Suntop Homes - One for Rent, One for Sale

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jhealy
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Location: Oak Park, IL

Suntop Homes - One for Rent, One for Sale

Post by jhealy »

There was an earlier post about one of the Suntop Homes being for rent. I was looking for that website today and came across some other info/pictures about the Suntop Homes. One is currently for sale. Here are some links:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lamidesign ... 9981/show/

http://homes.longandfoster.com/Real-Est ... 19003-3117

http://www.franklloydwrightsuntop.com/

http://modernhomesphiladelphia.com/fran ... 20327.html


Jay

Roderick Grant
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***Finally! Interiors of Suntop!***

Post by Roderick Grant »

That is one FLW building I would love to live in, if I could tear myself away from SoCal for Ardmore, PA. $490 seems a bit spendy, though.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

I agree, Roderick, Suntop is a tour de force... The interlocking spaces create a wonderful puzzle.

Palli Davis Holubar
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Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

Does anyone have any information on the wood ceiling lamp of with multiple translucent sheets of glass or plexi?

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Does anyone have any information on the wood ceiling lamp of with multiple translucent sheets of glass or plexi?
Not exactly, but I can say that when I visited Suntop in the '80's as a student and saw the exteriors of multiple units, I could see that the light was common to all of the units I saw. When illuminated, it lights not only the dining mezzanine but also the living area and is noticeable from the exterior. Seeing it in multiple units causes me to suspect that the fixture is either a Wright design, or a ready made item specified at the time of construction. The drawings in the archives (or a Monograph) would be the definitive answer.

Jeff Myers
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Post by Jeff Myers »

It looks Wrightian to me, and seems familiar. I think I have seen a wood form at Taliesin from a photo.

Wonderful home,if only I had the cash to buy it and to move then I would be in heaven but I will just look at through the window,so to speak.

The interior seems very comfortable and and open.
JAT
Jeff T

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

M6,134 shows elevations and cross-section of a similar light built into the railing overlooking the living room where the rail terminates at the stair. However, the 'fins' of this vertical, unbuilt fixture are 6 slender wood pieces. The top board of the balcony wraps up and around the built-in piece. Very handsome and much more Wright-like than the ones in place. Two of the units are shown in the last link, both with the same ceiling fixture. The one for rent is S248.2, which is closest to original condition. The one for sale is S248.3, most altered: The carport was enclosed, the floor dropped, and the entire roof terrace enclosed. A new carport was added by the roadside.

I think Storrer's scale is wrong. He shows 3'0" square, but all the plans show 2'9". Thickness of floors is 2 3/4"! Some of the writing is tiny and too faint for me to read, so I may not be getting everything correct, but it looks like 2" x 3" boards were laid adjacent and covered on top with linoleum.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Image


Image

SDR
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Post by SDR »

In the case of this exterior lantern, the slats are not glass but mitered flat planes of wood. Not shown is the method of access to the lamps; presumably one or more of the slat frames slides out and can be removed.

The composition of the side elevation suffers, in my view, from the fact that the surrounding C-shaped frame, being mitered, is constant in width; because the slat frames slide into it, the vertical member of this frame is reduced in apparent width, weakening the proportions of the ensemble. Perhaps, somehow, this would not be so apparent in the three-dimensional reality of the construction -- but I doubt it. At night, with the lamps lit, the simple symmetry of the design would be disturbed, as each plane of the slatted surround would receive strong illumination from a different direction, from the two lamps immediately behind.

In any event, this gilding of a quite Spartan construction (perhaps Wright's piece-de-resistance of structural minimalism ?), was deemed redundant, or perhaps unaffordable ?

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I strongly disagree with your assessment of the design of the lamp, SDR. The frame must be constant in width, otherwise the light would not be integrated as a part of the whole. As excellent as the design is, the fixture would, however, not cast much light. It would be more of a feature unto itself, rather than a means of lighting a significant amount of space.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

That's okay -- just my personal take on it. Wright was certainly a stylist (despite protestations) as well as a genius architect, and he had his off days. At least there's something out there for everyone ! In this case, material logic rather that proportional finesse ruled the day, as I see it, and I have equal sympathy for both components of the design discipline. Real success combines both in the same object, and Mr Wright was unusually successful in that regard . . . usually.

I've considered the possibility that the lantern would look right if the mitered seams of the frame were invisible; nope, say I, the proportions would be the same in either event. Poor Mr Wright just can't win, sometimes . . . with me !

SDR

peterm
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Post by peterm »

I see nothing wrong at all with Wright's design. If we were to see an accurate perspective drawing, or a photograph of a model, it might aid you in making your case as to what troubles you about the proportions..

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The fault (as I see it) is plain enough: the thick horizontals above and below the lantern are (apparently and irrevocably) connected by a vertical member just over half that width, making the construction visually weak -- based on the correct unconscious impression that something heavy is inadequately supported. One wants to move those slats to the right, so that the three-sided frame is equally "strong" all the way around.

The full width of the vertical is hidden by the slats, due to shadow and perspective -- but the simple line drawing in elevation presents essentially the same problem, clearly enough.

In this case there isn't a structural fault, since the frame is merely decorative -- face boards applied to the structure of the house. But the visual impression is the same in either case. One wants to correct the situation, at least by reducing the frame member above the lantern to the (apparent) width of the vertical member supporting it, say. But the three frame boards are mitered to each other (at the standard and expected 45º angle) so they must remain at identical widths.

As simple and straightforward as the present result is, it is inherently hampered by the problem I mention -- and the designer solves this by discarding the design in favor of one which avoids the conundrum. At least, that's how I work . . . and so does Mr Wright, with the occasional and (to me) surprising exception.

SDR

Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

A little background:

Tony Smith was the apprentice who worked on Suntop homes and Mr Wright was impressed with his efforts enough to make him Clerk of the Works on his next project as an apprentice: The Armstrong House in Ogden Dunes IN. After that, he made his way to Columbus OH along with laborer Ted Van Fossen and apprentice Laurence Cuneo to design/build my hew house: glen brow (aka the Gunning House).

SDR
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Post by SDR »

So, perhaps the talented Mr Smith is responsible for those ceiling fixtures with glass planes ?


One certainly can't blame Mr Wright for wanting to notch his lantern slats into their supporting frame. Nor can we be surprised to see him playing, here, with turning his board wall upright and over, with miters. Another drawing, also noted "Edited for Feb 10, 1940," shows an elevation with zig-zag treatment of one portion of the exterior wall. But in these drawings there is no brick yet; a unique patterned poured-concrete wall is substituted. By the time of construction both these features (vertical mitering, and concrete walls) are gone.

The construction of the stepped board wall is also in flux, in the mostly undated drawings found in Monograph 6. In the drawing above we have the boards simply fastened to themselves to make a canted plane; the tops of boards on the back-sloped face are protected and decorated with a special batten, whether exposed to the weather or not. But in another (undated) drawing (Pl 133) the canted wall is constructed of two thicknesses of boards, "Insulation paper between," reminiscent of the Pauson wall but without the air space, the boards assembled in a half-lapped manner. On this drawing the deck parapet wall is composed of a single layer of boards with gaps between, resulting in a greater cant angle for this wall. The construction is unclear; a note says "See F.S. Section Sheet 6."

The earlier Pew house shows still another solution to the problem of the canted lapped-board wall, perhaps the most elegant of all -- in all these walls Mr Wright clearly intends a plumb face to the boards. A Pew drawing in Mono 6 shows a canted 5/8" plywood core ("Low Grade Fir Plywood) with paper on both sides and a surface of "weather boards" -- tapered clapboards with a lap detail at the thicker edge, perhaps a standard lumber-yard item (Hosanna !).

How any of these walls were actually built is unknown to me.

SDR

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