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Video of the Walker House (Carmel, CA - 1948)
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DavidC



Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 6441
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:36 pm    Post subject: Video of the Walker House (Carmel, CA - 1948) Reply with quote

The quality isn't the greatest on this video-conferencing walk-through of the Walker House [5:50]. But then again, how often have we seen any type of video of the home?

The videographer/narrator (if we can truly use those terms here) doesn't seem to quite grasp the importance of what he is experiencing/seeing/showing.


David
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Dr. Peter Faukner



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
Posts: 62
Location: Cambridge, MA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To keep things in perspective, there was an addition to the BR wing.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15939
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, the wonders of modren technology. . .! I guess he's carrying his laptop around, using it as a camera ?

"Dinky. . ." but "incredible." Hope they don't burn the place down. . .


SDR
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15939
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

True, it is a unique peek at the experience of the house, inside and out. Thanks for the link !


SDR
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5797
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the wonderful thing about this video, (aside from the fuzzy glimpses of the stunning architecture) is the clear joy and awe that this person feels as he moves through this architectural space. wright's designs are democratic, they can be appreciated by the lay person as well as the educated design aficionado. this is not necessarily the case with all architecture. the filmmaker's natural response to the coziness of the shower, bathroom, and bedroom area is as strong as his appreciation of the framing of the ocean views. we are normally used to only hearing comments about wright's designs from docents and academics.

also, are there any other examples of the stepped window design in wright's oeuvre?
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Ed Jarolin



Joined: 03 Apr 2006
Posts: 277
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peterm-

The House on the Mesa project presages the use of the stepped windows at Walker by a number of years. They show up nicely in the model shown at http://recerca.upc.edu/historiaenobres/angles/ficha.php?id=177
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15939
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote




House on the Mesa interior perspective (3102.20)

Wright's "chilliest" period -- note the characterless ceiling plane and apparent lack of spacial complexity


SDR
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CEP



Joined: 01 Jul 2006
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "stepped down" window effect had an interim Wright opportunity prior to Walker - actually right around the point on Scenic Drive, also on the water but with a different orientation towards Point Lobos - the Haldorn project of the mid 40's.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15939
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The drawing above makes clear the placement and operation of the ventilating panes, in a way matched by no photo of Walker that I've seen.


SDR
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Sutton1



Joined: 30 Jun 2008
Posts: 20
Location: Denver

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was House on the Mesa desgined for a specific client and site or was it just a design exercise? Could the mesa have been in the Golden area? Did Wright visit the area and was thus inspired to create this design?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15939
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The House on the Mesa is the typical five-car luxury house that one might find in Broadacre City." FLLW (Monograph 5)




SDR
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Ed Jarolin



Joined: 03 Apr 2006
Posts: 277
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Though I can't cite book and verse, I believe this design was created as Wright's response to the International Style minimalism being touted by Phillip Johnson and Henry Russell Hitchcock in the runup to their 1932 MOMA show. It was displayed at this show along with the work of young turks Corbu, Gropius, Mies and Breuer. Whether the "House on the Mesa" actually had a client and was displayed with the client's name withheld or was simply done as an intellectual exercise I don't know. Given it's location in time in the midst the Great Depression, I suspect the latter to be the case. Never one to waste a good design, I think Wright simply placed it into the Broadacre City context afterwards.

It would seem that this design ushered in a phase of Wright's work marked by little or no ornament, integral or otherwise, and streamlines. The best examples being Fallingwater, Johnson Wax, Goetsch-Winckler and Rosenbaum.
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Dr. Peter Faukner



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
Posts: 62
Location: Cambridge, MA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ed, I seem to recall that design focus as well.

I also discovered in Treasurers of Taliesin, pg. 48, Memorial to the Soil, Chapel for Sothern Wisconsin, 1937, the same windows design used as Walker.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15939
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curtis Bessinger, in "Working with Mr Wright," p 212, mentions that the Walker ventilation is in the form of sliding, rather than hinged, glass
panels.

Brendan Gill, in "Many Masks," p 335, says the house was "designed to be exhibited at the [MoMA] exhibition. . ."

The mother lode of material on this house may be the "Unpublished notes to drawings" that B B Pfeiffer includes in Vol 3 of his "FFLW Collected
Writings," pp 126-30. Pfeiffer says the design was "prepared and exhibited in" the MoMA exhibition. Wright begins by saying

"The House on the Mesa was designed for a moderately wealthy American family of considerable culture [it never hurts to flatter your potential client - ed.]
-- master, mistress and four children, cook and two maids, chauffeur and gardener.

"Their architect intended to help them make something of machine-age luxury that would compare favorably in character and integrity with the
luxury of the Greeks or Goths, within the limits of an expenditure of some $125,000."

The house is constructed of reinforced concrete and concrete block, with extensive cantilevering of slabs; the lightweight glazed stepped screens
are suspended from above. Copper mesh hangs within these glass walls, augmented with other textiles "for warmth or coolness."

The 1935 design for Stanley Marcus also shows these stepped glass walls.


SDR
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Dr. Peter Faukner



Joined: 31 Dec 2007
Posts: 62
Location: Cambridge, MA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If memory serves me correctly, I recall a part in the FLW Ken Burns video where he interviews Philip Johnson regarding FLW. I believe Johnson talks about Wright’s submission of an international style house (House on the Mesa) for the MoMA exhibit. Johnson says something to the affect. “What did he do? He submitted this beautiful design….”

Someone should really put parts of theses videos on YouTube. Especially the part where William Cronin talks about Wright's Usonian houses.


Last edited by Dr. Peter Faukner on Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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