Article: David Romero & unbuilt FLW designs

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Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

In 1948, my grandparents bought a "bathtub" Packard. It had power steering, which is to say it took power to steer the monster, big, white pig of a car with its swan hood ornament. That same year, dad bought a 1946 used Packard Clipper, two-tone green and green. Handsomer and more sleek than the newer model, it was a lousy car that stalled at practically every stop sign. The brand should have shut down then, rather than limp along through the 50s.

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »


SDR
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Post by SDR »

I was surprised to learn of a second Wetmore project. Perhaps the fact that the Monograph text doesn't specify (other than in the heading "Project") that the garage was an unbuilt Wright design, has led some to visit the site ?


Image Taschen III

Image Monograph 8


Image

Image

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »


DavidC
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Post by DavidC »


David
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Post by David »

Thanks David!

In this publication you can see some images not seen so far, such as the interior of the planetarium. One detail that may be controversial in these images is the fact that FLLW never drew seats inside the planetarium.

FLLW letters indicate that the "automobile observatory" part of the project was his real focus, and the many functions that filled the program changed over the course of design. He was probably flexible as to what the client might have thought appropriate for this tourist attraction.

after thinking quite the matter I decided to include the seats even if it is a highly speculative detail.

The sofa is taken from the design used in the imperial hotel

Image

and the restaurant chairs, from Midway Gardens
Last edited by David on Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

David
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Post by David »

SDR wrote:I was surprised to learn of a second Wetmore project. Perhaps the fact that the Monograph text doesn't specify (other than in the heading "Project") that the garage was an unbuilt Wright design, has led some to visit the site ?
Thanks SDR, I didn´t know these drawings. Finally Wetmore came to build something of what Wright designed?

Seeing what exists today, it is difficult to think that there is anything designed by FLLW:

http://www.flwright.us/FLW348.htm

David
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Post by David »

Image

I've always wondered about the waterfall; there is no water anywhere near the summit of Sugarloaf, and certainly not enough to make a big waterfall anywhere on the mountain. So, if Wright really wanted a waterfall, the water would have had to be pumped up there.

DavidC
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David
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Post by David »

A couple of images corresponding to the Valley National Bank that came out in FLLW Foundation Quarterly Magazine last year, but that had not been shown on the internet until now.

Image

Image

I had the chance to work with a complete set of scanned original working drawings, but even in this case, there is always room for speculation. Wright pointed out in his drawings which were the materials to be used in each case: Roman brick, poured concrete with special exposed aggregate and a skylight composed of plastic and copper, but in his project, he didn't decide the exact brick model or the color of the materials, postponing those decisions to the construction phase of the building. This way of working is also common today (At least in Spain!), but that leaves us in doubt of the choice he would have taken.

Due to the lack of time, I could not model the beautiful interior of this building, bathed in overhead natural light, which I hope to carry out someday.

Image

Image

You can see it with higher resolution here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/143771393 ... 766156671/

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Oh, what a pleasure. I'm quite confident we haven't looked at this project before, at Wright Chat. In 1948 Mr Wright designed a bank and shopping center project for the same client;
the second bank appears to have a slightly dished shed roof over an irregular-hexagon plan (Taschen III, p 182).

That dome must have been fun to construct in 3D !

With David's indulgence I will provide the supporting material, from Monograph 7 and from Taschen III.

A note on the section drawing indicates a double layer of "fibre-glass" at the dome, with "air conditioning space" between. Oddly, Pfeiffer fails to note the ramps at the rear of the building
providing access to a second drive-through teller window ("wicket") on the upper level.



ImageTaschen ImageMonograph


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

all images © 2009 by TASCHEN GmbH, © 1988 A.D.A EDITA Tokyo Co., Ltd. and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

David
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Post by David »

In the working drawings, the rear ramp disappeared probably at the indication of the client, although Wright kept the "drive-in" rear windows on the ground floor and the space needed for cars to circulate, this circulation on the other hand is what gives meaning to the cylindrical shape of the building on the rear facade.

The skylight has its difficulty in modeling it, but nothing compared to the Gordon Strong and Roy Wetmore helical ramps... It is curious but, in general, what is complicated to model, it is very complicated to build.

David
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Post by David »

The question of the rear ramp was, of course, the subject of controversy when recreating this building. Which version is more appropriate to recreate? The original idea of the architect or the final result of adapting his ideas to the needs of the clients? Especially considering that in this case, the original design was possibly more interesting.

Finally, I took the option to model the final version because having a complete set of working drawings freed me from the need to have to speculate (the other previous versions had several inconsistencies, as is usual in Wright's "in process" designs)

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Heh. Just one of the many hurdles the Wright re-creator must get past ...?

Both options have their attractions. Other unbuilt projects (and built ones, I suppose) will present the same question: to go with the earliest and
arguably purest version of a design, or a later one for which there is more useful data. In the case where either version is equally verifiable, I'd tend
toward the earliest; I would bet that the ramps were eliminated here for non-architectural reasons (client preference, presumably).

Because no one will be using the latter-day digital model for construction but rather for appreciation of the work as a visual treat, primarily, I wouldn't
worry too much about exact detail or dimension; there's enough info on the early plans as published to have included Wright's ramps in the model.
But I can't argue with the decision to omit them ...

S

Matt2
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Post by Matt2 »

What is the sculptural item in the center of the interior? Art or a light perhaps?

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