EFFECTIVE 14 Nov. 2012 PRIVATE MESSAGING HAS BEEN RE-ENABLED. IF YOU RECEIVE A SUSPICIOUS DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS AND PLEASE REPORT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.
This is the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's Message Board. Wright enthusiasts can post questions and comments, and other people visiting the site can respond.
You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, *-oriented or any other material that may violate any applicable laws. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned (and your service provider being informed). The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. You agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this forum have the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time they see fit.
Many things turn out to have simple explanations---others, not so much. Maybe we could start here:
Symmetry is the natural form of things---on this planet, and perhaps in this universe. It seems to be Nature's default form.
And it's not hard to understand why. Balance is the desired state, the reliable state of being; it literally "works"---for creat-
ures which move, certainly, but elsewhere as well.
Asymmetry, on the other hand, seems to be nature's Exception that Proves the Rule. And one major reason for its ap-
pearance seems to be when a single part of a mechanism is unique to the structure. In the case of the two or four-legged
animal, it could be the heart, or the brain, or the mouth.
To maintain Nature's apparently preferred symmetry, a singular element would have to be placed on the centerline of the
object. This works for the nose, the mouth---maybe even the heart (if not, for some reason, in Man).
In the case of the building it might be the front door, or the chimney, or the stair or the bathroom (for instance).
But how many house plans have you seen where the door, the stair, the chimney and the (single) bathroom are all placed
symmetrically in the building---on the centerline, that is ?
I don't recall seeing this occur ever, even once, though I suppose there could be an example out there somewhere. Even
in his most thoroughly symmetrical envelopes, Mr Wright was not able to pull that off.
(And unless redundant runs are employed, the symmetrical stair has to be a single straight flight, not one with a return !)
So, there's the beginning of the path away from total symmetry in building design. Of course there are many other factors
which can take the plan away from perfect bilateral symmetry. But we see that a least of few of them will be present in al-
most every case.
In nature, much is indeed symmetrical, but much is not. Mollusks are mostly spiral, not symmetrical. The cross-sections of waves are spiral, vortices are spiral. In fact, nature in general, is based on the Golden Mean, which is not always obvious. The seemingly bilaterally symmetrical maple leaf is based on the conjoining of two spirals, as are most leaf patterns.
In architecture, a center of balance is more important than bilateral symmetry. For instance, as I have noted in the past, the east faÃƒÂ§ade of Hollyhock is centrally balanced, but not bilaterally symmetrical. The overall east-west line of symmetry passes through the very center of the west elevation, and through the center of the opening to the garden court on the east side, but the structure to the south of that opening is less than the structure to the north. The grand windows in the master bedroom are balanced, not by a similar arrangement on the north, but by a greater extension.
Picture a standard hammer. The head end is heavier than the grip end, but somewhere in between is a point where the weight left and right are equal. Or a fat kid and a skinny kid on a see-saw. If they want to make the thing work, the fat kid has to be closer to the fulcrum.
Bilateral symmetry is simple; bilateral balance can be very tricky.
In classical architecture that is rigidly symmetrical, the minor 'organs,' like the appendix, don't have to line up with the axes.
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/3c/b7/3e ... 1304fc.png
https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-plan- ... 98126.html
To which I would add that in this plan not a shred of symmetry is to be found . . . other than in the representation of the dining table and chairs, or in the various pairs of hinged doors and sash ?
An interesting example of how FLW got away from it is in the double doors at Auldbrass. While seen head on, they are symmetrically paired, but since they are battered, just moving slightly this way or that, they are no long symmetrical.
http://www.deconcrete.org/2012/05/22/re ... nt-greece/
Would be interesting to see if he considered sym and asym in his thoughts.
1Ã¢â‚¬â€œRadii from the vantage point determined the position of three corners of each important building, so that a three-quarter view of each was visible.
2-Generally, all important buildings could be seen in their entirety from the viewpoint, but if this was not possible, one building could be completely hidden by another; it was never partially concealed. [Ã¢â‚¬Â¦]
4-The position of the buildings was determined not only by the angle of vision but also by their distance from the viewpoint. [Ã¢â‚¬Â¦]
6-One angle, frequently in the center of the field of vision was left free of buildings and opened directly to the surrounding countryside. This represented the direction to be followed by the person approaching the site: it was the Ã¢â‚¬Å“sacred wayÃ¢â‚¬Â�. [Ã¢â‚¬Â¦]
Acropolis I, II, III:
http://www.deconcrete.org/wp-content/up ... II-III.jpg
These Ã¢â‚¬Å“oppositesÃ¢â‚¬Â� are to be found in the architecture of nature. I think he felt that balancing these elements was comforting for humans.
So within a structure, he attempted to achieve a balance of opposites, while simulating environments which might subliminally remind us of how and where we exist on the earth, within the universe, and from where we evolved.
He did think symmetrically at the Johnson Wax tower, modeling the building after the growth patterns of a tree.
https://willgoodlet.com/posts/why-does- ... hirds-work