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Article: Darwin Martin House completes $52M renovations
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2723
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay,
So the alteration is that the horizontal “spandrel” between the vertical piers
was extended beyond the plane of the piers
Right?
The planter became an interior shelf or something
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2723
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least that’s what it seems like judging from the HABS B&W.
Seems like the spandrel was pushed forward
Maybe outboard of piers
Maybe flush
Don’t see how that would bring in more light in any case
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17887
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look again at the two plans I linked earlier. The second-floor window band was moved toward the street, leaving the piece of wall to its left as it was. The "spandrel"
or wall supporting the windows grows a bit in its exposure as it slides downslope. No piers were moved; the planter pier to the left of the windows remains as it was.
The two versions are distinguishable in the two photos posted on the previous page.

As the windows grew nearer the edge of the eave above, they received more daylight.

S
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9342

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The photo from last chance dates from the 1930s, after Darwin died and Isobel moved out of the house. The 1904 date apparently comes from the Hitchcock book, plate 101, which shows the house as it looked when he photographed it, and is dated 1904 ... the date of construction, not of the photograph. It stood vacant for years until it was bought in the 50s, and all the degradation was done unto it.

FLW designed alterations for several years after the house was built, some of which (a complete rethinking of the master bedroom layout; skylights along the east side of the living room which are set into the floor of the balcony above; the row of windows along the south façade) were built, some (a shallow reflecting pond following the floricycle; skylight over the stair hall; a cantilevered grand piano) were not.

Moving the windows forward was done very shortly after the Martins moved into the house. Isobel's sewing room was in that area, and she thought it too dark. Early on in the restoration, there was a controversy over whether to move the windows back or to leave them where they were. There are valid arguments on both sides, but I favored the one that won out.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17887
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps you meant Manson; the photo in Hitchcock, oddly, is identical to the one lastchance posted. Perhaps Wright preferred one with more foliage, over the Feurmann photo ?

S
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 9342

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR, that would have made sense if the sill of the window wall had been lowered, but it wasn't. The overhang became slight, keeping shadows at bay, which may have helped if Mrs. had her work table near the windows.

No, SDR, I meant Hitchcock. The photo in Hitchcock, which is the one last chance posted, dates from the late 1930s. The 1904 date has been mistaken as the photo date, but was meant to be the construction date.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17887
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry; I must have been misled by your sentence reading, "The 1904 date apparently comes from the Hitchcock book, plate 101, which shows the house as it looked when he photographed it, and is dated 1904" ...

The sill height remained the same; the amount of "spandrel" (wall visible below the windows) increased; the light reaching the glass had less distance to travel and (more critically) the shadow of the eave struck the glass at a higher point, thus letting in more light to the room. I guess we're agreed on that ?

S
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2723
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"more light..."

okay, and yet the amount of light is fixed by the eave, the piers, and the spandrel sill height.
Moving the glass back and forth does not change that.
The quantity that changes is the room area and volume.
It's a picky point but that's why I said what I said.

BTW, "more light?"... Goethe's dying words.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, you have a point. The only way to read the situation as providing more light, is to consider the placement of a sewing table or chair: with the room
expanded as it was, more light would fall on a table or a lap at a given time of day, at a given distance from the fenestration. A person standing at that
distance from the glass could find sunlight striking him further from the floor.

S
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lastchancesugarco



Joined: 17 May 2019
Posts: 14
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All, I appoligize for the confusion on the date of the photo I posted. I should have known 1904 was the construction date. To make it up to you, here's a fantastic link to more photos of the Martin House.

https://digital.lib.buffalo.edu/Items/browse?search=Darwin%20D.%20Martin%20House%20Complex%20photographs&collection=33

Also, explore this website for architecture and beyond in Buffalo.

https://buffaloah.com/

Here's Wright's page on the website above.

https://buffaloah.com/a/archs/wright/buff/index.html
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17887
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you ! Maybe someone can give me a hint: what is the easiest way to jump from one Martin photo to the next, on the first-linked page ?

S
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1467

PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isabelle's distaste for the house surfaced immediately upon their taking occupancy in November of 1905. Martin continually couched her numerous complaints and requests for changes to Wright as "her needs" well into the 1920's, most of which Wright simply ignored eventually causing considerable strain between them for a time. This probable burden on Martin eventually spilled over to anger well beyond his frustrations with Wright during the original construction.

Addressing Isabelle's vision problems first involved enhancement of interior lighting, but her her general dislike for the house always was an exascerbating issue. Not surprisingly, Wright's life at the time with Mamah was seen as an embarrassment by association in polite society. The modifications to the second floor bedroom wall were first discussed on a (demanded) visit by Wright to Buffalo in 1913. At the same time Martin insisted Wright address the entry hall skylight, changes to the living room verandah, and modifications to the first floor reception room, but nothing came of any of it. Martins frustration was evident as written to Wright mid 1914 " I have no language at my command to express my disgust at the treatment Mr. Wright has accorded me."

The Taliesin murders occurred soon after, but as could be expected, eventually Martin regrouped and tried again. In 1916 Martin proposed to Wright a scheme, apparently conceived by Isabelle, that would have demolished the entire porte cocheres end of the house replacing it with a new 2 story wing to the North parallel to the unit room on the East end of the house. Wright's response was a proposal to convert the conservatory into a "Garden House" for entertaining. Upon certain rejection, Wright submitted a plan similar to the original request, which Isabelle objected to asking that it also project southward, which would have given Martin an ungainly H-shape. Wright correctly responded it would be a serious mistake and would basically transform their house into nothing more than a hotel. Martin abruptly terminated any further discussions about changes to the house.

By 1920 Wright's general absence in Japan allowed minimal contact between them, and Martin hired a former Wright draftsman, Andrew Willatzen, to make some of the changes first discussed in 1913 and 1916. This was actually when the second floor window wall was extended 3 feet outward, finally bringing Isabelle into the light. The only other modification to the West end (fortunately) was the addition of a large trunk storage room beneath the eave at the back of the second floor bedroom wing. This alteration was also removed during the current restoration.

In 1926 Isabelle eventually received pretty much what she would have first preferred, Graycliff, albeit a summer home. Martins fortune was essentially lost in the market crash of 1929. Isabelle remained in the Buffalo house for less than two years after Martins death in 1935, moving into a neo-Gothic apartment building. "Darwin's House" stood empty until the City took possession for unpaid taxes in 1946.... it's been a long road back to what we see today.

I thought this might be of interest and is summarized from Jack Quinan's "Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House; Architecture as Portraiture". Knowing my growing interest in architecture, I'm indebted to my father for taking me at the age of 12 to see "a really strange house" in the city. My first direct exposure to Wright was the Martin House in all its derelict beauty.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17887
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that, Jim. So, what we read earlier, that "(m)oving the windows forward was done very shortly after the Martins moved into the house," was not reliable information. I appreciate the full report.

S
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17887
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim sends an image from Jack Quinan's Martin house book, Wright's rendering of some of proposed alterations to the house c. 1916. (He writes, "You have to wonder what correcting this mess would have added to the restoration cost!")

On the U Buffalo Libraries pages I found the colored version of the image, and (for comparison) a March 1905 photo of the house---hand-tinted by persons unknown.







Look at Wright using a photograph of the house---how else ?---to place trees in his rendering ...



color images © 2019 University at Buffalo and by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17887
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While we're wallowing in Martin/Barton---two more early images:





May 9, 1905. The morning fog (?) helps obscure the Victorian barn pre-existing just beyond the Barton house. Pure forms, realized ...




1905-1910

© 2019 University at Buffalo
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