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A detail on the Herman Mossberg house.
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Laurie Virr



Joined: 25 Jul 2009
Posts: 471

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roderick:

Your observation regarding the roof[s] of the loggia at Taliesin in Wisconsin raises another point with regard to the nature of materials and honesty in construction.

If John Geigerís comment is correct, what FLLW achieved visually with one roof at a steeper pitch, built over another which was lower, would have been a similar effect to him having used a scissor truss in the first instance.

Of all truss forms, I would suggest that the scissors type is the most Ďhonestí. The depth of the truss is at its minimum at the springings, and maximum at the point of greatest bending moment. As such it is an expression of the imposed structural forces, but within and without the roofed space the pitch of the upper and lower chords are different, and hence the planes of the roof and ceiling also.

Would you consider the use of a scissors truss, in any building, to be honest or dishonest?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15863
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To answer ahead of others, I have no problem with the exterior and interior roof planes following the respective pitches of the structure supporting them -- neither aesthetically nor on grounds of structural honesty. And I like the scissor truss for the reasons Laurie states.

Did Mr Wright ever employ this truss type ? Would he perhaps have been troubled by the difference in plane mentioned above ? We know that his tent ceilings didn't always follow the roof above them, in placement and elevation if not in pitch.



The Mossberg fireplace, seen briefly in the video, has a rowlock or soldier course at the bottom edge of the "hood" (overmantel ?). Any opinion on whether this adds to (or detracts from) a sense of soundness about this construction ?

Wright used either stone or concrete, from an early date, to trim his brick structures. Unlike the red concrete Usonian floor mat, however, concrete above grade seems never to have been colored. Any comment on this ?

SDR
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Reidy



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 1416
Location: Northern CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not concrete trim specifically, but the block at Jones in Oklahoma is tinted purple-grey. The only person I know who's seen it compared the color to a desert sunset. It's all been painted over except the garage interior.

The Hollyhock living room might qualify as an example of a structure that appears to violate Wright's esthetic, having a peaked ceiling under a flat roof. The explanation I've heard is that an X-shaped truss system supports the roof (what we see inside is the underside of the X); this is true to Wrightian principles in that the only other way to span such an area is with steel (too expensive) or supporting posts (kills the space).

http://hollyhockhouse.net/?page_id=55&pid=31
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15863
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be a sound justification for the "truss," but the living room span is barely 20 feet, and lumber of that length has always been available. I'd be looking for another justification for the shape of the ceiling -- if one exists !

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8363

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laurie, I don't know what's going on inside the Taliesin roof, but I don't believe it functions as a scissor truss, rather as one roof over another, perhaps with no structural interconnectedness at all. A scissor truss is certainly a valid option. Whether that's what obtained or not would require some investigation.

The reason the truss system was used at Hollyhock is because the walls were built of 8" clay tile finished with layers of 1" plaster for a total thickness of 10". This tile wall can support a heavy load, but cannot take any lateral forces. By using trusses for the superstructure, the roofs become structurally independent of the walls and sit as dead weight. In Donald Hoffmann's book on Hollyhock, page 25, is a cross-section of the living room which I drew to show how the structure works. The drawing follows FLW's scheme which called for 2x4s. I don't know how closely the actual structure follows that prescription; it probably used heftier timbers. But with all the problems the house has had over the years, that structure has not been one of them. For the other five elements of the building - music room, library, dining/kitchen, guest bedrooms, 2nd story bridge - variations of the same structure was used. Upstairs, the truss ends are extended to serve as the walls and rest on two massive I-beams that span the court. At a much smaller scale, the same arrangement was designed (but not used) for Ennis, with the undersides to be covered with b&b.


Last edited by Roderick Grant on Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8363

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR, to some degree, Hollyhock is retrograde. As a transitional design, there are elements of the past as well as of future development. The interiors, though considerably altered, originally read as a continuation of the Prairie house. The 24'x46' living room, which echoes plans going all the way back to Hickox, is subdivided by the couches to express an abstraction of that tripartite scheme within a single space. It's all Prairie.
The so-called "Mayan" or "Aztec" expression is confined almost entirely to the exterior.
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2284
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been awhile since I opened my Hoffman book on Hollyhock. Great photographs, and Now I am inspired to actually read it. Ingenious truss system.

(Jump back to Mossberg: Floors and carpet? did Wright specify the white carpet for this house? And is the floor brick or concrete. Also seems to me that carpet would block radiant heat?)
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did Wright ever lay a brick floor other than at Willey ? If so, where ?


S
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2284
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Racking my memory, because I feel certain that there is at least another house with a brick floor, if not other houses, but nothing comes to mind.

The Hollyhock house is interesting to note in respect of the stair issue that we've been looking at too.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8363

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I met Mrs. Mossberg in 1985. She said that the white rug in the living room at that time was the original, made of virgin wool from India, I think. In spite of using the house fully, with children tramping snow in and out, the carpet retained its pure white color. Not sure, but I think the current carpet is a replacement. What FLW's feelings about the huge white rug was, I don't know, but I doubt he liked it.
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Started reading Hoffman's Hollyhock. RG gets a very prominent acknowledgment right up front. Seems RG is an expert on this house among others. Is there a dedicated Hollyhock thread already established in this forum?
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saw Mossberg for the first time two days ago.
We arrived at 9:44PM yet still enough light to see color.
I thought I would be dissapointed by the street elevation.
I was wrong.
One surprise is how high the first floor bedroom level is above grade at the front of the house.
The long leg of the house seems to bridge a small swale and the "effect" is apparent, not lost.
The small site plan in 'Wrightscapes" seems to show this
and there is a description in the text saying something about how
the rear terrace first stepped down from the kitchen but the site was regraded
to bring the terrace up to first floor level including some fancy
subterranean drainage work.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15863
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard to believe we have a thread on a house, without any visuals. Let's see . . .








. . . .

photos © P Maunu
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15863
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



photo © Alan Weintraub (detail)




Design before revision to two-story ?


SDR
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2284
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it's not a 'swale'
-just a long gradual slope.

the time of early night when I was there ...
windows were illuminated and the front wall had a sense of transparency
that doesn't really come through in these shots.

The sense of scale seems not captured in the photgraphs either.
The trees in front were in full leaf and made a big difference too.

Went to PeterBeers afterward.
He has an interior shot of the kitchen.
It's two storey in height and you can see into the kitchen from the exterior rear balcony.
You can see the balcony interior from the kitchen.
Didn't know that.
It's cool.
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