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Question about shift in floor grids in Usonian Houses
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Modmom1



Joined: 03 Dec 2017
Posts: 98

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:55 am    Post subject: Question about shift in floor grids in Usonian Houses Reply with quote

Smith/van Fossen/Cuneo used shifting floor grids/ceiling panels to demarcate the shift in geometry (30-60-90) between different wings of the 1940 Gunning House. I looked for similar patterning in Wright's Usonians and the first example I could find was in the Howard Anthony house from 1949. Do other FLW Usonians shift their grids to the angle of the house? They had just worked on Armstrong before receiving the commission and I checked but Armstrong keeps a consistent grid. Thanks in advance!

reference Storrer's "FLW Designing Democratic America Part 1 of 2", Anthony House floor plan, pg 138.

This photo and the following show the shift between wings found at Gunning in case my wording is confusing: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125471081@N02/31644412895/in/album-72157650444413635/

BTW Glenbrow will be hosting a Spring Tour May 4 to benefit Columbus Landmarks Foundation. Our location requires participants to be bused to the site. It will be listed at CLF in the near future.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9116

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, even though Armstrong's grid is consistent on each level, the two levels are shifted. Others include Walter, Lamberson, Neils, Edwards, Greenberg, Harold Price, Sr. and Rayward (which, given its wandering plan and TAA's involvement, may be considered somewhat of an outlier).
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Among others, the Armstrong plan is "more unique" in that the two (main or original) levels and their grids are rotated, one
from the other---while the core, the connection between the levels, is where the morph takes place, reading nicely as such,
in plan:




© 1993 by William Allin Storrer
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a treat . . .

http://damisarchitecturejournal.blogspot.com/2012/06/chicago-day-1.html

S
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Modmom1



Joined: 03 Dec 2017
Posts: 98

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Roderick and SDR. I would guess that visually one would not pick up on the shift between floors, although apparent to those in charge of building the structure. I was looking to see if Wright had shifted on a single story and for the houses you listed, it occurred beginning in the late 1940s.

The link SDR posted is a treat and I found this with a few more photos:

https://www.nwitimes.com/news/history/frank-lloyd-wright-s-influence-remains-in-nwi-today/article_a1124540-7769-5c72-81ce-73a08074bc9b.html
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that, Mm. Mr Peterson, or the author of the article, has done their homework on Wright and his influences in northwest Indiana. Unfortunately,
some error seems to have crept into the narrative; neither a Wynant nor a Moe residence is credited to Mr Wright in the available literature. Peterson's
research predates Storrer and the Monographs, perhaps, so he can be excused ? Storrer is cited, however, in the piece . . .

"Unisonian" is a variant we haven't seen before; perhaps someone could use that as a sound-alike knockoff moniker, for a new line of work ?

Lastly, the large wall art visible in one of the Armstrong photos might be Masselink ? It would be good to know more about that handsome piece. Does
anyone recognize it ?

And does anyone have plan drawings of the house in its final, built-out form ? I seem to recall seeing those, somewhere . . .

S
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Roderick's list can be added the Howard Anthony plan, which Besinger tells us he drew, based on the Maginel Barney exercise---which was used by Mr Wright in the same year for the McCartneys.

Here is the list, in chronological order.


Armstrong 1939



Gunning 1940



Lamberson 1948


Walter 1948


Anthony 1949


Edwards 1949


Neils 1949


Greenberg 1954


Price Sr 1954


Rayward 1955


Plans © 1993 by William Allin Storrer
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, we see that all of Wright's cranked plans make use of a square grid. Only Besinger rotates a diamond grid. It is likely that Mr Wright saw that, with
any 60º grid, he could get whatever movement he wanted without resorting to breaking the grid---and indeed there are many triangular-grid Usonians of
every imaginable plan shape. The developed McCartney plan is an example; compare to Besinger's Anthony plan, above:







Note too that, with the exception of the initial Armstrong plan (where the designer was certainly "pushed around" by the unusual site condition), all the
cranked plans are bracketed within two two-year clusters, beginning in 1948 and again in 1954.

And, of all the plans shown here, only Lamberson sports not two but three orientations of the square grid . . . !

S
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9116

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although FLW did not start displaying his grids until the Usonian era, he always used them, as he put it, "whether you see them or not." Perhaps the only shifted grid prior to Usonia was Yamamura, which has a wing at the back angling off at 120 degrees. Storrer shows a square grid, but the original plans didn't show it, yet it is there.

The next task is to go through Mono and account for all the unbuilt projects that show a shift. SDR? Are you up to it?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am if you are. Are we talking just the post-1935 era, or the whole career ? Either way, you can take half the volumes and I'll do the others.

S
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Modmom1



Joined: 03 Dec 2017
Posts: 98

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow SDR! Thank you so much! How great to show the transitions all in a row.

The Gunning attached carport on the left of the second plan became 2 small kids bedroom w a bath and utilities room in 1948. The gridded floor plan and 2X4' ceiling panels above followed the Point Room grid (the outer walls, facing wooded hillside, being parallel), thus transitioning to another shift.
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Rood



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 1055
Location: Goodyear, AZ 85338

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR wrote:
e could use that as a sound-alike knockoff moniker, for a new line of work ?

Lastly, the large wall art visible in one of the Armstrong photos might be Masselink ? It would be good to know more about that handsome piece. Does
anyone recognize it ? S


Masselink? I think not. More probably a John Howe work.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmm---thanks. The warm tones suggest age . . .

Mm, I noticed that a projecting trellis (?) at the top of the Tower appears shifted from the plan of the tower, in one of your photos. Does that show on any drawing that you have or have made ?

The Price Tower drawings show 60º grids shifted, on each quadrant of the plan.

S
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17490
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

c. 1930 might mark the point when overt planning grids begin to appear more frequently in the work. Two projects from 1929 show conflicting or harmonizing grid shifts, one of each:


San Marcos . . . the mother of all grid mash-ups ?


St Marks


Mr Wright must have been amused by the coincidence in the names . . .

S
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Modmom1



Joined: 03 Dec 2017
Posts: 98

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR the floor plans for the tower (all 4 floors) can be found here and going forward:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/161557458@N08/47354044322/in/album-72157698103807454/

These are the current ones. Maren is looking to upload the original plans which are not as built from a file. I'll let you know when the originals are ready for viewing. This album of my daughter has other current floor plans and drawings if anyone is interested.

Ay, yes the Suntops Homes, where my trio of architects worked, with Tony Smith becoming "Clerk of the Works" before Armstrong. Seems rotated angles were ingrained into their psyche.
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