Wild Bird

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peterm
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Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

The only thing which now connects the "updated", "brought into the 21st century", etc. etc. house to it's site are the views. The materials and redesigned spaces all speak to a sort of urban upwardly mobile aesthetic, more like a brand new condo in West Hollywood. It is so unfortunate.

hometheater
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:35 pm

Post by hometheater »

I am at a loss to understand why he just won't let any one us have a fondness for the original.
I do understand having a fondness for the original. It's lovely. It deserves respect. I just don't think it's right to disrespect the new architect (who may not have made the fireplace/ceiling choice you disagree with and probably had nothing to do with the furniture choices) by saying:
it is clear that nobody involved had a clue.
your posts prove that they did go through extensive diligence and even after it was determined that it was not a architecturally historic resource, they went to great lengths to pay homage to the Dome House designer.

I said this morning I simply wanted to have an intelligent conversation and a healthy debate.

Over the last 24 hours I have done a lot of reading. I never expected that I would lose such respect for FLW. I am shocked that he had such little regard for his clients! He was only in it for himself - fame and fortune. There are MANY documented complaints from his clients. He preyed upon the wealthy that tolerated shoddy work because he was a "genius". "For example, in 1936 Herbert Johnson and J. Vernon Steinle visited Wright’s Richard Lloyd Jones house in Oklahoma." "An oft-recounted story tells of Johnson telephoning Wright, during a dinner party, with regard to water dripping from the ceiling into his guest-of-honour’s soup; the complaint was reportedly rebuffed unsympathetically by Wright who suggested the lady should move her chair" His homes need a champion like SaveWright (and a half dozen other similar organizations). Many are riddled with problems that make them unlivable. Only very wealthy status seekers need apply. These structures are works of art, not useable buildings. It sounds like the posters on this board also care little about the homeowner. I suppose you would just abandon the toxic studio? No concept of reality. It just looks pretty.

now if you'll excuse me I have to buff out the dent in my metal dashboard where my first wife's head hit after I couldn't stop in time.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Perhaps "Wild Bird" should be changed to "Slick Willy"?

Tom
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Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Pretty Parakeet

mdgraham
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

Fortunately the site was not altered to the same degree, thanks to the Calif. Coastal Comm. There were surviving children and grandchildren after Margaret's death, so I wondered why it it was sold, given her sentiments about the property.

KevinW
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Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:41 pm

Post by KevinW »

Defiled Bird.

$$$!!
KevinW

hometheater
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:35 pm

Post by hometheater »

I have worked on other historic homes in the area, including one that is under renovation right now.

In what way would a renovation project meet with your approval?

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

If the property is of no particular historic and/or aesthetic consequence, I'd say "knock yourself out" to the owner. It's when a singular, important, recognized architectural and/or cultural treasure is messed with that I/we take offense. Yes, it is possible to subtly introduce mechanical and structural and environmental improvement into the fabric of an historic structure without altering its appearance and its original fabric.

Not every house is "mere shelter" -- or an opportunity for profit. It's as simple as that. History and art take precedence over monetary gain and even "comfort," to some of us -- given the opportunity for input, that is.

The legends surrounding Wright are replete with tales of infidelity and leaking roofs. No one (here) is claiming total perfection for the man or his work. He was, after all, human. What evokes our interest (if not abject devotion) is what he contributed to the art of architecture: a unique gift, widely recognized and emulated, for the making of site-specific, forward-thinking yet curiously timeless, deeply affecting buildings -- spaces that shelter, that warm the spirit, that cause one visitor after another to leave with an altered view of what building "can be."

Some of the architects he inspired have in turn produced similarly-valued work -- such as the maker of Wild Bird, which is why the property is celebrated here.

SDR

mdgraham
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

Please look at the name of this site - we are advocates, fans, followers, afficianados of FLW. We (I am ) also are advocates, fans, followers, afficianados of FLW disciples, specifically (in my case), those in THE TALIESIN LEGACY. That includes John Lautner, and of course, Mark Mills. I found this site last year as a result of MM in that book. I admire and respect some other architects, but NOT to the degree herein. There are other sites where architects can be praised, work, critiqued, etc. But this is SaveWright, a wright chat, and in my opinion unless an architect worled with, was a disciple of, or Taliesin disciple, I would respectfully never bring it up. i.e. I would never bring up Corbu or Aalto for discussion. The architect of record firm was given a merit award in 2009 for Wild Bird by the San Jose AIA. The firm never acknowledged Nat, Margaret, Mark Mills, so in my opinion it was disingenuous. A lack of respect for one architect to another. Acknowledement MIGHT have made their work more receptive. Not with me but I am only one. Wild Bird stood for so much, in a begotten time, with a perception and a vision that only those 3 could produce. Nat, Margaret and Mark And maintaining it under their ownership for 40 years. So to still harangue us/me within the group about OTHER renovations, personally I have no interest. Monied interests will always find architects and engineers to do whatever a client wants. NO is the most powerful word in the English language. Some can't or won't say it. Maybe some in Monterey/Carmel/ Big Sur will disagree with my viewpoint, and they are entitled to their own opinion. But I stand by mine only because of my respect and love of Wild Bird as those 3 envisioned it.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Ahem. Well, hometheater did ask a perfectly reasonable and, I assume, sincere question.

Architecture as an art, it has been said, is uniquely at the mercy of real estate interests. A house can be both shelter, investment, and a cultural treasure, all at the same time. I don't see a clear way, short of bureaucratic designation, to affect how an owner chooses to utilize and, yes, modify his property. It's happened too many times to count. One can only hope for mercy -- and education. There have been notable successes . . .

SDR

mdgraham
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

I'll confirm but if I recollect correctly, A magnificent John Lautner house was purchased by a Priscilla Presley awhile back, pretty much gutted and re-done. She liked the site and the views. Then years later she sold it.

Some stuff is worth preserving. In my opinion, Wild Bird. I do not believe the house could be built today, from scratch, as a result of the CA Coastal Comm.

hometheater
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:35 pm

Post by hometheater »

Like I said before, I am not a student of architecture. I apologize if I was offensive when I talked about FLW. I understand the historical significance and appreciate the beauty of his work. I have just done so from a distance and had never really looked into the man or his projects very deeply. I was just surprised at his contemptuous attitude toward his clients.

I also understand your feelings on the Wild Bird house. I disagree, but I come at it from a totally different place.

Thank you so much for finally discussing this in a respectful, well thought out way. It's so much better than name calling and accusations of chicanery.
What evokes our interest (if not abject devotion) is what he contributed to the art of architecture: a unique gift, widely recognized and emulated, for the making of site-specific, forward-thinking yet curiously timeless, deeply affecting buildings -- spaces that shelter, that warm the spirit, that cause one visitor after another to leave with an altered view of what building "can be."
now that I understand.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Thank you. Yes, each person will have his or her own opinion about what constitutes significant or meaningful building. There is (literally) something for everyone, in the wide world. To some, Wild Bird was just an A-frame in a special spot -- the site being the real treasure, perhaps. So be it.

Wright was a funny guy; he was devoted to his clients and the feeling was usually mutual. But he had many quirks -- and loved to say things that would attract attention. He had, like many others, both a temper and a sense of humor. Getting to know him, from the many things he wrote and said, and from the remembrances of those who knew him, takes a long time. And he built so much that there's a lifetime of pleasure in exploring it all -- on the page, on the screen, and in person.

S

mdgraham
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Post by mdgraham »

Thank you Home theater for perhaps tolerating the passion on this site. I finally got to FallingWater in 2007, way after the renovation. i don't care is the place may have leaked like a sieve, I loved it. Everything. I would have put up with all of it as it was one w/ nature (just my opinion). I also went to Kentuck Knob a few miles away on the same day. Amazing. Different client, different site. But I appreciated it. I think the Big Sur site was the most compelling reason why this magnificent and small piece of perfection HAPPENED. They had a picnic, were not yet engaged, fell in love, had MONEY, prior to all the Calif. regulations, Coastal Comm., etc. etc., and MADE THIS HAPPEN. The book I mentioned a few days ago details, and names specifically, a few local contractors/artisans that worked out the "details" and yet from that came so much. No need for CADD, BIM, REVIT, etc. etc, etc. Perfection from an architect that probably came by the site daily as the clients were not around (yet), and had the complete trust in his on site workers that the intent would be followed. This was BEFORE fax, email, cell phones, etc. And yet the most amazing result was manifested. I know you will at least agree with that.

If you will give us nothing else as we post on arcane stuff maybe no one else gives a hoot about, let us pay homage to a time when stuff got built right, the first time. The profession of architecture, engineering and contracting is a litigious world today, and only to our detriment.

hometheater
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:35 pm

Post by hometheater »

I had not been to the site before the renovation was well underway and had not seen photos of the "old" interior before I visited this website. During my time on the project, this home struck me in a way that no other has - and I have worked on some fantastic properties.

Please also know that my day to day work deals with very modern things. It's not that I don't appreciate the way things were 60-70 years ago, I just come at it from this other place.

Wright is a bit of a different story because he did more than the architecture. He was the interior designer as well. He did the furnishings, rugs, art, all of it. Was that also the case with Mills?

My question remains. Is there a way to resto-mod a house? Can you take a home that was built in the '30s and tastefully put in modern conveniences? What would you do in the situation of the toxic building materials of the studio?

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