house. Although we sealed it up after a mold remediation, our initial focus was on the main house. Joe discovered several serious design flaws that lead to the poor condition. The drainage on both the roof over the stairwell and the roof terrace was done incorrectly, causing water to penetrate the corners and avoid the scuppers. The entire roofing structure was removed, correctly rebuilt with crickets and flashing and a new roof was installed. From there they worked on replacing compromised structure (most) and laid new subfloor. New operable Marvin windows were installed. Joe created a bris soleil on the ravine side to facilitate the installation of the window. A new egress window was added to the bedroom (3rd Level) and counter level windows were added similar to the main house to add light to a dark space. There were 2 entry level doors, placed back to back which made no sense. One was removed and new entry doors (lower, entry and roof levels were added, There was VERY LITTLE salvable material due to deterioration.

This is a work in progress and the goal is to finish up sealing the exterior before cold weather hits. Once the structure is approved, the trades will return to install all new plumbing, electrical and hvac systems.
Some photos to scroll through: ... 594815836/

Posts: 8121
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Post by DavidC »

It's coming along great, Dori! Fantastic work by you, Joe and those you've hired to rescue the Tower. I remember when my wife and I toured it a few years before you had purchased it. It was in very tough shape then. It looked to be on the verge of being a demo.

Congratulations - and thanks - for saving it!


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