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American System-Built Homes... how many designs wright made?
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guanche



Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 50
Location: Málaga, Spain

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:14 pm    Post subject: American System-Built Homes... how many designs wright made? Reply with quote

American System-Built Homes... how many designs wright made?

it´s curious to see how wright undestood the needs of modern small families too many years ago...

the houses that i know are very well organized and executed... but, how many desings were made ???... and how many desings were finally done ???




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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8596

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although there is a book on the prefabs, the photos are pretty bad and it was published long before a signifcant number of built versions were found. This is one area of study that needs attention.
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Palli Davis Holubar



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 1036
Location: Wakeman, Ohio

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The graphics for American Systems were also designed (graphic & text) by Wright and they are stunning.

One of Wright's flowery speeches was published in the magazine The Western Architect (September 1916). Explaining the organic whole of the idea, he spoke of how long he had the idea in his head and how he needed "quiet" time to ruminate about affordable and beautiful housing. Buried in the middle of the speech he states he doesn't want these plans seen as "an expedient of the moment" yet with WWI looming it, sadly, appeared to be. Has the recent identification of more built American Systems designs changed this view?

..."I believe the world will find in the American System of house construction, the only instance in the world today of a work which has absolute individuality due to a central idea which is the organic integrity of the work.
If the whole organization of the plan by which the American models are to be merchandised is worked out in a broad, healthy way, great things will come out of it. Naturally, I do not want it exploited like a flash in the pan, nor do I want anything done that will make the plan seem an expedient of the moment..." Wright, 1916, to Chicago businessmen- potential dealers for the American Systems designs
Another question: Was Am. Systems a franchise operation?
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outside in



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 1145

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ASB file at the archives is comprised of over 700 drawings and constitutes the largest file at the foundation. It should be noted, however, that Wright was traveling a great deal at the time, and many of the drawings appear to have been accomplished by Russell Barr Williamson, an apprentice from Milwaukee that may have been one of the connections between the architect and client.

The file is incredible in the sense that nearly every building type was explored using the readicut system. Single-family, duplexes, apartment buildings, small commercial buildings, etc. Its hard to tell if it was Mr. Williamson or Wright that made these explorations, but it is a fascinating look at his practice at the time. Unfortunately WW 1 came along at the wrong time.
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Palli Davis Holubar



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 1036
Location: Wakeman, Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OutsideIn- I knew ASB was important and there were many models, but I had no idea it was that bountiful! What an investigation that would be as it relates to Usonians.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8596

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attribution is always tricky, and Williamson was a fine architect, but one way to show that FLW was probably mostly in control of this project is by looking at two significant works: Stephen M. B. Hunt House II (1917) and F. C. Bogk (1916), both of which were refinements of ASB models. Williamson also did his own take on the house that inspired Bogk (at a scale closer to the original), but the end result was quite a distance from the original.

I would like to see the entire ASB collection published. FLW's modest residences of the 30s have been cited as the inspiration for the post-WWII "ranch house," an attribution that belongs more properly to Cliff May. But the value of publishing ASB would be to show what might have been if his ideas had been put to broader use, as opposed to the thin gruel Suburbia was fed instead.
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outside in



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 1145

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In reviewing the ASB file, it was if R. Williamson was left to develop alternative designs while Wright travelled, which is probably why the file is so large. Many of the drawings are crude (not by Wright) and the buildings seemed to lack the thought that Wright typically gave each design. Some of the drawings were marked up, it seemed, by FLW, as if he looked over Williamson's work, chose some of the better plans, and encouraged their development. Regardless, its a very interesting collection.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16264
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

guanche -- where did you find the model, posted above ? Such work is rare, and gives a good look at one of the ASB types. The exterior photo is helpful
in identifying and further understanding the design.

SDR
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16264
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will publish everything I have on these designs, which may (or may not) answer questions about them. There seems to be very little on the bungalow type house. . .

First, can anyone enlighten us on this town house ? Wright published it
in "A Testament" (1956; p 113) as "1912. Project, Small Town House":





A close look reveals that these are two different houses. Note light-colored stone under second tall window from left, in first photo, absent
in second; also (more obviously), walk is in different location.

The color photo (by Simon Clay) is identified as "Arthur L Richards Bungalow, 1835 South Layton St, Milwaukee." There is also an "ALR
Small House" at 2714 W Burnham St in the same city, in the same block as the ALR Duplex Apartments.





Last edited by SDR on Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:09 pm; edited 4 times in total
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16264
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

























Last edited by SDR on Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16264
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last one of these is certainly a "flopped" version of the house modeled above.

Compare to below, and to Model J, above.





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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8596

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR, I think the two bungalow photos are of the same house, just taken at different times with some alterations made. Look, for instance, at the two chimneys; they look identical. As far as I know, this is the only bungalow with faux stone facing. The drawing of the townhouse is one of the Monolith Homes of the early 20s, and is usually credited to Schindler. Though the plan of this house has never been published, if you impose the two-foot square grid that was used on these houses, you will find it hard to find any floor space left over once the stairway is accounted for. There is one Monolith plan published that has a very rigidly symettrical plan obviously by RMS. McCoy says all of them were designed by him, and I tend to agree. The 1912 date is harder to reconcile. If that is indeed an accurate date (FLW often dated his work years after the fact) then I suspect this may not have been a part of Monolith, but I think the date is wrong. The first interior perspective is the bungalow living/dining room. The house next to that is the model for the late Gary, IN house. American Model B1 plan is the cottage, the following plan is the basic bungalow. The last plan is not the cottage that is modeled, nor any of the others pictured.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16264
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Roderick. In what ways is the model not identical to the plans labeled B1 (one each in my two posts, the first "colored in") -- if you account
for the fact that the model is a mirror image (I call it flopped) of the plans ? Every partition and window is there, as well as the front terrace with its
dropped full-length planter. . .as far as I can see.

I looked closely at the stonework of the two images of the bungalow(s), and think I see significant differences. What do you make of the fact that the
two images show a front walk coming to the street differently -- one to the front, the other off to the left ?

SDR
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16264
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very close look at the chimneys of the two houses shows the stone pattern to be identical -- so Roderick is correct that these are the same house.

This house (the Bungalow) is at the corner of West Burnham and South Layton in Milwaukee. The walkway was apparently moved at some point,
from one alignment to the other. Next door to the west is the ALR Small House, and then come the four Duplex Apartments. Storrer says the stone
veneer was added to the Bungalow in 1956.

The Bungalow shows up in its original form, in the second and third photos on this page:

http://www.wrightinmilwaukee.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=fgZmbWeObX0%3D&tabid=69&mid=457

It also appears at the far right in the strip drawing at the bottom of the page.

And, it is seen here: http://www.wrightinmilwaukee.com/TheHomes/ModelC31835SouthLaytonBoulavard/tabid/70/Default.aspx

And here: http://maps.google.com/maps?client=safari&rls=en&q=1835+S+Layton+St+Milwaukee+WI&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&split=0&gl=us&ei=CwJtStnHLJCusgP3stDKDg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8596

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR, I think I was misreading your comment. The plan I referred to is the fuzzy one right under "The last one of the is certainly a ...." which is not represented in any other image. But it would appear on second reading you were referring to American Model B1, which is indeed a flopped version of the built cottage.
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