Color shots of Pauson pre-fire.

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Color shots of Pauson pre-fire.

Post by rightwaswright »

and some b&w shots post-fire ... 100018689/


Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Even as a ruin, Pauson was better than most houses by lesser lights. The site should have been left alone. Freeways never improve the environment. Considering how small the window of opportunity there was between the introduction of color photography and the fire, it's amazing that any color photographs at all exist.

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Post by NickSpellman »

Does anyone know the circumstances of the fire that claimed Shiprock and why the house was not rebuilt?

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Post by EJ »

My understanding is that the fire started when some hot ashes from the fireplace blew (via an open window) onto the adjacent curtains, setting them ablaze. The house was a seasonal abode for Mrs. Pauson, who was not in residence at the time of the fire, but it was entrusted to another person to care for it. But I honestly don't know the definitive reason why the house wasn't rebuilt.

It was quite a house, though. Absolutely beautiful.
"It all goes to show the danger of entrusting anything spiritual to the clergy" - FLLW, on the Chicago Theological Seminary's plans to tear down the Robie House in 1957

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Post by Richard »

After looking at these and the Guererro photos, I think (forgive me Frank) that this is one of his more clunky designs. However, on some level, I do like the house on the whole and I thought the photo of the carport side was the most interesting and best executed. Just one man's opinion.

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Post by JimM »

Richard wrote:After looking at these and the Guererro photos, I think (forgive me Frank) that this is one of his more clunky designs.

Interesting. I think Frank's solution was it's complete charm. Other than sand and its elevated location, there didn't appear to be any discernable interest in the immediate area to draw inspiration for the house, from aerial photos I have seen. I think he succeeded in creating sculpturally an improvement to the site-as he did with his best work. This house was thought out very differently than other usonians, yet shared similar traits.

Even though there was no street to turn its back on, the board and battened rubble walls still enclosed and turned the house inward on itself, yet the prow extended out creating controlled access to that vast nothingness. Any other solution would have made the house look "plunked down" and out of place. As it was, it very much belonged there. A perfect refuge in the desert.

It's of interest that the sharp upward angle of the battened walls were echoed in the terrace. The design intent is obvious, but you would expect the terrace to have sloped downward embracing the site. Perhaps the fortress-like effect would have been compromised, and the upward thrust certainly is an intentional juxtaposition.

A more distressing situation may have occurred had Pauson not burned. I'm not sure if the site was in the direct path of a freeway, but this particular house could not have been moved.

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Post by SDR »

I have not visited the site, but the early photos show no other visible structures in the vicinity. The drama of the house would have been (as elsewhere) the entry sequence: up the broad steps, through a "tunnel" between stone and beneath wood, to an overlook with a view of Phoenix; then a right turn to the front door, left past the kitchen and down two steps to the living room floor. It must have been lovely. . .


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Post by SpringGreen »

Reminds me of something someone said to me about FLLW and his buildings: they would make beautiful ruins.
"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".

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Post by Mobius »

Love the look of the Pauson house.

The ruins are stunning, but not as nice as the dwelling!
How many escape pods are there? "NONE, SIR!" You counted them? "TWICE, SIR!"

*Plotting to take over the world since 1965

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Post by CEP »

As to some earlier questions posed regarding the ultimate fate of the Paulson home and property, I can shine a bit of light on the subject, having done some research on a related writing project. While researching several unrealized Wright projects for the Monterey peninsula, I accessed some personal correspondence between client (Georgine Boomer, who ultimately built the virtually identical Clark project home originally planned for the sand at Carmel Bay beach) and architect. Georgine and Lucius Boomer originally contacted FLW in March of 1945 to inquire about the availability of the plans for the Paulson home, should they be interested in purchasing the property and refurbishing/rebuilding the remains of the burned out home. Wright responded that he

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