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Willey house web site
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willey
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:54 pm    Post subject: Willey house web site Reply with quote

Great site with lots of info www.thewilleyhouse.com
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rgrant
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terrific site for one of the best designs of FLW's entire career. It's great that this masterpiece is being restored. Now if we can only convince the State of Minnesota to remove that damned freeway!
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hertz
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:54 pm    Post subject: Willey House Reply with quote

I had the privilege of touring and photographing the house, which is carefully being restored by Lynette Erickson-Sikora and Conservancy board member Steve Sikora, last month. I will be posting an article and photos on www.wrightinracine.com in the near future. I will post a note here, when it happens. Sikora is a talented designer, and his talent shows in the web site!



Mark Hertzberg
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2213
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The First Usonian. A brilliant FLW design which reduces domestic architecture down to the essentials. Superb restoration and a very comprehensive website to match.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn
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SWSinDC
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:07 am    Post subject: Willey Reply with quote

As more and more of these excellently-designed websites dedicated to restored Wright masterpieces come online, I cannot help thinking that they are the perfect 21st century homage to great 20th century design.
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flwright



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 116
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,



Have you thought of making a similar website for your restoration project? The photos you have posted so far have been wonderful; it would be nice to see more photos and the project's progression laid out as nicely as the Willey's website.
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Morgan
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
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Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

flwright wrote:
Paul,



Have you thought of making a similar website for your restoration project? The photos you have posted so far have been wonderful; it would be nice to see more photos and the project's progression laid out as nicely as the Willey's website.


Yes, I have thought about it since I saw the Willey website. I intend do a website eventually. The bar is set extremely high based upon Willey website. I could not match that. Right now, my priorities are to bear down on marketing for my architectural practice because we need more work in the pipeline for August and beyond, and to get the restoration substantially complete on the Davenport House so that we can move in in August. At the same time for 06, I am chair of a national knowledge community for the American Institute of Architects. I am stretched too thin right now to undertake another major project. What I can do is to bear down and take even more photographs so that I have the raw material for the website.
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SWSinDC
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:59 am    Post subject: Willey House Reply with quote

pharding wrote:
The First Usonian.




Paul, I have to agree with you (at least with respect to non-textile block Usonians). Why, then, does Jacobs I, built two years later, get the credit?
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
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Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: Willey House Reply with quote

SWSinDC wrote:
pharding wrote:
The First Usonian.




Paul, I have to agree with you (at least with respect to non-textile block Usonians). Why, then, does Jacobs I, built two years later, get the credit?


Architectural historians are important and valued, but they are not architects. They lack the understanding that comes with the practice of architecture and how ideas and buildings are developed in an architectural firm. They also tend to restate many conventional ideas. They also tend to see one FLW house as being the great one with all the innovation. In reality FLW's ideas were evolutionary and built upon prior projects. When backed into a corner, for example by Mrs Willey, FLW was at his creative best. There is no doubt in my mind that that the Wiley House was the First Usonian. It is an important, historically ignored and unappreciated minor masterpiece that will hopefully get the recognition that it richly deserves.



The other thing that happens is that houses that do not photograph well because of poor maintenance or unfortunate, generally stupid alterations are ignored by historians.
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FTA



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 150

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:33 pm    Post subject: thoughts on the Willey house ... Reply with quote

My family and I had the pleasure of meeting Steve Siroko shortly after he acquired the Willey house. He was gracious to show us through, such as it was.



grant ... As for the freeway .... having been raised in Minnesota (many years ago!) my recollection is that the only reason the Willey house exists is because of a furor over the freeway running through it and powers at be finally relenting to curve that portion around the Willey house to preserve it. While we'd all rather have the freeway gone, I'm grateful the house still exists.



phardy ... As for the first Usonian ... having done research in the Taliesin archives, I believe the Hoult house, desinged for Wichita, KS, is considered the first Usonian design. It was never built but the very similar Jacobs 1 followed shortly afterward. If you've been in the Willey house, it is more reminiscent of Taliesin (Wisconsin) than any Usonian I've been in. The Willey has a wonderful feel to it - perhaps more the hybrid between Prairie and Usonian than strictly one or the other.



And yes - the website is remarkable. I will hope to tour the house when in Minneapolis next summer.
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EJ



Joined: 13 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to muddy up the waters a bit, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer considers the unbuilt Lusk house in South (?) Dakota as the first usonian. It's very similar to the Jacobs house, an L plan, but the entire property was to enclosed by a wood fencing matching the exerior of the house. THere is also an interesting study/office at the end of the living room. A neat design that pre-dates Jacobs I.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By process of elimination, FLW stated Wingspread was his last of his prarie houses. Whatever came after that was Usonian.
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2213
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
By process of elimination, FLW stated Wingspread was his last of his prarie houses. Whatever came after that was Usonian.


I disagree. With FLW clean breaks are not the rule. Ideas seem to evolve and morph into the next project. If you look at Willey it is the embryonic Usonian House. Not fully refined yet, but the key elements are there. Mrs. Willey forced FLW to address a challenging budget constraint and still generate a special house. FLW responded with an incredibly innovative and creative solution. FLW was at his creative best when confronting unique challenges and a client committed to architectural excellence.
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
By process of elimination, FLW stated Wingspread was his last of his prarie houses. Whatever came after that was Usonian.




Actually, it was perhaps the FIRST "prairie" house.... if being located anywhere that remotely resembles a prairie matters!



Defining Usonian, Prairie, etc. can be problematic, and dangerously borders on reducing Wright to style. You can't, and shouldn't try to, categorize the indefinable. There are no Wright "styles"; every design shares a relationship with the others, as well as posessing it's own uniqueness. The location of the damn fireplace was wherever it fit the design for the effect he was after.



For what it's worth, IMHO, Willey would get the nod as the first house with specific "usonian" characteristics. Hoult, Lusk, Jacobs, et al, are usonian in the context that their elements evolved into the identifiable "standard" Usonian we all know and love. Jacobs 1 simply was built at the right time and surely to primarily test Wrights current, but evolving, thoughts on affordable architecture.
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rgrant
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first design for Willey became the Lloyd Lewis House, undeniably Usonian, and perhaps the best of the lot. I would say what sets Jacobs I (and Jacobs II) apart is the lyrical quality of the designs. As is always the case, from the heyday of ancient Egypt onward, styles of art begin with a rough or lyric statement that, over time, becomes refined to classical, baroque, rococo, and then the process starts all over again with a new direction. Whether or not FLW worked in styles, let the historians squabble over it, but he did follow that old tradition through the classical stage, generally dropping a line of development before baroque and moving on to something else. Was Willey Usonian? Who care? That isn't an argument about architecture, just history. Was Willey a masterpiece? Absolutely! And "that's all ye need to know of heaven."
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