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Look inside Wright's Laura Gale house in Oak Park
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5383
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, yes... Not such a big deal in California, but with Chicago winters, that is a drawback, isn't it? Looking at the street view, we see the gravel driveway leading to the right side of the house. Wouldn't there be enough space for a Prairie Style carport, maybe disguised as a pergola?
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7328

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder how popular knock-offs of Mies' Barcelona Chair would be if they were all at the original scale, a full meter square in plan.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's hard to tell from Google whether the driveway is for Gale or the larger house next door.

Another drawback: Just south of Gale is a huge apartment complex along Kenilworth. Whenever multifamily buildings invade a single-family neighborhood, the threat of contamination looms. Oak Park would most likely do its best to keep that from happening, but the pressure of rising real estate values makes it hard to resist. In fact, that may be one of the considerations of the pricing of Gale.

When I first arrived in LA in '66, Kings Road from Melrose Ave. to Santa Monica Blvd. was one of the nicest streets in WeHo, with private residences, including RMS' duplex. In short order, the entire street, luring people to the area based on its arboreal beauty, became dominated by huge apartment buildings, thus destroying the nature of the place that gave it its allure. Two of the last four private residences finally fell last summer.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

. . . thus the need for *gasp* government regulation, in the form of zoning ?

I dimly recall seeing Gill's Dodge residence on Kings Road, when being given my first tour of LA, fresh off the plane, c. 1980. Yet the Internet says it was demolished in 1970. Funny how the mind works . . .

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dodge was vacant and owned by Lytton S&L in '66. Its destruction brought about the Los Angeles Conservancy, the preservation agency that strives to avoid such calumny. The greater loss was the Aaron Green design just to the south of Dodge.
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
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Location: Burlington, WA

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My immediate impression seeing Gale was no evidence of ever having access from the street.... and the curvature of the street squeezed it between the neighboring lots.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13972
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh. So, a house to be dropped into from the sky -- or maybe only accessed from a rear alley, perhaps ?

What is the house from the same period that now has an artful jungle between sidewalk and house ? Is that the Charles E Brown residence ?

SDR
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13972
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a designer I have no trouble sympathizing with Mr Wright's impetus to obscure the entrance portal of a house or other building -- though I believe it is only in the residences where this phenomenon occurs, again and again. What automotive designer wouldn't rather not have to wrestle with doors, when the real desire is to create a continuous and uninterrupted envelope ? After the Winslow house, Mr Wright moves progressively toward the hidden -- or at least de-emphasized -- front door. Think "Great Pyramid" rather than Beaux Arts monument.

Not that this impetus is in line with the architect's traditional brief, to make a structure which serves man in the most direct and pleasing way possible. Who wants to be puzzled or perplexed when approaching an unfamiliar building ? Wright apologists and enthusiasts have turned this peccadillo into an asset, complete with story line and moniker, "Path of Discovery." But the designer isn't fooled: the ideal of the building which seeks to have no "front" and "back" is the building with no part or piece more important than any other. And the entrance to any building is by definition an "important piece" . . .

SDR
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2198
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR wrote:
Heh. So, a house to be dropped into from the sky -- or maybe only accessed from a rear alley, perhaps ? .......

I have been in the house many times. It is a great house. Unfortunately it does not have alley access. it is still a great house. It could us a carport on the south side. Previous owners screwed up by not acquiring land for a driveway as property changed hands around them.
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5383
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The asymmetrical nature of Wright houses almost demands that the entrance be placed somewhere on the "side" of the house, that is if we consider the street side to be the "front". It seems to me that the intention of hiding the front door is to aid in opening up the floor plan, and placing more importance on other elements, especially the hearth. Imagine the changes which would need to be made to his floorplans if a prominent, symmetrically placed front door would be the norm.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said. So, we can see the less-obvious placement of the entry not as an end it itself but as yet another instance of interior layout determining exterior form ?

Form and function as one (a concept and recipe, we learn, that Mr Wright credited not to Sullivan but to Dankman Adler . . .).

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7328

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took a second look at Google Maps. The house to the west of Gale has a driveway on its west side, snuggling up to the house, so the driveway that squeezes between Gale and the West House belongs to Gale.

That neighboring house, a Victorian, also has its main entrance on the side, just like Gale! Along that fašade is the typical Victorian verandah, facing east. It may be that Gale's property was originally owned by Vicky? Otherwise its view from the verandah would always have been of the neighboring driveway.

The scale of lots along Elizabeth Court is much more generous than Gale for the most part, except the two houses flanking Gale. Perhaps Vicky had a large lot that was subdivided for two small houses, one built in the prevailing 1890s style, and the other Gale? (All the other houses look 10 to 15 years earlier than Gale.) But what I suspect is that the entire Elizabeth Court development was fitted into an area that was originally occupied by spacious back yards of large houses on Forest and Kenilworth Avenues.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13972
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In re "the Aaron Green design just to the south of Dodge" (above, R Grant), DRN was kind enough to photograph several pages of his copy of the Oct 1959 issue of House Beautiful magazine in which a plan and photos of the house appear, along with F Gordon's take on Wright's planning.








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Unbrook



Joined: 08 Jan 2005
Posts: 685
Location: Lakewood, Ohio

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 8:44 pm    Post subject: Side Entrances Reply with quote

I had heard (I think on a tour of the Robie House probably sometime in the 1980's) that Mr. Wright "hid" the entrances to his houses to give privacy to his clients. You had to know the occupants and where the door to the house was to gain access. This has always seemed to me to be an acceptable answer. It is definitely a break with the symmetrical Palladian approach. It allowed a house like Robie to feel private in an almost urban environment.
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Unbrook



Joined: 08 Jan 2005
Posts: 685
Location: Lakewood, Ohio

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 8:59 pm    Post subject: Barcelona Chair Reply with quote

I am interested in the size of the Barcelona Chairs. Where can I find information on the original size? Checking with Knoll International, I find the size to be basically 30" square. Were the original models closer to 39"? I realize that the chairs used at the German Pavilion in Barcelona were tufted on the angle instead of the easier to fabricate on the square which are produced today, so I understand there have been changes.
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