WBG's Arthur Rule House

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Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4349
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

WBG's Arthur Rule House

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

I just found out that Walter Burley Griffin's Arthur Rule House, here in Mason City, will be back on the market sometime this coming year. This house is a version of Wright's Fireproof House. It has been fully updated.

The current owners, two neurologists, are moving to Albany, NY for professional advancement offers.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

peterm
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Fully updated? Does that mean only systems? Or granite countertops, remuddled kitchen and spa bath?

peterm
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

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Last edited by peterm on Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Rule is the house that was stuffed to the gills with Chinoiserie and a bathroom redone in Belle Époque when I saw it in '84. But most of that was just knick knacks, stuff that could be hauled out to the curb for a yard sale.

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

Post by SDR »

Looking for images of the Rule house, I turned to Dixie Legler's "Prairie Style" (1999, Archetype Press) and its four Rule photos.
But the fifth image I extracted is this page of text, and its surprising contention about the source of Wright's Fireproof House design:


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Photos © 1999 by Christian Korab

SDR
Posts: 19633
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

And there are these nice photos, sent by Paul Ringstrom at about this time of year in 2012.

Paul, does the house look like this today ?



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The uphill volume is the original house -- i.e., the two photos immediately above. Where the two-story addition stands today was a single-story covered verandah.





Griffin, 1912 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wright, 1907. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4349
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

SDR wrote:Paul, does the house look like this today?
Yes, the exterior remains unchanged. A new kitchen was installed
by the previous owner. All the "systems" have been updated.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10302
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

The enclosure of the veranda is unfortunate, though it probably should have been seen coming as the house was being built. Interesting and fortunate that there has never been an accommodation for another auto. There would be room for it to the east of the building.

Paul, the times I have been in Mason City, the Page House was not open. Have you been inside? Is it interesting and intact? I have also wondered about the Drake House by Einar Broaten. He seemed to be on the right track, even though unconnected to the Prairie gang.

Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4349
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

While WBG's 1906 Peters house is usually cited as the origin of the open L-shaped plan with the living room/dining room pivoting around a central chimney, I believe the 1903 Robie Lamp house is the origin of this idea. Many FLW critics have given WBG credit for this building based especially on its corner massing and the third floor trellised garden room.

Wright's Fireproof House was published in the April 1907 Ladies Home Journal.

There are four houses in Mason City with a first floor L-shaped plan similar to FLW's Fireproof House (or should I say Robie Lamp House): FLW's Stockman House, WBG's Rule and Melson Houses, and WED's Yelland House.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4349
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Roderick Grant wrote:The enclosure of the veranda is unfortunate, though it probably should have been seen coming as the house was being built. Interesting and fortunate that there has never been an accommodation for another auto. There would be room for it to the east of the building.

Paul, the times I have been in Mason City, the Page House was not open. Have you been inside? Is it interesting and intact? I have also wondered about the Drake House by Einar Broaten. He seemed to be on the right track, even though unconnected to the Prairie gang.
I don't know what year the second-floor addition was added above the veranda to the Rule House, but it was nicely integrated IMHO. The basement level could accommodate a double depth garage with a few structural changes.

The Page House is owned and lovingly restored by Gary Schmit the owner of Henkel Construction which restored the Historic Park Inn. The house has a wonderful unobstructed view of the privately-owned park and creek to the east. Bob McCoy used to host an annual Christmas party for RC/RG that Gary now hosts and which we attended last week.

The Drake House needs an owner with the resources to restore this house. The architect "appropriated" many of Griffin's original design for Drake, including the window muntins. The interesting thing about this house is the main house has a hip roof and the garage a gable, making the garage appear to be a later addition, but both were original. Certainly, a "feature" that most architects would avoid.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

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

Post by SDR »

First, Rule in its original configuration, drawn and photographed:



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Rule, prior to 1977 -- the porch at right presumably replaces the open porch at left in above views:

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Published plan, and alternate version as found in "The Prairie School in Iowa" (source of most material in this post), p 95:

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Last edited by SDR on Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
Posts: 19633
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Griffin's Page house:

http://www.prairieschooltraveler.com/ht ... /page.html

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Einar Broaten. Note references to Griffin and Barry Byrne . . .

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Images and text © 1977 by Richard Guy Wilson, Sidney K Robinson and by The Iowa State University Press, Ames

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Apparently much of the allure of the Drake House came from Broaten's copying of WBG's original plan. Einar's subsequent work leaves much to be desired. Rather heavy-handed.

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

Post by SDR »

The exterior form of the Rule house, so Wrightian as a Fireproof-like cube even if Wright never got around to those extruded-cube corners, has echoes further downstream -- or perhaps upstream, as it turns out.

In H Allen Brooks, "The Prairie School" (Norton Library; 1972), we are given a brief look at Percy Dwight Bentley, La Crosse, Wisconsin's native son and Wright-influenced architect. Bentley (1885 - 1968) "never
personally knew or studied with any of the prairie group. He represents, therefore, a fascinating example . . . of how a man could be inspired by the work and assimilate enough knowledge and feeling for it to
successfully adapt it to his practice."

Bentley attended Wesleyan University and then Armour Institute. "Our mornings were spent at the Art Institute and afternoons out at Armour. The office of Frank Lloyd Wright was in a building almost directly a-
cross Michigan Avenue from the Art Institute so I frequently saw him with his cape, cane and low crowned broad brim hat. Louis Sullivan . . . was in an office not far from Wright's." This would have been c. 1907
or -8.

"I became very much indoctrinated with both (Wright and Sullivan), so when I opened my office in La Crosse it plainly showed in most of my work, which was mostly residential."

Brooks: "The 1910 Edward C Bartl house . . . is perhaps Bentley's first executed work; its antecedents and inventiveness combine to make it a fascinating design." Brooks goes on to mention, first, the Fireproof
House of Wright, and also, in re the pointed glazed prow which so well lights the stair, the Magnus house of Robert C Spencer. Jr.

Further: "One is tempted to ascribe the corner piers (of the Bartl house; see below) to a knowledge of Griffin's Gunn and Rule houses[,] yet Bentley's design is earlier . . ." Brooks mentions also a "huge, arched
brick fireplace" and "delicate leaded glass covering numerous built-in cupboards and cabinets."


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Brooks continues: "The Bartl house is a small (covering 35 x 30 feet) yet choice design. Soon after completion it was visited by Mr and Mrs Alois Fix who were determined to have a house like those being published by the Midwest
school." The resulting house was found via Google, today; it's a handsome brick and plaster, hipped-roof complex on a nice corner lot across from a park.


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SDR
Posts: 19633
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

So -- could Griffin have found his Rule at Bartle ? Well, we could just as well, and perhaps more credibly, go back to Griffin's own Emery house of 1902 -- according to Brooks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H ... _Jr._House

But is the Emery example a proper antecedent to Bartl, Fix, and Rule ? The Emery piers lift a gable-roofed vessel from the ground; the vessel extends past the supports at its
ends. Bartl and Fix could be read as hipped-roof cubical variants of Emery, while Rule is purely a cubic form contained by its corner bastions. The piers at Emery read as solids,
while the corners of the other three houses are also read as containment of interior volume . . .

S

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