eBay: 1912 House Beautiful magazine w/ FLW

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Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

There is one example from the early years of a dining room containing individual tables that can be grouped together to make a huge one: Husser. Each table (4?,5?...) measures 54"x60", large enough to accommodate 8 diners. One of the tables was found in a shop in Chicago; I don't know what has become of it.

An article about the set is in Vol.2, No. 1, 1979 issue of The Frank Lloyd Wright Newsletter by Thomas Heinz.

(Currently, 15 issues - including the above issue - of this hard-to-find periodical are available at $25 each from J. B. Muns, in case anyone is interested. Joyce also has a rare copy of "The Morality Of Woman & Other Essays" by Ellen Key, which Mamah translated. $250)

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

To answer the question about flues it would be wonderful to have Wright's (or Griffin's) section drawings of the house; in Prairie-period drawing sets we often see elaborate flue designs drawn.

I'm not sure if the sketch of the fireplace mural matches what was built. In fact, the Mono/Storrer plans don't seem to show a fireplace in the largest space, the extended dining room. Indeed,
the room dedicated to "living" seems more appropriate in size for a dining room; unfortunately, it is placed at the opposite end of the house from the kitchen. Curiouser and curiouser . . .?



Image


Image

photograph c. 1991 by Christian Korab

Oak Park Jogger
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Post by Oak Park Jogger »

The dining room mural must have been in place at some point, because a small section of it has been uncovered in the NW corner of the dining room. There must be a picture somewhere!

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Okay---but there is a radical difference between what's depicted in the drawing above and what's seen in the accompanying photo. The drawing
shows a continuous plane with one long mural, divided by regularly-occurring verticals; it passes over the very slightly projecting stone lintel of
the fireplace opening.

The shadows in the drawing are intended to help us read what the elevation is otherwise unable to show, namely depth, and projecting elements.
They show no stepping back of the wood-framed plaster walls on either side of the fireplace---which clearly occur in the photo.The bottom member
framing the mural projects not far from these continuous wall planes, and the mural in turn is not much if at all recessed behind the top lintel, which
is present in the photo as a prominent datum or shelf.

So, the room itself was not built as depicted in the drawing. Where such a mural could occur in the built environment is not clear. We know we're
looking at the same space, I think, because the pair of boxed beams at the ceiling are shown in their correct places, in section, in the drawing.

In one plan drawing we see cabinets on either side of the fireplace; in both plans the fireplace projects fully from the back wall of the room. A door
to the kitchen in the second plan would have prevented the placement of a continuous plane in front of the fireplace breast. See previous page . . .

S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

OPJ, what is your source about the fragment of the mural?

It is confusing, but I suspect the mural was slipped somewhere between the early plan (with a cabinet where the fireplace was eventually built) and the as-built plan. The redesign of the dining room might have made the mural either impossible or unnecessary. Or, if it was executed, as OPJ's comment suggests it was, perhaps the mural was a completely different thing from the drawing.

Notice the shadow at the left bottom of the drawing. It indicates that the wall segment from that corner to the fireplace is very shallow, as does the shadow of the fireplace at the east end. As built, the wall is considerably further recessed from the fireplace wall.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Correctamundo . . .

The plan with no fireplace in the dining room would leave the house with no reason for a central chimney. Sure enough, the first exterior view on page 1 of the thread shows only the transverse living-room/MBR chimney . . .

The second "sketch" is a clear departure from most Prairie-house designs; one thinks of later work when viewing those broad gabled roofs---and not necessarily Wright's later work, either ? If Wright, this design is a clear outlier.

Can anyone read all of Mr Wright's note on that sheet ?

S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The extent to which the house as FLW (or WBG) designed it is an outlier would depend on what the pre-existing house looked like. How much of that old house survived? I suspect that is something that will never be known for sure. Across the street, the Hills House also was a remodel, but at least in that instance, a 'before' photo exists.

If by 'that sheet' you mean the second sketch, all it says is:
"Sketch for Beachy House - 1900
Frank Lloyd Wright, Oak Park, Il."
1900?

If you mean the plan as built, no I cannot read a lot of the dimensions.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks---the second perspective sketch is what I was asking about.

Two sources tell us that the only remains of the original house could be a porch foundation. And it may be that the original house had a more steeply-
pitched gable roof than the one finally built---which could explain the steeper-appearing roof in the first perspective view ?

Regardless of the extent to which the existing house may have influenced the design of it's "remodel," facets of the built design which wouldn't have
depended on the standing structure---the four hefty corner piers, the levitated second-floor volume, the flat extensions to the gables, or the wood sash
muntins---might persuasively argue for one designer over another, it seems to me.

S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I agree, SDR. I also think that if there is any truth to "1900," that Beachy may have been a difficult client, resulting in something not quite Wright.
Nevertheless, it is a wonderful house.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

"1900" is the professional code for "difficult client" ? Nothing would surprise me . . .

The house seems well-wrought, at least on the outside---it just looks more like Walter than Frank, to me and, I guess, others. The presence of Beachy
drawings in the Archive doesn't necessarily preclude their having been someone else's work. A suggestion by Storrer---"Wright was in Japan with the
Ward Willets [sic] when the work was done. . ."---reinforced my interest in the possibility of Griffin authorship. But I'll leave that here. Granted, it seems
equally improbable that, in 1906, Mr Wright would take credit for a strong design by a subordinant or, alternatively, that he would substitute a series of
forms and details characteristic of that employee, for his familiar and habitual ones.

Roderick is the only WC member admitting to ownership of the "Preliminary Studies" volumes of the Monograph set. What if anything do you find, there, RG ?

S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Volume 9 covers the years from 1889 through 1916, but includes articles on only 24 structures and projects, so there are 11 devoted to Beachy.
Plate 75: Version with the 1900 date on it posted above, a large 2-page spread.
76 & 77: Concept partial plans and elevations that have nothing to do with as-built. Even the terrain slopes.
78: Looks remarkably like the steep-roofed version with a shallower pitch.
79: South elevation looking more like as-built, but without the 3 dormers, instead a single flat-roofed dormer with 12 windows in a row. Same version as Plate 78.
80: South elevation looking more like as-built with 3 dormers, but the center and back dormers have a flat roofs. Two chimneys.
81 & 82: Plans without dining room fireplace.
83: A very different, shorter east to west house with a single gable on the south side, as well as a second story balcony.
84: South façade in perspective by MMG as built.
85: Steep-roofed version shown above.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

There are no dates nor chronology. The only text is:

"The preliminary studies for the Beachy house show that prior to the scheme eventually built (a remodeling of an existing structure) Mr. Wright proposed versions of a house for a slightly sloped site. The question arises if these earlier projects for Mr. Beachy were intended for his property in Oak Park, or some other site further out in the prairie. Plate 76 is more developed, here still a concept plan, with elevation projected directly above it. The plan in this version is already more flexible. Plate 77 is another, labeled by Mr. Wright, "Scheme II," and later written "alteration FLLW." This is followed by a sketch view entitled, "Sketch for Beachy House - 1900, Forest Ave. Oak Park, Ill" in the handwriting of the architect. The dating of this work by Mr. Wright as 1900 fosters some confusion, since the completed set of working drawings is dated June 25, 1906. The remaining sketches in this series are confined to the alterations on the existing house...."

It rambles on in general architectural terms unrelated specifically to Beachy. But the reference to the remodeling aspect implies that a substantial amount of the original house was still extant at the time.

The various designs if spread across a 6-7 year period would imply a difficult client to me. But it might be Frank backdating his work.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thank you. If the only reference in the collection is the single drawing dated well after the fact by Mr Wright, perhaps we can discount that dating as spurious or irrelevant ?

It could be assumed that an existing house was on the site at the beginning of the process; that doesn't necessarily speak to how much of that building remains within, or under, the new construction---I suppose.

On the crest of Pacific Heights, here, was a house for which a remodel was permitted---in a tony neighborhood of vintage structures in which at least some restrictions as to modification of the exterior appearance
could be assumed. In any event, what was saved was the skin of the street facade, propped up for months while an entirely new house was built behind it. I don't in fact know how much if any of that facade was retained
---or even replicated---in the final construction.

S

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

There is enough similarity in all the sketches shown in #9 to suggest that there was more than a bit of the old house standing. If it had consisted of no more than a doghouse and a bag of doorknobs, FLW would have had a much freer hand, but all the designs came from one concept, a long rectangle with gable at the ends. I suspect that even the main staircase might have survived; the entrance certainly is not ordinary for FLW.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Ah . . . I should have looked harder at the core of the house.

Now, if someone can find an archival photo of the house on that lot (238 Forest Ave, Oak Park) pre-1905, we'd have additional evidence ?

S

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