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Sturges House
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Momole



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:16 pm    Post subject: Sturges House Reply with quote

Hi,
I am student of architecture in France. We have a execice about Usonian houses of F.L. Wright and I have to do a model of Sturges House (1939).
So I'm looking for the original plans and technical informations of this house, particulary the structure.

Do you have some informations of this house ?

Thank you very much.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are Taliesin drawings as reproduced in FLLW Monograph 6 (1937-1941), published in Tokyo in 1986 by A.D.A EDITA. These drawings are not dated and may not represent what was built, nor are they necessarily consistent with each other. I can send you my full-size scans if you provide an address.

The structure is quite unconventional. For instance, the floor and roof slabs are composed of resawed 4x6 (that is, 3x4) lumber spiked together; the roof slabs are supported (other than at the walls) by 3x6 or 3x12 lumber on the flat, resting on spindles that rise from the primary roof beams (4x12 rough, 6'-6" on center). 6'-6" (six foot six inches), the major horizontal module or bay dimension, translates to 1.9812 m. The vertical module, coinciding with the tops of the wall planks (according to one of the drawings) is 11 inches, or 279.4 mm.












Last edited by SDR on Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1957
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incredible architectural gem.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hadn't spent time with the first section sheet above, 'til now. It makes several things about the house quite clear, including the interesting fact of the six-and-a-half foot module and its appearance in both the east-west and north-south sections -- despite the extreme difference in the evident structural and spatial requirements of those two axes. It's as though the architect made a first decision that he was going to try to accommodate all the requirements of this unique and complex composition without departing from the simplest and most elemental of grids. Compare, for instance, the Goetsch-Winckler plan, which is drawn on a 2 by 4-foot grid . . .



These drawings, and the many many others like them which were published a generation ago in the renowned series of monographs, comprise the core library of study material for the Wright scholar and enthusiast alike -- in my opinion. That is because construction documents like these represent the architectural "rubber meeting the road" -- the time and place where the designer/builder must prove himself, where he commits to specific means by which his vision and desire will be realized. The details and notes included in the drawing sheets, as well as the images themselves, revealing the core truths of the given project, are priceless in terms of acquainting us with how the architect thought about building -- at this particular moment in his career, at least. It would be hard to argue that one could learn more about the structure -- the material reality, the nuts and bolts (or boards and bricks) -- of the house by visiting it in person, than by making a thorough study of these drawings.


SDR
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Momole



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much

I join my mail : marion.taupe@hotmail.com
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7412

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The built house digressed from the plan in one detail: The 4"x12" redwood beams that support the roof in the drawings were unavailable, so the beams were made of paired 2"x12" boards. Also, the spindles that supposedly support the roof above the beams are not structural. Jack Larson, owner, removed one to show that they were put there merely for appearance sake. Jack and the late James Bridges, who bought the house in the early 70s, did a superb job of restoring it with the help of John Lautner (who added some steel to support the projecting trellis over the balcony). An earlier owner had painted the entire interior orange, but Bridges/Larson restored the wood to perfection. In the 60s, Jack went to Japan before the Imperial was demolished and returned with a huge collection of dinnerware from a number of different eras in various patterns.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's always slightly distressing or disappointing to see a joint in the face of what is supposed to be a continuous structural member . . . !






Yukio Futagawa photos


Last edited by SDR on Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Deke



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 692
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was always disappointed that in all the years I spent in LA, the house was never open for a tour. I did drive by it often.

Deke
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1957
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Painted it ORANGE! Jesus, bloody murder.

An intriguing structural detail in the drawings: Steel reinforcing in the main masonry mass seems to be tied in to the main embedded wood floor joists.
The embedded ends of these joists appear to be drilled and threaded with a steel pipe. And then, not sure about this, but that pipe may in turn be tied to vertical steel reinforcing in the masonry mass that extends the full height of the house.

In the main space, the detail of the paired 2x12 boards meeting the main brick masonry mass seems unusually abrupt for Wright.

What a brilliant house.
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1957
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So if the spindles are not structural what holds up the roof? Guess I'll have to take another look.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it a bit hard to believe that those curious spindles would be included just for decoration -- or that those 3-bys holding the roof deck wouldn't benefit from some help. I accept that one or more could be removed without leading to collapse. A 3x12, even on the flat, is a considerable member -- and the laminated deck itself, 4 inches thick, has good structural potential -- witness the very generous spacing of the structural grid.

The delight is that the design anticipates that a very slender member, operating strictly in compression, is all that would be needed to stiffen the roof plane -- in the event of someone walking about on it, and to prevent deflection over time ? No snow loads in LA, needless to say . . .

There is a further mystery: included in the spindle, near the bottom, is an extra groove placed in the middle of a "block." This shows both in the drawing and in the color photo. Could this have been intended to accept some piece of hardware -- an unbuilt lighting device, say ? What could be the meaning of that groove ?

SDR
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1957
Location: Black Mountain, NC

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

SDR, seems to me that you must be exactly right. Well expressed too.
I have no idea about extra "notch" in the spindle.
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Tim



Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Posts: 226

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the ways a building can be damaged during an earthquake is when the different building elements don’t move in tandem. Could the spindles be tying the roof deck and the beams together? Just a guess…
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14141
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's no indication that the spindles contain a metal element -- nor indeed how they are secured in compression. RG was there when a spindle was removed, so perhaps he can shed some light on that. Other than when upthrust separates a house from its foundation, most seismic movement is horizontal in its effect on structure, as I have it -- and those spindles would be utterly worthless in resisting horizontal movement, wouldn't they ?

Note that the spindle is matched to the ribbed partition above the bedroom walls. Both elements contain the extra groove near the bottom. Most peculiar. (I am also puzzled, still, about how the largest diagonal element in the section drawing is able to help support the principle cantilever, when it appears to dwindle to almost nothing before it reaches the base of the masonry mass !)

SDR
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 1957
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had not noticed the end of that diagonal bracing member. It does seem as if it would tear right off under any kind of load. Not to mention, it's resting on brick veneer!

I would have thought there needed to be a vertical piece at that point tying the bottom of the brace back to the top. ...?
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