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Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

I'm working on the model still and getting the roof to sit nice and neatly on the plan is proving to be a bit maddening. I'm starting to wonder if the big wigwam roof over the main portion of the cabin is meant to be asymmetrical. What do you all think? I find it interesting that the red lines on the sheet, which I assume to be the roof outline and ridges, does not totally correspond to the plan. The exact center of the octagon is the prow of the fireplace, but the center of the gables of either wing intersect a bit above that.

I don't like playing architect if I don't have to, but I may be forced to in order to get this thing to simply function.

Also, the elevation doesn't match the perspective in terms of the skylight in the central roof. And I don't think the perspective matches the plan in terms of the recesses on either side of the protruding window element in the bedrooms, though this is less easy to see. Decisions will have to be made, but I am leaning towards the perspective as the final (and best looking) version.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

It'd fascinating, if not surprising, that each drawing depicts a slightly different version of the design. We see this in Wright all the time. ( And, no publication yet has taken on the unenviable task of assigning a chronological
order to whatever selection of images the editors have chosen to reproduce. In the Monographs B B Pfeiffer gave up on that entirely, it seems, in the choice and display of drawings -- though one will find lists of drawings and
their catalog numbers, at the back of each book, for what that may be worth. Does anyone believe that the number suffixes were chosen only after a thorough study of the project, in each case ?)

When you say asymmetrical, you mean about the principal axis of the plan ? I see that the red lines fail to be quite parallel to the ridge of each wing -- one of them, at least, which I guess explains the asymmetry ? I'm surprised
to hear you hesitate to put on your architect's hat, as it will be necessary in order to solve Wright's problem for yourself (and the rest of us). How else ?

(If you mean do the wing roof ridges center on the rooms below, I don't necessarily expect that, no . . .)

I certainly do expect to see the roof appear symmetrical, yes. And the perspective view would be the one most likely to contain whatever resolutions and "best choices" the architect had reached; the perspective drawing, even
without color, is the most labor-intensive of the set, of course . . .

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

This plan is not a regular octagon. If it were, the sides of all eight of the dividing triangles, from the corners at the eaves to the center, would be isosceles, which they obviously are not. Letter the 8 points of the irregular shape A, B, C,... H, from the right-most point clockwise, and the center point at the prow X. Clearly lines BX and DX are shorter than the rest. This is why the center lines dividing the two bedrooms meet at a different center point. Nor is X the center point of line AE, nor of line CG. Angles BCD and FGH are each 120 degrees, not 135. Moreover, triangles FGX and GHX are 30/60/90 right triangles, as are BCX and CDX.

What you have is an arrangement that is symmetrical about only one axis, CG. The slope of each roof element is not consistent all around, except insofar as each roof slope has a matching slope opposite line CG.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Yes; we gathered that this isn't a conventional octagon. The matter of the eccentric centerpoint is of the greatest interest, in any event ?


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It seems clear that the diagonals in red which radiate from approximately the center of the hearth/prow are intended to be ridge lines. What surprises me is that they are not mirrored, exactly,
about axis GC. The left-hand one fails to center itself over the pointed terminal of the left-hand bedroom; compare to the one at right. Thus, they also fail to meet exactly on the GC centerline.

Why, oh why ?

SDR

Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

This plan is maddening! I thought this would be a fairly simple exercise to get the basics down and it is not. What is frustrating is that I don't, as yet, understand why it is not symmetrical along the A-E axis as shown in the labeled plan. It's especially frustrating because I think I just about got the whole thing to work using proper symmetry. We'll have to see.

It has bothered me from the get-go that as drawn it lacks symmetry. If you look at the black and white copy of the plan a few pages back (the grid lines are stronger) you can clearly see that from the point of the fireplace prow, there are 14 squares to point G but only 13 squares to point C.

What confuses the matter more is that the red horizontal line E-X-A does not line up with the actual floor plan. Why would the roof be designed to be less symmetrical than the plan? I think it has to do with the way the two bedroom wings interact with the octagon but I can't be sure just yet.

All this is very helpful from the point of correctness, and I'd like to single out Roderick for being the king of the nit-pickers (and I truly mean that as a compliment, one nit-picker to another). I just wish it wasn't so convoluted.

As an aside, I have a question about the masonry. Assuming that the retaining wall and chimney are some form of block (rather than poured in place concrete) how tall should a course be? Measuring off of the elevation it seems to be 1'-4", which is our grid unit. However that seems a bit tall to me. That's fine if it's a stone block, but not if it's concrete. Could this all be dressed stone? That's a heck of a lot of carving for a cabin.

As always, thank you all for your wonderful analysis.

Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

And looking at the plan I just realized what was causing all my confusion. there is a vertical line between F and D and also H and B. It appears to be connecting the points of the angles, but in fact it does not. It connects architectural elements that are just a bit off of the vertices. When you adjust the plan based on the location of the actual points, it all makes sense. I'm going to have to do some re-configuring.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Well, no one promised us that Wright's angular plans (and we have people pointing out that they were just getting underway in earnest, at about this
time) would be simple simply because they typically employ orthodox angles --15, 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 degrees.

It seems to me that, with this plan and many another, by Wright or whoever, bilateral symmetry is the game of the day. For whatever reason, the
designer chose to swing his bedroom wings toward the down-slope; with this move he abandons quadrilateral symmetry -- and so should we, to
keep up ?

The off-center X-point of the roof, if Wright has finished with it at this point (I have my doubts, based on the error I pointed to), need not keep us from
accepting this work as complex yet orderly. Yes, I suspect the answer is in the deployment of the bedrooms: their width as it intersects the main body,
their placement on or off an axis that runs either through the geometric center of that figure, or off-center, as seems to be the case.

I'm not sure that I'd employ the term "symmetry" when examining these part and pieces in their various relationships to certain axes -- other than to
specify that whatever happens to the right of the GC axis occurs, mirrored, on the left ?

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

It is wise to keep in mind that FLW was never very tidy about his drawings. He could tear through a drawing with T-square and Triangle at record speed, and if lines didn't connect with precision (as is the case with the bedroom center lines and the fireplace), well, too bad. See where the centerline of bedroom left intersects the corner of the closet at a slightly different location than centerline of bedroom right, enough of a discrepancy to shift their intersection to the left of the fireplace.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Regarding an earlier question, aren't all the LA Textile Blocks 16" square ?

SDR

Matt
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Post by Matt »

Rod, can you ID Wright's hand in various drawings? I assume the more sketchy drawings are his and that he would assign an apprentice to clean them up.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, yes, all the LA textile houses use 16" blocks. Even the unbuilt projects were 16", up until Lloyd-Jones.

Matt, the cleaner a drawing, the less likely it is to be FLW. Many employee or apprentice drawings were edited by Himself, but going all the way back to the early days of Oak Park, FLW did not do the bulk of drawings. He could, as evidenced by his "Project: Drawing Shown to Lieber Meister When Applying for a Job 1887," and "Project: House for Henry N. Cooper, La Grange, Illinois, 1890," which is the plan of the earlier project. Those were done before he had an established practice of his own, when he had to rely on his own abilities. But once he was in charge of employees, especially the gifted MMG, he relegated much of the drawing to them. He did, however, draw the view from the shore of Lake Michigan, looking up toward the Thomas Hardy House; MMG later added the magnolia blossom.

A much later drawing in his own hand, beginning to end, is the very rough "How to Live in the Southwest," 1950, the original scheme for the David Wright House which he famously drew in less time than it took him to draw Fallingwater. But all the rest of the drawings were done by apprentices.

Geiger once said FLW wouldn't do anything that wasn't fun. He had lots of people around him to do the drudgery, so he could concentrate on the fun stuff.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

And there you have it, the last piece of the puzzle that is Frank L Wright ? Work is play, or it's not work at all. It's a wise man who learns some form of that lesson, and a fortunate one as a result.

Roderick's comment suggesting a means of recognizing a Wright from an apprentice drawing is so apt. And there's a gradient, from lightly-improved to fully abused, in the degree to which the Old Man
(I'm sorry, to me that's an affectionate moniker) took pencil to another's sheet.

The cover of John Sergeant's Usonian book sports a dandy example, enlarged:

Image



And in this view of the Ayn Rand project, even at this scale, it is easy to spot the heavy hand in graphite corrections to the operable fenestration, again, as well as some foliage
shadows -- and a major alteration of the terrain ? An addition to the masonry at the crown ?

Image

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

That view of the Rand Project is a reconstruction of a 3-unit apartment building for the All-Steel Project of 1937. The alterations at top and bottom were done to adjust the design for Rand. She never acquired a lot ... she couldn't make up her mind if she wanted to build in California or Connecticut ... so the addition to the steepness of the slope was just an aesthetic adjustment, whereas for All-Steel there was an actual site. The original pencil drawing was altered to make the base and tower stone, instead of concrete, while the vertical striations, part of the All-Steel building, survived. Color was also added.

exple1947
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Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:19 pm

Post by exple1947 »

I have never observed estimated segment illustrations, plan subtle elements, and so forth, considerably less CDs of any sort, for this task; nothing unexpected, as the commission was never fulfilled.

Exploit Tahoe's shoreline and mountain conditions, and there are such a significant number of Lake Tahoe winter season exercises in the distinctive towns to do.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

The All Steel Houses project, for Los Angeles, bears a closer look. I don't find a multi-unit building in the literature at hand. An interesting question: in how many cases did Mr Wright re-assign a design, substituting the major materials along the way ?

There's a possible larger building at far left in one of the drawings below.

By way of context, this entry in found, in Mono 6 and Tachen II, adjacent to Wingspread, Suntop and Florida Southern College. One would love to know how steel connections were to be made without "bolts, screws, or mechanical fastenings" . . .


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