Keck and Keck

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Palli Davis Holubar
Posts: 1036
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:14 am
Location: Wakeman, Ohio

Keck and Keck

Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

We would be interested to hear discussion about the work of George Fred Keck and his brother William Keck. Keck and Keck was a Chicago firm whose modernist buildings were largely under appreciated until Robert Boyce's book about them in 1995. The Cleveland Out and About includes an early 50s house in Canton. The firm's Archives are in the Wisconsin State Historical Society and William has an oral history in the Chicago Art Institute digital collection as interviewed by Betty J. Blum from 1991.http://digitallibraries.saic.edu/cdm4/d ... 6833&REC=1

The House of Tomorrow and the Crystal House of the Chicago 1933 Century of Progress, the 40s Green's Ready Built pre-fabs and many private houses show the Kecks were thinking in the same worlds as both the International School and Organic Architecture- building their own style, with a vocabulary of passive solar engineering, radiant heat, Thermopane, distinct windows designs, truth to materials and the ever-present louver ventilation.

Does anyone have particular information about the Abel Fagen House, 1948 in Lake Forest IL?

dtc
Posts: 739
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:04 am

Post by dtc »

I have experienced the Keck+Keck louver windows at the Lavin residence in Canton, Ohio.
They are wonderful. Cool air tumbling in at the same time warm interior air exiting up top.
Also the roof system was designed to retain water, for in the warmer months,
presumably it would cool the building.

peterm
Posts: 6290
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

I've never been inside a Keck and Keck, but have driven through some of the lovely suburbs north of Chicago which have a high concentration of his houses. Many seem to be small no nonsense post and beams, but suited for the extremes of the Midwest climate.

http://www.lfpf.org/pdf/newsletter_fall_2009.pdf

"But the Fagen/McMahon house beautifully sums up
the best of Keck & Keck design and respect for nature and energy
conservation. In 2006, the Preservation Foundation acknowledged
the house and stewardship of owners Franklin and the late Irene
McMahon with its highest Preservation Award."

SpringGreen
Posts: 539
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:00 am

Post by SpringGreen »

The Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has furniture from the 1933 Keck & Keck "House of Tomorrow". Possibly you could talk to the furniture conservator there for information. The website for the museum is here:
http://www.chazen.wisc.edu/home.htm
"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".

dtc
Posts: 739
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:04 am

Post by dtc »

Many Humrich homes have 7’ ceilings, but that is usually not an
issue as the homes feel spacious and open. Mr. Humrich was a small
man, often dressed in a cape and beret, and had his own ideas about
human scale. He felt the low height “spreads the interior of the room
out a bit.�

Who does this sound like?

DavidC
Posts: 8121
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Re: Keck and Keck

Post by DavidC »

Palli Davis Holubar wrote:Does anyone have particular information about the Abel Fagen House, 1948 in Lake Forest IL?

See pg 4, under "Modern - George Fred Keck/Keck & Keck
(1950; Fagen/McMahon, 1711 Devonshire Lane)": L a k e F o r e s t P r e s e r v a t i o n F o u n d a t i o n - NEWSLETTER <----- PDF file

Library site w/ two images of Fagan House. Need to login, though: Keck & Keck - UNL Digital Collections


Site on Keck & Keck: Architects: Keck & Keck - George Fred Keck 1895 – 1980 - William Keck 1908 - 1995

Keck brothers bring mid-century modern home

Featured Home: Keck + Keck

Book on Keck & Keck: Keck and Keck

A Keck & Keck that was/is for sale: Keck & Keck Mid-Century Modern in its Summer Glory: 2939 W. Catalpa in Budlong Woods


David

SDR
Posts: 20205
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Palli says:

Image Image

peterm
Posts: 6290
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Chicago Bauhaus under the influence of Wright. The Archipenko screen, with Saarinen, Aalto and Noguchi furniture makes for a highly sophisticated atmosphere.

It looks like it might have cork floors...

SDR
Posts: 20205
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Palli sends these pages from the March 1951 Architectural Record:


Image

Image[/i]

SDR
Posts: 20205
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

From the LFPF Newsletter linked by Peter above:

The [Fagan] house is situated in one of several groves of trees
and completely screened from the road which is about 1500
feet away. It is oriented to the south for winter sunshine and
toward the major view which is in that direction. All major
rooms face away from the entrance side giving privacy to the
living areas. The plan is a development of the solar house which
architect George Fred Keck reports is extremely popular with
the owners who understand the principles of orientation and
the development of regional types of houses. A point was made
of the angular placement of large glass areas not only for view,
but “also for the reflective values of the glass, which add a note
to the spatial feeling in the house, and rid it of the monotony of
the rectangular unit.� Construction is of wood and stone in a
traditional manner. The flat roof was designed to carry water
for cooling the house in the heat of summer months.

Wide-spreading wings fan out from the centrally located living-
dining room to afford a wider view from the living area: the
study and bedroom wing to the northwest; and the service wing
with a hobby room at the far end to the northeast. The central
core, which contains the boiler room, has fireplaces opening
to the living room and the study. Above and surrounding the
angular wall of the fireplace in the living room is a clerestory
which brings additional daylight to this focal part of the room.
The master bedroom enjoys a wide expanse of view with its
three-angled window wall oriented to the east, south and
west....Radiant heating is provided through copper coils in
the masonry floor which is directly on the ground. Mr. Keck
reports that heat loss to the ground is negligible, and that the
floors are cool in summer because they are in contact with the
cool ground. A direct effort was made in construction to shelter
the house from summer heat, equalizing as much as possible
variations in temperature. Most lighting is indirect fluorescent
cove lighting.

___________________________________________________

'A point was made of the angular placement of large glass areas not only for view, but “also for the reflective values of the glass, which add a note
to the spatial feeling in the house, and rid it of the monotony of the rectangular unit.� ' An interesting statement, no doubt from the architect;
is he referring to the exterior appearance of the house, as seen in (for instance) the exterior photo shown earlier ? Surely the reflections
on the glass when inside the house are not a desirable feature . . .

A most impressive house. Perhaps Mr Keck was inspired by some of Mr Wright's "reflex geometry" Usonian designs, like the Hanna Honeycomb and others ?

S D R

SDR
Posts: 20205
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

This number of the River Forest Preservation Foundation Newsletter has quite a trove of goodies; information about architects Hill, Keck,
Humrich, Dart, Siegwart, Lanza, and Roloson opens new chapters for students of midwestern postwar modernism.

I have in the past been in touch with the owner of a Barrington Hills, IL Edward Dart-designed residence, which this man has taken some pains to
restore. The house occupies a open-wooded parklike setting near a large private pond, and is a flat-roofed structure with steel beams in the high-
ceilinged main space showing below a sand-plastered plane, and walls of Chicago common brick. The original owner had Dart provide him with a
space off the living room for his pipe organ; the present owner has converted that space and reconstructed a missing exterior wall by saving
brick from demolition and laboriously back-sawing much of it to accommodate an obstruction that would have resulted in excessive
thickness to the wall. Sand plaster ceilings have been restored or recreated as necessary elsewhere in the house.

The lesson for me: there are a number of second-string modernists whose work many of us may never encounter, without being led to it by
new owners or interested researchers. Mr Humrich seems another likely subject for such research. And of course the Kecks deserve more
exposure. Thanks to Palli for opening the subject with this thread . . .

Stephen

therman7g
Posts: 264
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:14 am
Location: Illinois

Edward Humrich

Post by therman7g »

Edward Humrich houses in Riverwoods, IL:

http://www.chicagobauhausbeyond.org/cbb ... sTour.html

Palli Davis Holubar
Posts: 1036
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:14 am
Location: Wakeman, Ohio

Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

Wrightgeek, sorry you couldn't be with us yesterday when the volunteers met at the Keck & Keck Lavin House House- a lovely house and gracious original homeowners.
You mentioned the Brauner House has a Keck and Keck House next door in another post a year or more ago. (Wrightchat search works great if there isn't much to find!) Do you know any more or have photos?

The Lavin House (1953) is on the Cleveland Out and About tour. It is a study in the universality of many Usonian tenets. All of the characteristic vocabulary of Fred and William Keck buildings is clear. In particular, radiant heat in the slab, passive solar design, prominent use of great expanses of stock sizes of thermopane, and inventive uses of louvered air circulating panels. The private facade opens toward a beautiful 5 acre site with views through floor to clerestory thermopane wall sections separated by floor to clerestory "wall cabinets" whose doors open to screen mesh and louver panels. The roof overhang cantilevers out on the private side to complete the passive solar intent. In addition, the wide clerestory windows are mirrored on the north side. The house is also a good study in the delicate problem of additions. Several additions expanded the house for the growing family and all were designed by Keck and Keck.

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10575
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

Palli, is Lavin the stone house with shed roofs and exposed beams? I think I have that in a magazine somewhere in the bowels of my collection. Wonderful house by one of the best, most underrated architects. (Although I must admit I'm not a fan of the B. J. Cahn House (1937) in Lake Forest, IL.)

dtc
Posts: 739
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:04 am

Post by dtc »

The Lavin house is brick and stucco, not stone.
It is an all flat roof structure. At least two if not three three different heights.

As for the floors wood parquet in the main spaces. Stone in the entry and terrace, and cork in the kitchen.

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