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Millard and Storrer and Ennis are all too dark inside for my taste.
But for true artistry, La Min beats Cooke hands down. I don't find any of the block houses, especially Ennis, at all dark ... until sunset. It's very hard to illuminate the interiors at night without a system like the one in that Jack Howe house on the market.
But I suppose it's apples and oranges.
Our friend Laurie would be horrified by the lumpy faceted curves of the sheetrock and millwork at Cooke. His own hemicycles are flawlessly wrought in those particulars -- though the task of wrapping sheetrock around a convex or concave ceiling vault that's curved in plan, and finishing with a perfect arc at the ridge, would daunt me if the task were mine. I guess there are experts in every field . . .
Perhaps his ceilings are plastered ?
I fixed the rafters at 600 mm on centers, their undersides feathered on the concave side, and bevelled to the convex. The sheets were 3600 and 4200 mm long, and 1200 wide, and it was necessary for me to devise templates before they were cut. I also made a number of adjustable props to assist me in maneuvering the sheets into position. It requires little imagination to appreciate that progress was extremely slow.
The distance on centers between the mullions on the north side of the hemicycle is a little over 1200 mm, making it preferable to fix the sheets length ways around the arc, and obviating the need for unnecessary joints.
The lesson I learned was that if something is wanted enough, one can find a means of achieving it. As a consequence of this, and similar experiences, money would not buy this house.
Many of the Usonion houses have red brick masonry and red floors. I suggest these elements work well together, whereas the red floor with the lighter brick of the Cooke house does not seem as appropriate. Would a muted yellow have fitted the scheme better?
It is to be noted that construction of the Cooke house did not commence until 2 weeks prior to Frank Lloyd Wrightâ€™s passing. Whilst the ground plan of the hemicycle portion of the house is brilliant, there are numerous indications that the detailing is not as consistent as is the case with most all the other Usonians. The dining table bears no relationship to the radial, or the 60/30 modules of the house, whilst much of the freestanding furniture would be more fitted if in the foyer of Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
If Frank Lloyd Wright had not been immersed in his work on the Guggenheim Museum, would he have approved the color of brick chosen for the Cooke house, and if so, would he have opted for the red floor?
Are we to ascribe the poor standard of construction to an inexperienced apprentice, and the colors of brick and floor to the taste of Olgivanna?
When Jack Hillmer designed the Ludekens house he took into account the color of the granite mass of the fireplace, together with that of the joinery and furniture, and chose dark green for the concrete floor.
I would suggest that it looked fine.
Here in Australia, given the color of the sky, and those of the landscape, a red concrete floor would look entirely out of place, whereas in North American conditions it can be appropriate for both floor and bricks to be of that hue.
It is almost as tho, for the Usonian house, there was a formula, of which the red concrete floor slab was an inviolable element. Given Jack Hillmerâ€™s success with the Ludekens house is it beyond the pale to suggest that a dark green slab could be appropriate with unpainted concrete masonry units, or a muted yellow one with brown or buff colored bricks?
Ludekens: Unfinished redwood (looks like rough sawn to me...) in the interior combined with the dark green floor and natural colored concrete makes a refined palette. It's interesting how light in color value redwood can be when left without oil or varnish... He used 30' long boards for the kitchen ceiling, and a 21' stainless one-piece stainless steel countertop! Redwood plywood for the inside of the exterior deck railing, solid t and g boards for the outside, capped with a true 2 by 4? All of this must be concealing some sort of thin steel framing ...
One clever, yet completely impractical and slightly sadistic idea was the placement of the switches for the electric stove behind the burners on the window sill.
Courtesy of SDR...SDR wrote:Hillmer's Ludekens house, 1949, Belvedere Island, CA.