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Chahroudi / Massaro residence on Petre Island
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goffmachine



Joined: 08 Apr 2010
Posts: 206

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:54 am    Post subject: Works after the genius dies. Reply with quote

I think there is a range(realm of ideas?) in which a FLLW design may still be considered a True FLLW design. The fact that any design is constructed after his death not to be considerd a true design is rediculous. If Beethoven is played today by The London Philharmonic today , does that mean its not Beethhoven? If its within a range of the ideas and principles of Wright then it should be considered True. If for example Fallingwater were to be rebuilt in another site with other materials such as all steel in a residencial neighborhood, well then that would be considered out of the range. However if it is altered to another site (or budget) and constructed withing Mr. Wrights ideas you have yourself the Pew House. I believe FLLW designs can be transfered to other sites if it is done reasonably and respectfully. A Picasso in a museum or in bedroom is just fine. In the bathroom or on the porch would be rediculous. I believe Beethhoven played by an orchestra today as well as when he was alive still to be Beethhoven. Even Beethhoven on acoustic guitar is still Beethoven. On your cell phone too. (although not my favorite way to hear it) Its the execution of the design that is in question , not the design itself. You can dislike the the execution but it should still be called a Wright design. Just not called played well. Is a novel written by a great author no longer considered a novel once the author dies?
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 2203
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Music is music and architecture is architecture. They are different. Those legacy projects that I have seen are very mediocre buildings, at best, done in the manner of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Massaro House is rather dreadful.
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Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn
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KevinW



Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 1269

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:38 pm    Post subject: Not Wright... Reply with quote

I am both a musician, and an Architect. There are flaws in your comparison. The biggest flaw being, there are no building codes in regard to playing someone elses music....and once played, in most cases the results are soon gone. In Architecture, and specifically Wright designed buildings, I feel that the drawings that exist are poorly interpreted beyond the point of authentic recognition.

If I hear an 8th grade band play Beethoven, it is a poorly translated interpetation, no it is no longer Beethoven....it becomes Beethoven-esque..Beethoven-lite, but Not Beethoven. Well intended as it may be, no longer Authentic. But the music eventually fades from memory, but the poorly interpreted building stands for years reminding us of the good intention....

We are too far removed from the creator of the idea for it to succeed as authentic.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14609
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well -- did Wright hold the hand of the carpenter ? Of the mason, or the glass fabricator ? Weren't his intentions handed to the craftsman by an apprentice, with direction from afar for the most part ? Do we not now have ample evidence, from the corpus of built work, of the best that could be had (in the right hands) from Wright's drawings, by way of guidance for the present-day constructor ?

Is the repair and reconstruction work done at Robie, or Martin, inferior to the standard that Wright held ? Wouldn't we expect the same degree of finesse in new work ?

In discussing this issue it should be assumed from the start that we have the best available craft at out disposal. At least, that is the assumption that I make. Of course inferior workmanship is loose in the world -- but what is the point of assuming that it will be the deciding factor in the success of a Wright reproduction.

Where are the cogent arguments against the enterprise ?

SDR
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Deke



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

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll make the argument that as important as the buildings are...it's the drawings that really hold Wright's genius and legacy. He was an architect...a designer...not a general contractor. And like a Shakespeare or a Beethoven, there will be people interpreting his work for hundreds of years. But the drawings, like the play or the musical score, are his creation.

Deke
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goffmachine



Joined: 08 Apr 2010
Posts: 206

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR, Deke,

Thank you for some parralell thinking.
Shakespeare translated into japanese is still Shakespeare.
Like I said. Its about execution.
Im sure Mr. Wright would love to have his designs constructed with the best material in thge best manner. Time has now given us the technology to catch up to him. Im sure he would want to have his buildings made today. Just as Shakespeare would want people to read his work. Any variation is still Shakespeare(West side story even. Although not my favorite.) Wright may have seen in his lifetime many of his works unfullfilled to his expectations due to clients budgets or tastes.(fawcett house has tan concrete floor not red and Fallingwater never got its gold leaf).
SDR is SO correct about the execution of the designs. So many different masons and laborors of different talents and ability finalise the work..not wright himself. He Wright were the construction worker then the Reproduction of a Picasso argument may be valid. But I think The designs/plans are like the notes of a symphony on the page. Could last through the ages and played at a later time. Would beethoven object to his work being broad cast on something unbelievable such as RADIO? Maybe he would dislike the ringtone version. Maybe not?Perhaps today its the same. It could be done better or worse.The execution. These are the standards to measure if its a true Wright or not. Not if a design is made in his lifetime.
Are we to say The novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is not a true novel because the author is dead? The work can be re printed and can live forever. Im sure Mr wright would love to have copies of his work.(As long as he could be given the credit...and the cash) He always made of point of telling the world what was his and what was not. He would would be saying that these legacy houses were HIS... And... Wheres my check?
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Last edited by goffmachine on Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14609
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps an avenue of approach would be to analyze the "legacy" (small L) houses built so far, with the aim of discovering why most if not all of them fail to satisfy what I believe we can all agree are the desirable attributes: sensitive and accurate realizations of Wright's drawings and directives, correctly sited and landscaped, and furnished and finished appropriately -- to give those interested in Wright new opportunities to appreciate his work.

I agree wholly that the work on paper represents the true treasure. Each built work can at best be an approximation of the aim of the architect. Yet each of these is, of course, a treasure too -- and the "proof" of the work in each case, some better realized than others. It was the architect's aim to see, even if briefly, that proof of his ideas, and it seems to have been his aim from first to last to see as many of them as possible. He was always ready to build. And no amount of study of the drawings can satisfy the desire to see the work realized "in the flesh."

I recognize that some find the idea of (re)building Wright repugnant, perhaps for reasons not wholly able to be articulated. I value that point of view, yet I enjoy the contemplation of what seems an obvious and understandable desire, to continue -- to perpetuate ? -- the work of the architect.

SDR
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14609
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One point that I would hope would find unanimous agreement, is that a hard line be drawn, and ever maintained and pointed to, between those structures completed in Wright's lifetime, and those built since. That is, no matter how perfect and satisfying a post-Wright realization might be, it must forever be distinguished from a "real Wright building."

SDR
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KevinW



Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 1269

PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 2:50 am    Post subject: real Wright Reply with quote

I can agree with that.
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Deke



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

PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, no hard lines for me. A building executed after his death but faithful to his plans is much more a Wright building that a structure poorly executed during his lifetime. The master's touch is not needed. He didn't visit or supervise many building made during his lifetime. In some cases, clients were even turned over to apprentices so their "Wright" buildings aren't really Wright at all.

Some scholar will one that go through the body of work and note which projects he labored over, which ones he delegated, which ones were executed to his satisfaction, and which one's weren't. Maybe then we'd have a core collection of his very best built work.

This is akin to a process art historians use to ID paintings by a Master vs those by his students or followers.

Deke
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Palli Davis Holubar



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 1036
Location: Wakeman, Ohio

PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm wondering if "a building executed after his death but faithful to his plans" could be built. To get relief from basic code details the house could not be "faithful". If somehow permits for historic reasons were granted, the building would have limitations for its use - and that would not be "faithful". Any "upgrade" of materials and techniques would make it unfaithful too.
Of course, Wright worked to find the essence and utility of any new material he was exposed to; but we can not presume to select among the myriad of materials invented since 1959 which ones he would use, where or how?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14609
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not every square mile of America is covered by building codes and restrictions. If the prospective builder took Wright at his word, c. 1935, to go out as far as possible from the city, and then go a little further, a house could be built that perfectly echoed the original intent in every detail.

My idea of Wright is not utility, but art. Not everyone who builds needs a roof over the head of their family. I would rather see Pauson constructed faithfully in a museum courtyard, than not at all.

I dare say that Deke has a good point -- it heads in the right direction, at any rate, in my opinion. But we must remember that for some, worship is the only possible stance. . .

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7616

PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure about this, and maybe the musicians among us can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the musical scale was adjusted up one or a half tone in the late 19th, early 20th century, right? Wouldn't that make every piece of music written before forever different from what it was originally?

Purity does not exist. (Tallulah said of herself, "I'm as pure as the driven slush.") The qualitative assessment of FLW's art and adherence of the construction to the plan of the master is an intellectual parlor game with no absolute resolution. One might go commission by commission, examining every detail, and determine whether it was done as FLW wanted it done (evidence is that Boynton was thusly constructed), changed by an apprentice on site (Geiger did some remodeling of the Zimmerman master bedroom) or in the drafting room (Bulbulian was mauled before it left Taliesin), changed by a client (the nortorious Mabel Ennis comes to mind), compromised by recalcitrant demands of the code Nazis (Kansas City Community Christian Church had to change its basic construction method), built by a clueless contractor (Sam Freeman was finished by a high school student) or a combination of unfortunate events (Hollyhock House was beset by many problems). Parsing all those details would be a daunting task, to be sure, and possibly not all that rewarding. Tracking down every misplaced comma in the works of Shakespeare, or even determining which of the 18 spellings of Shakespeare is valid, wouldn't add much to the work, would it?

To disregard work executed after an artist's death would be unfortunate. Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue's masterpiece, the Nebraska State Capitol Building, constructed after Goodhue's death, would then be suspect. There are instances where it's all too obvious that a project was better left unbuilt, but it's not impossible to construct something with due respect to the original intent. But it must all be evaluated case by case.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 14609
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a reasonable and thoughtful response to the issue. We can be grateful for any such. . .

It is interesting, if hardly surprising, that we should all see every matter in our own way. I fall too easily to the temptation to disparage the views of others.


SDR
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Deke



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

PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's true we all bring out own criteria to the issue. For example, I'm not a stickler for using period materials. I'd love to build a Usonian someday, but it's the space and form, not the building system that appeal to me. I'd use triple pain glass and thicker, insulated walls. Hopefully such changes would only be apparent on close inspection.

If one has a Usonian and swaps out the glass for double or triple pane, does that make it less a Wright house?

Deke
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