Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

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SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by SDR »

Walter Mondale, Minnesota senator, Jimmy Carter's vice president and Bill Clinton's ambassador to Japan, has died.

In 1983 the Mondales bought the house Jack Howe had designed for Mr and Mrs Robert Willow, in North Oaks, Minnesota (1971). In the Howe monograph (Hession and Quigley, 2015) the house is described thus:

"The Multiple levels and angles in the house, a result of site contours and the triangular module used to generate the plan, created a residence that was 'wonderful to entertain in,' said Jan [Willow]. The intimate connection between interiors and and the natural surroundings made for exceptional wildlife watching . . ."

"As the bids revealed, the house [would] cost a little more than the couple could afford at the time. Although Howe suggested alterations to lower cost, including the removal of a bridge that spanned the contours of the landscape and led from the drive to the entrance of the house, the Willows opted to reduce costs in another way. They did so by providing labor, notably all the finish work on the extensive mahogany paneling and woodwork in the residence."

The Willows lived in the house for three years. The Mondales became subsequent owners. "That same year [1983], Mondale declared his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. Photographs of the house appeared in numerous articles about the candidate and his family in the local and national press. As a result, Howe enjoyed a surge of interest in his architectural services."

The book contains a photo of the house, in the snow.

Image
Text and photograph © 2015 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota

Other images can be found here:

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/4d/2c/ef ... 2c8d1b.jpg

https://www.startribune.com/the-work-of ... 470331/#11
Edit: The Star Tribune page is not loading correctly; here is only image found online of the 1984 Duane Braley photo of Joan Mondale at the house:

Image

Does anyone have further images, and perhaps a plan, of the Willow/Mondale house ?

S
Last edited by SDR on Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tim
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:52 pm

Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by Tim »

Very nice house.

I don't recall VP Mondale in any real way. I was a kid when he was in his political prime. It seemed like he had a nice long life.

On both accounts, good for him.

Eric Saed
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Location: Minne-sO-tah Norwegian living in exile in Lubbock, Texas

Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by Eric Saed »

It was a perfect house, I would liken it to a blending of Howe's "Johnson I" residence and Wright's Glore residence. I have a photo brochure of when it was for sale in the early 2000's that I will see if I can dig up.

Unfortunately, the house was completely re-muddled and aesthetically ruined by whomever bought the joint in the early 2000's and it is a tawdry Home Depotfied "prairie style" mutation now.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by SDR »

Ack. A dedicated Howian (is there a luau planned ?) needs to step up . . .

S

Rood
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Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by Rood »

Eric Saed wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:30 pm
It was a perfect house, I would liken it to a blending of Howe's "Johnson I" residence and Wright's Glore residence. I have a photo brochure of when it was for sale in the early 2000's that I will see if I can dig up.

Unfortunately, the house was completely re-muddled and aesthetically ruined by whomever bought the joint in the early 2000's and it is a tawdry Home Depotfied "prairie style" mutation now.
Yes, it must be said ... the two photos suggest two completely different houses. Who is responsible?

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by SDR »

So far we have two exterior photos taken from approximately the same angle; in one the house is draped in snow. I find it hard to judge from this limited evidence what changes the house has undergone. I assume that most of the alterations will be found inside . . .?

Again I appeal to readers to look for further images of this structure so that we can assess and enjoy it. Floor plans would be a plus.

Despite the excellent work that Jane King Hession and Tim Quigley put into their pioneering study of John Howe, the definitive monograph of the "pencil in Wright's hand" awaits a future author and publisher, as I see it. Indeed it would not be unheard-of for a given team to proceed with a second volume on a given subject, placing a companion to accompany their earlier work on the bookshelves of interested readers. It should be puzzling to Wrightians that as important---and prolific---a figure as Jack would have waited so long for published recognition . . .


In the meantime, I can heartily recommend the Blu-Ray version of Rob Barros's remarkable and gratifying documentary on Howe. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12546

S

TJP
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Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by TJP »

Lower Plan: http://purl.umn.edu/90113
Upper Plan: http://purl.umn.edu/90112
Exterior: http://purl.umn.edu/90111

The last real estate listing showing the depressing Home Depotfication: https://www.realtor.com/realestateandh ... 6321-19552

SDR
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Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by SDR »

Yay, TJP, and thanks ! Well, it doesn't look too bad. I wonder what the original floor finishes were. Do at least some of those remain ? What else has been lost ? I think Howe was not as opposed to sheetrock as was his mentor---depending on budget ?

S

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by SDR »

Well, there is an entire bedroom floor added to the original construction. It could have been designed by the original architect to judge by the exterior (how else would I have missed it when first viewing the realtors' site ? :roll: ). One wonders . . .

S

DRN
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Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by DRN »

It would appear when comparing the old photos and drawings with the realtor listing pics that the house in general was stripped of most or all built-ins, much of its trim, and all doors. The Howe upper level was mostly gutted to remove the first two bedrooms and bath to make a large sitting area and space for a stair to the new 3 level. The new stair and pendant track lights are very un-Howe-esque. The upper level gallery was truncated with a door presumably to the new garage...not sure what the outcome of the third bedroom is...laundry/mudroom?
The rail at the edge of Howe's upper level is not in his manner, and the living room seems to have lost much of its articulation as it was stripped of built ins, and bleached out with what appears to be new maple flooring at odds with the oak everywhere else. The gaping hole cut in the kitchen wall to show off a stainless steel grease hood is a final slap in the face to the architect.
Home Depotified? I'd agree.

SDR
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Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by SDR »

That sounds right. What do you think of the added level ? The roof form is satisfying---but could Howe have been involved ? One wonders when that was accomplished.

S

DRN
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Re: Walter Mondale, 1928-2021

Post by DRN »

The exterior fits about as well as it might on a house that didn’t want another level...whomever designed it tried to do right by the house formally.
I’m finding no listing in the Hession and Quigley project list of a built or unbuilt design for an alteration to the Willow house in North Oak. I will note that in an instance in which Howe did alter his work for a later client, the original client name is referenced. So it is clear from the book Howe was not involved.

Howe did have apprentices ( one at a time) who went on to work in his vein. The McClellen house had a detached garage and guest quarters designed after Howe had retired by a former Howe apprentice with good results, maybe not as good as Howe himself, but well suited to the context and of a piece.

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