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As is always the case with FLW, details make the difference. It never occurred to me that the way he used the Pyrex tubing was in any way flawed ... from a design perspective, rainwater notwithstanding. But in an e-chat with SDR, he mentioned that the way the tubes are connected at their ends created an awkward interruption in the flow of the glass, that it was meant to be uninterrupted. I was surprised by this stance, and I disagree with it. Those little knobs create an irregular pattern that is an essential part of the design, and in a way relate to the use of perfs. Perhaps the Frisco Fog impairs one's ability to see clearly.
Any thoughts on this?
https://www.google.com/search?q=johnson ... 69&bih=960
The most spectacular instance of randomly-placed joints in the tubing is perhaps the domed ceiling of the Advertising Department reception space. But
other panels of tubing display either no joints at all, or a regular pattern of joints: see the ceiling skylights of the Great Workroom.
It appears that Mr Wright took full advantage of the aesthetic possibilities of the material; there is even a mitered corner to a glass-tube partition, some-
where in the building -- see right end of seventh row of photos on the linked page.
Five good photos by Yukio Futagawa, showing these conditions, are found at the back of Monograph 5. Unfortunately I cannot present these here as
connection to my image host is inexplicably, and I hope temporarily, interrupted.
There's more at play here than to consider Wright's intention, if at all possible. All we have is that which we can see. Perhaps sometimes under duress, he still did not hesitate to include steel beams or fitch plates in otherwise all-wood construction, or some other "necessity" to achieve what was brewing in his mind. Technology and available materials at the time is a logical consideration.Roderick Grant wrote:Any thoughts on this?
After experimenting with cast glass panels and other possibilities, I believe he was enamored with the tubing for both the functionality of diffusing the view of surrounding Racine while at the same time using a rather mundane product for an unconventional and creative application. The tube connectors were the most efficient, cost effective means-and yes, compromise- to achieve the more important desired result, and Wright accepted the trade-off for the vision. The achieved effect does indeed overpower the obvious interruptions, and at least one argument that they somehow are intrinsically important, intentional, or otherwise desired seems only to validate the trade-off.
The original Usonian design perhaps offers an analogy. Could Wright have offered a $5,000 house without using screws to secure his sandwich walls? Later, when possible, he avoided the visual interruption of this connection to the extent of a virtual lack of wood construction in many late Usonians. Again, an acceptable trade-off at the time... as long as the slots were all horizontal!
Had it been practical, surely uninterrupted tubing would have been preferable to Wright aesthetically. They were not a "designed in" component and according to Lipman, addressed only after manufacturing of the tubes was proven successful. There's no mention of any reason other than their need. They were not present when any span or placement did not require them, so it's safe to assume they were used simply out of necessity... Roderick's point is quite valid as far as Wright agreed they did not adversely affect his intent.
carefully-raked Japanese graveled garden . . .
Random effects in Wright's decorative design is extremely rare, I think we can say, unless we include fabrics waving in the breeze (flags and pennants) or
thrown casually over a parapet in a drawing. Certain unusual art-glass panels, like those at the Coonley Playhouse, exhibit random patterning unique to each
panel. The graphic design found in certain magazine-cover art, or the occasional mural (like the ones at Midway Gardens), contain free and unduplicated
Sometimes what we find to be beautiful is the result of some sort of practical compromise, not someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s initial intention.
When artists picketed the Guggenheim under construction, carrying placards that read, "The museum design violates the rectilinear frame of reference," FLW's response was a copy of the Midway design on which he wrote, "To Hell with the rectilinear frame of reference."