North By Northwest Movie - Phillip VanDamn House (update)

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Daniel Dominique Watts
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Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:20 pm
Location: Lemont, IL

North By Northwest Movie - Phillip VanDamn House (update)

Post by Daniel Dominique Watts »

http://savewright.org/wright_chat/viewt ... highlight=

I wrote these all awhile back on the posts for "requests" and discussions on the VanDamn home on Wright Chat - - -

Wright Chat :: View topic - NORTH BY NORTHWEST- FLOOR PLANS/STAGESET PLAN (From Movie)

Wright Chat :: View topic - NORTH BY NORTHWEST- FLOOR PLANS/STAGESET PLAN (From M...
OK....Roderick Grant & SNOOPY, and the rest of ALL of you who may be interested in SEEING or BUILDING the floor plans as they were "DRAWN" by Robert Boyle for the stageset on the movie... HERE you GO!

I finally located the stageset plan that was drawn & used on the film, done by Robert Boyle.
I also found it and floor plans & interior elevation on a webpage on GOOGLE books, for the book called "THE WRONG HOUSE: THE ARCHITECTURE OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK Steven Jacobs 010 Publishers, 2007 Softcover 342 pages Illustrated in b+w ISBN: 9789064506376 "

the link to it: http://books.google.com/books?id=rIDVqj ... navlinks_s

You can SCROLL thru its pages...ALL of them!

The plans are all there.....check out CHAPTER XL11 starting pg. 296

then you can READ my comments about what was incorrectly drawn on the plans & "fix them if you desire from the STAGE SET PLAN SHOWN!

ENJOY
FLLW FELLOWS & FLLW Enthusiasts, as I call "Frank-o-philes" (copyright 2010 D.Watts)!
**********************************


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Wright Chat :: View topic - North by northwest house

North By Northwest - Vandamm house - 2nd floor plan


Wright Chat :: View topic - North by northwest house
I have overlaid the original drawings done by the Architect from the "stageset" plans drawn vs. the autocad drawings done for the book I referenced that showed the plans.

****************************************
From my Google book comment on the book I wrote:

Dear Author Stephen Jacobs:

Absolutely an INCREDIBLE book.
I am an Architect of 29 years practice & this was always one of my favorite screen homes, which sadly was not ever built in real life but only as 2 fullsize PARTIAL stagesets of which sketches,drawings, backdrops & paintings were made.

BRAVO for your showing it and the almost 100% accurate plans you have provided to show the home. I do not know how you created the 2nd plan but for the most part, job well done.

I did see a few minor errors:
No "openings (9) to be exact on each side of the living room veranda as decorative overhangs which Cary Grant climbs under & thru to get views of the living room. They are clearly & correctly drawn on the stageset plans but I didn't see them on your plans.

On 1st floor plan for the North By Northwest - Vandamm home however vs. the actual plan you post from the film - used as the stageset plan for setting up shots by Robert Boyle. If you not the wall you show on airstrip side of the home as a short wall in front of the front door is not there, only the short side wall beside the door. The column on the front entry, outside the doorway "porte cochere" is also not drawn the same as from the stageset.

1st floor: Under the staircase, shown in the kitchen is a bumpout toward the drivethru opening for car, this also wasn't drawn correctly as shown on the stageset plan. Under the same staircase to the 2nd floor is drawn the bench and back wall, however if you overlap it with the stageset drawing it is not exactly drawn correctly as the bench face is not touching the end of the left side wall next to stair as you draw it. Also the wall next to stair in kitchen area has "bump out/niches" shown on the stageset plan, however you are not showing that.

1st Floor: Also per the driveway elevation showing the rounded court area outside the kitchen area, there is shown on elevation by Boyle, and barely visible in the painted perspective view of it, a doorway that goes to the kitchen from the drive. It allows to get into the stairway area/hallway/kitchen. I realize it is not shown on the stageset plan, however if you are wanting to try to recreate an actual home based on the stage set plans, and the drawings & backdrop paintings of it, then I think it would be important.

For the 2nd floorplan you are drawing, there is not any way to get to the guest rooms from the plan you are drawing. I do not know if there was a 2nd floor plan drawn by Robert Boyle for building the stageset, however it would require a doorway from either next to the stairway @ the Top of the run of steps, to the driveway view wall of the guest rooms, or at least a doorway opposite Ms. Kendall's room entry.

I assume a doorway opposite Ms. Kendall's room would have been the typical way of doing it, however to reach the other 2 bedrooms is not clear unless they are all accessed via the driveway side outdoor veranda, which wouldn't in real life be too convenient in weather conditions, except as a 2nd entry to each of them. They had to have had a bathroom built on the "rock side" left of them as well if it were to be built in real life and possibly even a 2nd stairwell which is hinted at in the "painted" backdrop airplane shot of the house when the gun goes off inside the home & Cary Grant runs out of the house. See the right side of the Car drivethru under the home shows "glass" windows stacked vertically. It seems to also show a stairway inside as steps. But that of course is just a painted backdrop for it....but it shows Boyle's thoughts regarding that unbuilt stageset part of the home.

All in all, A really REALLY good job on the plans as they to my knowledge have never been drawn accurately thus far before your "Wrong House" book.
**************************
Additional Notes:

I have overlaid the original drawings done by the Architect from the "stageset" plans drawn vs. the autocad drawings done for the book I referenced that showed the plans. The Autocad plans do not EXACTLY match them. The "angle of the balcony" is off a few degrees and also if you will take notice the kitchen layout is complete "surmiss" on their part as is the room next to the outdoor entrance near the staircase landing.

The stageset plans should be adhered to in ALL cases. The fireplace "bench" at bottom of the stair is also a bit different in the Autocad drawing vs. the "original" stageset drawing.

I would advise contacting the SOURCE directly to get a COPY of the plans for the stageset layout at whatever size they can reproduce them for you. That will give you a much better copy to work from. I have also captured shots from the film with my camera for about every type of shot taken during the film of the home.

The front door is a nice simple "Wrightian" design which is very similar to actual doors that are large at the entry gate to the property on the film. (This design can also be seen on the door to roof steps in Wright's AFFLECK House built @ 925 Bloomfield Woods, Michigan in the 1940s). These designs are also in fact extremely similar to actual large doors at Taliesin in Spring Green Wisconsin which is Wright's home, office, and school. The large doors are in the section to the west of the home in the courtyard which had originally been used for farm animals and to park cars under an upper level. They are still there for seeing.

Also to note, the outdoor "council ring" which is seen in the film as you go up the driveway ---which is only a painted canvas, is very similar to the "council ring" which is at Taliesin, Spring Green , Wisconsin which originally had a very large Oak Tree at its center and in the garden area outside Wright's bedroom and office and library room. It's in the flower courtyard still and has steps going down from it to the lower level of courtyard by a fountain. This council ring can be seen in many photographs of Taliesin. It is attached to the home in the film as a type of courtyard for lounging, eating and possibly grilling on a barbeque grill, which would make sense.

Enjoy. I have tried to work out the upper floorplans for the bedrooms from the plan given on Autocad in the source book I referenced. This upper bedroom plan again except for the bedroom shown in the film is all surmised from the painted backdrop shown as Phillip VanDamn is trying to escape down the driveway to the plane with the microfilm in hand. Notice the balconies. These are true about the painted backdrop from the driveway view as well. It appears as though a corridor HAS to be at the "runway strip" side of the home just inside the outdoor balconies. That allows 2 additional bedrooms or possibly 3. The "MASTER" bedroom appears to be at the end of the wing where the "STONE FIREPLACE PIER" is painted on the driveway side painted canvas. That would make sense for a floorplan also, as you would have the culmination of the master bedroom ending into the stone hillside as an interior wall and the stone fireplace inside the master bedroom facing the "airplane landing strip" side of the room.

I would LOVE to see what the master bedroom looks like but assume it is VERY similar to the built-in bedroom closet system and fireplace combination Wright proposed and was built for the Carroll ALSOP home in Oskaloosa, Iowa which culminates at the end of bedroom wing in similar manner.

http://docublogger.typepad.com/midcentu ... -iowa.html

http://www.mediaarchitecture.at/archite ... a_en.shtml

you can get a copy of the floorplan for ALSOP home via William Allin STORRER's books.


Daniel Dominique Watts,

Frank Lloyd Wright Specialist - Preservation Architect
(partnered with William Allin Storrer on e-book for "29 Unknown Wright homes in River Forest, IL" - 2007 to 2013)
FLLW Assoc., FLLW Conservancy member

19W665 Dystrup Rd. Lemont, IL 60439 email:dwatts62@yahoo.comImage

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Thank you. Mr Watts is clearly [ahem] a devotee of the Vandamm house in "North by Northwest." In addition to his own generous contribution to the scholarship on that subject, he leads us to a full PDF file of the Steven Jacobs book, which covers a healthy sampling of significant residential sets and locations in Hitchcock's movies. I've just read the chapter on the Vandamm house. Now to begin taking in all the other chapters . . .

In setting the stage for discussion in this chapter Jacobs mentions nearly two dozen architects besides Wright, and even Julius Shulman comes into play in the author's perceptive coverage of the mid-century scene, concluding with a comparison between high-modern and "contemporary" residential design; he includes production designer Boyle's Vandamm house in the latter category, and by implication perhaps Wright's residential work as well. And we learn of a practical application of Wright's characteristic stone-masonry -- apparently a compelling motivation for referencing the architect in this important movie set design !

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Previous Wright Chat thread on the subject:

http://savewright.org/wright_chat/viewtopic.php?t=6651

SDR

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »


Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Since Hitchcock's budget seemingly allowed him to move Mount Rushmore from South Dakota to Wyoming, at least temporarily, it's odd that he couldn't build the house as well.

Daniel Dominique Watts
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Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:20 pm
Location: Lemont, IL

Home with similar look/feel to North by Northwest Van Damme

Post by Daniel Dominique Watts »

Kidosaki Architects Studio designed this cantilevered house in Yatsugatake in 2011.

www.productiondesignerscollective.org

It pays homage to North by Northwest Van Damme home cantilever.

Daniel Dominique Watts
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:20 pm
Location: Lemont, IL

Home with similar look/feel to North by Northwest Van Damme

Post by Daniel Dominique Watts »

Kidosaki Architects Studio designed this cantilevered house in Yatsugatake in 2011

It pays homage to North by Northwest Van Damme home cantilever.

Daniel Dominique Watts
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:20 pm
Location: Lemont, IL

Sorry...here is the link to the photos

Post by Daniel Dominique Watts »


SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
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Post by SDR »

The house at Yatsugataki, with its twin tubular props, might echo the Van Damme set piece---but it hardly flatters the Japanese architect to compare his
work to that of a Hollywood designer, does it---even to our pet object from a Hitchcock film ?

(If the architect in fact refers to the Van Damme house, I will modify my stance.)

The work of Kidosaki Architects Studio---and thanks for bringing it to us---is at a rarified level of finesse and perfection. The layered exterior detailing is
both novel and somehow fundamental, allowing natural and man-made material to interpenetrate while handling precipitation and other events artfully.

The comment about the "maturing" of the building speaks to an expected weathering and patinating of surfaces, presumably ?

(By the way, is a propped cantilever really a cantilever ? Could it in fact be a form of truss ?)

S

SDR
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Post by SDR »

It's never too late for the originator of a thread to correct the spelling of a headline . . .

:wink:

Daniel Dominique Watts
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:20 pm
Location: Lemont, IL

Van Damme inspired Kidosaki Architects Studio

Post by Daniel Dominique Watts »

SDR, you wrote:

The house at Yatsugataki, with its twin tubular props, might echo the Van Damme set piece---but it hardly flatters the Japanese architect to compare his work to that of a Hollywood designer, does it---even to our pet object from a Hitchcock film ?

(If the architect in fact refers to the Van Damme house, I will modify my stance.)

The work of Kidosaki Architects Studio---and thanks for bringing it to us---is at a rarified level of finesse and perfection. The layered exterior detailing is both novel and somehow fundamental, allowing natural and man-made material to interpenetrate while handling precipitation and other events artfully.

The comment about the "maturing" of the building speaks to an expected weathering and patinating of surfaces, presumably ?

(By the way, is a propped cantilever really a cantilever ? Could it in fact be a form of truss ?)
****************************************
Glad you like this home as well.

Yes I think the term "maturing" means weathering in time & patina.

I have not seen structural drawings of the home, however I assume internal wall trusses are used to visually hide them and add more drama with an additional tenuous angled support beam/column under the floor held into the angled ground.

I think he is a fan of the film probably and just wanted to pay homage to the home. I think the sleak way in which their firm did the design for the home is refreshing and very modern and pushing the boundaries of cantilevered steel to their limits I am sure. I wish there was more to read about the home than the few lines I was able to read about it. Even a structural elevation of the home would be great to see.

I doubt if he used any tricks like TAA Apprentice Don Erickson did with his bend 1.5" pipes linked in unison to create his dramatic 2nd floor cantilevers inside his curved home designs. Fortunately I was able to have a few conversations with Don before his passing years ago. We were trying to get a book made about his life's creations. An apprentice of his was interested and had contacted his lawyer whom he had designed a house for. The lawyer called me and wanted to know if I would help on it & that's about the last I heard of it. Sad it hasn't been done. His curved design homes followed the FLLW impetus of Jacobs 2 home. Sadly the curved home done in Glen Ellyn was torn down more than 8 yrs ago. Images of it's interior and exterior were done in a magazine and can be found online. I can't recall the client name right now without looking for it.
Don Erickson was co-founder in 1998 of the (ALA) Association of Licensed Architects, where he sought to offer architects continuing education and other benefits at reasonable dues. Some of his work should be able to be found in their archives or on their website.

I have seen other photos online as well of this home by Kidosaki Architects Studio. They use large post to hold up the end at an angle about 20 feet back from the end of the home, so it does actually cantilever. They chose to give a more dramatic appeal of a pure cantilever rather than the 2 large metal angled trusses used in the Van Damme model/stageset home as an idea for holding up the living room.

It seems then to be more pure to Wright's original idea of a cantilever...which per the book I referenced in above notes I made, the stageset designer chose to use this large metal angled truss for 2 purposes...1) to give Cary Grant an element to climb up and add further suspense/drama to the movie of a) will he fall b) what will he hear or see
and 2) as he mentions, if it WAS a pure cantilever like Wright used at Fallingwater for the movie, people would have spent more time looking at the home and it's free-hanging wing of living room and trying to solve in their heads how that is possible vs. paying just only a quick WOW glance and then turning their focus back to the movie suspense. So he chose to add the trusses under the living room on each side.

Kidosaki Architects Studio has only one rather seemingly insufficient by glancing angled beam holding up the cantilever end. It seems rather tenuous and makes one think it could fall at any moment. In fact from several angles it is even hard to see the metal support as it is centrally located under the living room floor. From what I was able to read about the home it was "inspired" by the Hitchcock Van Damme home.

Daniel Dominique Watts
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Location: Lemont, IL

reply to RODERICK GRANT

Post by Daniel Dominique Watts »

I think it was all due to cost. They had very little money to even build it on a large stageset. They only used glass in a few places where it would be noticed in filming and had many panels that were removable for filming inside without glass. Also most of the stone walls were not using real flagstone but plaster. Only a few areas where they were "closeups" done or where Cary Grant touches the walls were real stones per what has been written about the stageset.

Also the 2nd floor was only partially built with just the balcony and small hallway to the door for bedroom used that overhangs the front door. The wall that has clerestory windows above storage cabinet walls like what FLLW used in Usonians was just simply a facing with a small amount of space behind it. The back wall under the stairs was able to be pushed/pulled forward/back as needed for internal movie angled shots. Mostly curtains freely hung long from high tall window openings in living room were void of glass except as needed for shots.

It would have been much more expensive to build it on a site even if in Wyoming. The sad part to me is that seemingly the living room and balcony to my knowledge have never been "realized" in actuality. It would be really odd to see it in reality if built. I wrote earlier postings about the Master bedroom/fireplace that is never seen in movie except on the 2 painted background cloths. I have imagined since it is supposed to be anchored into a stone rock face that it would have a bedroom designed not unsimilar to the one done by Jack Howe in PA in 1963 ROYSTON home called "Folly Cottage", which is among one of my favorites....
I see it every summer for the past 4 years now,
(or) even possibly the master bedroom for the 1951 FLLW designed Carroll Alsop home in Oskaloosa which is just north of my boyhood home of Ottumwa in Iowa. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carroll_Alsop_House

The bedroom is fabulous in the Alsop home. The built-in wardrobe closets Wright did were great. I've seen them in person a few times. I have photos in black/white from when it was built as well but don't know how to attach them here.

If interested let me know how and I will post for you and others.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

https://www.chicagobauhausbeyond.org/ar ... -erickson/

https://www.themodernhouse.com/journal/ ... -erickson/

Thanks, Mr Watts. I've had very little exposure to ex-Taliesin architect Erickson. I suppose we must have looked at him, if only briefly, here before; perhaps the round house you mention is the one linked above.

We've looked at the Caroll Alsop house. I'd be happy to post any photos you'd like to share here; just email me the jpegs.

http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewto ... 6ee7c0d946

The analysis you report of the rationale for including the angled supports at the Van Damme house (could you correct Van Damn to Van Damme ? It's painful to look at) makes perfect sense.

S
Last edited by SDR on Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SDR
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Re: North By Northwest Movie - Phillip VanDamn House (update)

Post by SDR »

DDW: Again, could you correct Van Damn to Van Damme in your heading ? It's painful to look at.

Thanks---SDR

Reidy
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Re: North By Northwest Movie - Phillip VanDamn House (update)

Post by Reidy »

imdb and Wikipedia both say "Vandamm".

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