For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

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Paul Ringstrom
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For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

SDR
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by SDR »


SDR
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by SDR »

From the Wikipedia page for John S Van Bergen:

"John Shellette Van Bergen (October 2, 1885 – December 20, 1969) was an American architect born in Oak Park, Illinois. Van Bergen started his architectural career as an apprentice draftsman in 1907. In 1909 he went to work for Frank Lloyd Wright at his studio in Oak Park. At Wright's studio he did working drawings for and supervised the Robie House and the Mrs. Thomas Gale House. Van Bergen designed prairie style homes in the Chicago area, mostly in the suburbs of Oak Park and River Forest. His home designs are recognized as excellent examples of Prairie style architecture and several are listed as local landmarks. A few of his homes are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

"In 1897, across the street from the Van Bergen family home, the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Rollin Furbeck House was constructed and four years later the William G. Fricke House went up nearby as well. This further influenced the young Van Bergen. Van Bergen's mother was friends with Wright's mother, Anna, and Van Bergen's third grade teacher was Wright's sister, Maginel. In 1901 John Van Bergen began high school at the old Oak Park and River Forest High School, which was then located on Lake Street. During high school Van Bergen produced his earliest known drawing, a map of the high school district commissioned by the district superintendent. The map was dated June 24, 1904. After high school Van Bergen spent time in Hollywood, California. When he returned from California he soon found an architectural apprenticeship.

"John Van Bergen began his career as an apprentice draftsman working with Walter Burley Griffin in 1907."

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SDR
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by SDR »

It would be useless to deny that Van Bergen's work, at least that shown in an issue of Western Architect from 1915 (reprinted in 1975 by University of Toronto Press, H Allen Brooks, ed.) which highlighted Prairie School work to that date, was influenced by what he experienced while in the employ of Frank Lloyd Wright.

These drawings, from Van Bergen's office, amply illustrate the fact. Let's start with two house designs appearing in that issue; the first two drawings are dated in very small lettering at the bottom right corner of the sheet in each case.

From 1913:
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1915. The debt here is to the Coonley plan:
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Three drawings for an undated house to be built in Oak Park:

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Finally, two wall section drawings from further work:

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It's all there, from roof to foundation: Wright's integral gutter, his exterior trim carefully spaced from the wall for weathering, his visible water table and foundation wall moved to the outside of the building envelope. It is not only the architectural forms which derive from Wright; the detailing again and again conforms to the model established in Wright's studio. Indeed the very handsome drawings themselves echo Wright's early practice (perhaps not unique at the date, admittedly): the inclusion of a wall section running the "wrong way" on a sheet otherwise occupied by a building section or elevation, and the presence of the natural environment---landscape features, trees---within a frame around the subject building.

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SDR
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by SDR »

In August of 2019 we looked at the Cluever house, subject of the last building section above, when the property was for sale.


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SDR
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by SDR »

Maybe, in the case of very sensitive appropriation of another's work, one can actually learn some things, about both the original and the emulation . . .?

In any event, there's a difference on this page, between two versions of the Zuetell house: in the darker longitudinal section drawing, the house is seen to be a split-level, raising the bedroom wing above the living space sufficiently. Some recalculation occurred, and the bedroom level was lowered a bit, and the raised dining room brought down to earth.

What else do we see ? An elongated living room, with the thinnest of tent roofs overhead, a band around the ceiling planes above, and the tent ceiling passing through the lovingly-crafted window wall onto the cantilevered verandah overhead.


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outside in
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by outside in »

Nothing worse than an architectural historian who downplays the significance of a building:


"Yet Guarino also wrote that the house “does not rise to the same level of design” of some of the best-known houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, for whom Van Bergen worked before going into practice on his own. “John Van Bergen cannot be considered an architect of national or international significance, as the bulk of his work was in the suburbs of Chicago.” In their day, she wrote, Van Bergen’s designs were sometimes considered derivative of other architects’ work. "

so can someone please tell me another architect in chicago that rises "to the same level of design as FLW?" I'm sure the developer is going to use her quote as leverage to tear it down. Terrible evaluation by Jean Guarino.

SDR
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by SDR »

One is reminded of the occasion, in 2017, when the owner of a desirable building lot in Marin County, California, containing a vacant Aaron Green residence, hired an "architectural historian" of a sort to denigrate the existing structure, with the transparent motive of convincing the town building department to issue a demolition permit.

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Roderick Grant
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by Roderick Grant »

One wonders how much Ms Guarino was paid for her views.

clydethecat
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by clydethecat »

The attached garage is not original to the house is it?

Roderick Grant
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by Roderick Grant »

Bergen's project for WA Rogers is much more like FLW's project for Elizabeth Stone (Mono 2/248-9; Taschen 1/278; 1906), which was a predecessor of Coonley. Of course, Coonley is a major masterpiece, but I wish Stone had also been built.

SDR
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Re: For Sale: John Van Bergen house in Winetka, IL

Post by SDR »

We don't have a plan for the Elizabeth Stone residence, planned for Glencoe in 1906, but this aerial view shows the design as well as the elevation and ground-level view from the same side of the house do. Wright's description:

"Design for a summer house in the wood. Sleeping rooms, living room with balcony [where ?], and dining room, which may be opened like a porch, and each separated by small, open, flower-filled courts."

Wright at his most persuasive. I suppose the kitchen and perhaps a servant room are behind the chimney.


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