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Westhope Original block color
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ZacharyMatthews



Joined: 17 Jan 2012
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:02 am    Post subject: Westhope Original block color Reply with quote

Some recent work at the RL Jones house has revealed the original red/rose cast integral through out all the textile blocks. Huge photo but hey, aren’t we all tired of squinting at pics!





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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3456
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had assumed the block at Jones was gray. Would this have been the interior color as with the CA textile block houses?
This reminds me of learning Fallingwater window and door sash is red.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8283

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would probably be cost prohibitive to strip the entire house, inside and out, back to what it should be, especially since damage to the original fabric after all the years it has been under paint would add considerably to the cost of restoration, but it would be wonderful. We can dream, can't we?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15685
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, are we saying that the house might have looked something like this when new -- using two photos that Wright chose for publication, with color added ?









Last edited by SDR on Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:26 pm; edited 3 times in total
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3456
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A "pinkish hue".....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y44waVWAu08
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15685
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

. . . "a rosy glow" . . .

In any event, I'm liking the house more, now. And, I just "goosed" the saturation and contrast a bit in my first colorized image.

Sure enough: in Sweeney, "Wright in Hollywood," pp 190-193, we have reference to the color.

"Pigment was added to the concrete mixture for the first time. The idea was not entirely new; Wright had indicated color on drawings for Doheny Ranch
and had suggested to Lloyd that color would help the Storer house. In those cases, however, color was used in certain blocks as an accent, while all the
blocks of the Jones house were 'sort of a cool "old rose." Wright was concerned about the effect, cautioning [builder] Mueller that 'there will be so many
deep reveals that the house will naturally look quite dark' and advising him to 'make all your mistakes on the light side.' "

"Near the end of construction, Wright commented to Lloyd, 'Richard's house has won the town. It is a house without walls. The effect is strange and
delightful. The house volatilizes. After you have been in it and come away there seems no enclosure. Yet it is very strong and private, almost a
fortress.' His observations are difficult to evaluate: certainly the chiaroscuro image conveyed in early black-and-white photographs is misleading, and
there is a flow of space between indoors and out that is unparalleled in the California houses, but otherwise time and a succession of owners have
modified the original effect. The lines of the building are softened today by mature landscape; and the rose-tinted concrete has been painted, diluting
what must have been rather surrealistic juxtapositions of light and shadow."


SDR
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pmahoney
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Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:30 am    Post subject: checkerboard Reply with quote

The last time I was at the house I noticed that the auto court in front of the garage still retained its original concrete paving. That paving like what was proposed for the Buffalo Filling Stations was a checkerboard of rose colored and white concrete in the same module as the house plan.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15685
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's good to have that detail confirmed. Though every plan of the house is drawn on the 5-foot grid, only a model, photographed in Vienna in 1930 and published in Taschen, shows the colored checkerboard.

In an aerial photo found in Sweeney, the car court is mostly obscured, and the resolution and lighting obscure the checkerboard. Three upper-level double-wide windows have the effect of missing teeth.

It would be wonderful to see the house in "full color" again; not much besides a new coat of paint is standing in the way . . .






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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2228
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The rose color is great.
Love the shot with blue background
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which critic was it who said the house looked like a pickle factory?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15685
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't look like a pickle factory; it looks like a federal penitentiary. But a penitentiary designed by a world-famous architect. (Yes -- I'd say the color was crucial.)

Now, who is that architect ? Robert L Sweeney, while no Secrest, Scully or Gill, is cheeky enough to show us this precursor:









I'll leave it to fellow readers to agree, or not, with fellow-traveler Goff as to the "barren, mathematical, inhuman qualities in the work of Le Corbusier. . ."; for me Wright is here at least as ideological
as his European contemporaries -- and why shouldn't he be ? He, like they
[sic], is an artist and agent provocateur . . .

Earlier we had Wright expressing first impressions of the house, to his son: "The effect is strange and delightful." Is he in fact a bit surprised ? In the "Autobiography" Wright says that the effects
wrought by his aesthetic decisions sometimes "amazed" him; any creator will have the same experience, over and over, upon seeing their work realized. Their decisions come from "principle" --
which is to say from an ideology, which precedes and governs the aesthetic program ?

SDR
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3456
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall Edgar Tafel writing in his book Apprentice to Genius about a stopover at the house in the 1930’s during a trek to AZ. Tafel thought the house uncharacteristic of Wright and thin on detail and lacking any real scale. He indicated Wright was not pleased with the house as built, beliving the blocks required weatherproofing. Tafel quotes RLJones as saying the very regular striped light and shadow “made him feel like a zebra”.

I’ve always seen this house as a transitional design between the Textile Block houses and the later, more open and perforated Usonian Automatics.
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5749
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wright at his most classical Grecian.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15685
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Rodrick is not going to be happy with that !)



Robert L Sweeney presents a full narrative of the gestation and construction of the Jones house. Richard Lloyd Jones was a cousin of Mr Wright, a newspaper publisher who owned the Madison, Wisconsin State Journal
and who had helped Wright following the 1914 tragedy at Taliesin. When he approached Wright in late 1928 for a house he was publisher of the Tulsa Tribune.

The story will not be surprising to those familiar with Wright's working methods, in cases where there was not a perfect mind-meld between architect and client. The client requests a house, sending a very specific list
of requirements, one of which is to accommodate the available views and breezes. Wright proceeds to employ the mode du jour, which in this case was the work recently accomplished (on paper) for Chandler, Young, and the
Cudneys. Wright's first plan for Jones is described by Sweeney as derived from this work; reminding us of the differences in topography -- steep vs nearly flat -- he says of the Jones plan, "...it is as if he had slipped the
living-room level of San Marcos in the Desert out of its original context and planted it directly on the ground."

"Unfortunately, Jones seems not to have understood the subtleties of this plan." Thus Sweeney tips his hand as an apologist for Wright, for cousin Richard's stated objection (as quoted) was all about the views he had hoped
to have from the house. Referring to the "diagonal" blocks, Jones writes "[The plan] limits your view just exactly as blinders on a horse's bridle will . . . You had said that you would give us windows out of which we could get
panoramic pictures." The diagonal block, laid up in columns with vertical strips of glazing equal to the width of the columns, was apparently quite accurately perceived by the client to be a problem. "I will sacrifice art gladly
for the joy of seeing out of doors."

Those who know Wright will understand that, having the bit between his teeth with a new possibility, he was not about to throw it away without a fight. After switching to square block and an orthogonal plan -- essentially
the same layout as the first plan, which was only partially successful from the client's point of view -- in a bid to keep the technology in a more palatable form, Wright still met resistance. He attempted to explain how the
living-room wall "becomes a window with vertical mullions. All the walls become such. And you have outlook in every direction more than you could have by building a wall and cutting a hole out of it." He concludes that letter
by suggesting that if broad windows were wanted, "we will have to abandon this scheme entirely and give you another kind of house."

Nevertheless, the project went ahead. Paul Mueller was contracted to build the house and moved to Tulsa in July of 1930. Jones had agreed to build if the bill would not exceed $75,000. Wright wrote to Chandler that he was
"starting a $100,000 block house for my cousin in Tulsa."

The blocks turned out not to be waterproof; Jones told Wright that they "soak up water like a sponge." "Wright intended to coat the insides of the blocks wth asphalt paint, but Jones insisted on the addition of a surface
sealer as well."

As a fitting finale, Wright designed furniture for the house using a new material, Met-L-Wood, a wood substrate with aluminum veneer, which would also be used for the doors. The furniture was to be made of this material in
c. 1/4" thicknesses; when the metal turned out to be unsatisfactory and too costly, "Wright attempted to maintain the exceptionally thin appearance he had first envisioned." 1/4" wood was proposed, but it was too flimsy. As
built, using 7/16" wood, the shelves still sagged, cabinet doors warped, and a chair was described by Jones as "about as strong as a cigar box."

"Wright responded that because of a trip to South America he had not seen the drawings for the desk and chair before they were sent to Tulsa, but that "thin slab furniture is all right if made right.' " [Perhaps -- if the material is
solid aluminum, or aircraft honeycomb-core panels ?] "He noted that steel angle plates were to have been added, and that maybe there were not enough of them."

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8283

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grecian, no, but not far off Mies' Bismarck Monument.
The rows of 20" square columns and 20" wide windows allow light to penetrate and peripheral views of the outside, so the project definitely did not meet the client's expectations.
But the neighborhood turned out to be a typical residential collection of houses too close together, so there would have been little to take in if the house had been entirely of glass.
The views toward the inner court would be quite grand if an inventive landscaping plan were ever to be introduced.

Personally, had I the opportunity to fix Lloyd-Jones, I would engulf the exterior with a veritable Oklahoman jungle,
so that the glimpses through the windows would be of fulsome planting, rather than dead flat Kentucky blue.
Same with Turkel. There are, effectively, no views in the living room of Turkel because of the insistent grid of concrete,
so planting a forest-like screen of verdure would help decorate the interior.
If you want to see the yard, there are other options.
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