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.
I'm doing some research and am hoping the experts can help out. Below is the breakdown in estimated costs that accompanied the "$5000 Fireproof House" that Wright designed for the Ladies Home Journal in 1907. I've also added what those estimated costs translate into as 2008 dollars (based on an inflation calculator):
â€¢ Concrete construction, masonry and plastering...$3100 ($76,150.41 in 2008 dollars)
â€¢ Carpentry, millwork, sash-doors and screens, labor and trimming...$1100 ($27,021.11 in 2008 dollars)
â€¢ Plumbing and furnace...$460 ($11,299.73 in 2008 dollars)
â€¢ Wiring...$70 ($1,719.52 in 2008 dollars)
â€¢ Painting and glazing...$160 ($3,930.34 in 2008 dollars)
â€¢ Hardware...$90 ($2,210.81 in 2008 dollars)
Total= $4980 ($122,331.95 in 2008 dollars)
â€¢ If magnesite floors are used add...$320 ($7860.68 in 2008 dollars)
Total= $5300 ($130,192.64 in 2008 dollars)
So, my question is this--could this same design be executed today at or near that relative price?
I couldn't begin to estimate a price for this house, but I had an estimate done by a historical restoration contractor when shopping for insurance for the Sweeton house for the cost to replace process by process, material for material: it was about $500/sq ft...and that was for a concrete block Usonian. Labor and custom millwork/windows are the big items in a lot of Wright houses, and the Fireproof House for $5000 has a poured concrete structure as well.
In the end... one has to consider exactly what it is that makes a 1907 Wright design desirable today. The plan that you included is a pretty basic '4-square' type of architecture, which doesn't really get anybody excited in-and-of-itself. Certainly the existing FLW works from that era have tremendous charm because of their pedigree and the attention to detail in selection of materials and the execution of the woodworking, etc. Aside from those seeking a 'retro' look or trying to fit new construction into an older neighborhood, is there any particular value in trying to execute this type of design today for new construction?
Ultimately, it would probably come down to having the design reworked to utilize current materials and comply to current codes, and then apply whatever $/sq ft calculation would apply to custom construction in the neighborhood of interest.
The application of these 'inflation calculators' doesn't really include any adjustment for the way that the relative value of materials versus labor has changed over the 100 years we're talking about. If there are available similar calculators that apply different rates for the different cost areas, that might begin to produce a more realistic number. Even that, though, would presume similar construction techniques would be employed - which is doubtful.
Interesting topic to consider, though.
As noted above current day energy and code requirements impose a whole new level of costs that Wright did not have to worry about.
This is a real apples and oranges question. You can not replicate his design and construction techniques, apples to apples, today for any amount of money. It will not be allowed.
Isn't the Brigham Residence in Glencoe, IL, the only version (albeit slightly modified/enlarged) of the "Fireproof House For $5000" that was actually constructed of concrete?
Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but that is my recollection from a visit to the house during the FLWBC Conference last year. Both the owner of the house, who spoke to our group, and John Thorpe, who led the tour and has done restorative work on the house, made reference to this during our visit.
By the way, how was your trip to Cloquet, MN for the Lindholm gas station's 50th anniversary celebration and symposium?
We have the close-out documents for Davenport. It was built in 1901 for $1.70 per square foot for the house alone. This did not include the garage, landscaping, and architectural and engineering fees.
In comparison Davenport was completed sans garage was completed in 1901 for $3,500. It was sold at approximately the same time that Fallingwater was constructed for $7,000. E. Arthur Daveport was quite pleased with that.JimM wrote:Interestingly, both Martin and Fallingwater came in at $100,000 in there respective eras; I would think $100,000 in 1907 would have seemed incredible.
Off topic. Jim, I rode my bike on your island, Lopez Island, on Tuesday, August 5. Lopez Island and the other San Juan Islands are quite beautiful. I especially liked Lopez Island for cycling because it is relatively flat and sparsely populated.
Yes, in the summer bike clubs from all over the world show up. Lopez does have a reputation as the "flattest" island for biking; but the hill right off the ferry is one of the steepest grades on the island! I always wonder what bicyclists think as they (usually) have to walk their bikes as soon as they get off the ferry.pharding wrote:Off topic. Jim, I rode my bike on your island, Lopez Island, on Tuesday, August 5. Lopez Island and the other San Juan Islands are quite beautiful. I especially liked Lopez Island for cycling because it is relatively flat and sparsely populated.
Sounds like you were here briefly, but if you ever return be sure to let me know.