Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

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SAEnthu
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Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by SAEnthu »

Also wow that cantilevered roof is very impressive from that angle ... From the his earlier work? Is this also where the Bird Walk is to come later on?

SDR
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Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by SDR »

Approximately; the Birdwalk moves a bay to the north, aligning with the door from the living room. In early plans the terrace prow is at left with the four posts, the roof plan barely visible in the first drawing. In Taliesin III the nascent Birdwalk is seen.

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Last edited by SDR on Sun May 02, 2021 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roderick Grant
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Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by Roderick Grant »

Yes, the bird walk connects at the site, more or less; the photo is of a pre-fire vintage, so Taliesin as it stands now, is different from this angle.

The Goethe mural is actually just an indication, as if to say "Place mural here." It consists of a very rough sketch of a landscape without any details.

Goethe Street is just 2 blocks south of Schiller, where Charnley is located at Astor Street. If built, FLW's townhouse would have been walking distance from Charnley, so comparisons could be made. However, Charnley is on a corner lot, which allowed the entrance to be place on the long side of the building, while the Goethe site would have been flanked on both sides with other townhouses, revealing only the narrow north end, necessitating the skylight in the living room.

SDR
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Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by SDR »

The lot was only 19 feet wide, as indicated on the ground-floor plan.

I should have thought to look at Hitchcock; I am too apt to forget that as a reference. So, here are four plan drawings. I've attempted to make them appear at the same scale and location on the page. Pfeiffer misleads us when he writes, "A large studio-drafting room is placed on the second floor level at the front, accessible to the reception office below." I see no back stair down to the office, and indeed the section drawing shows identical spaces on the second and third floor at front, agreeing with the plan published in Hitchcock.

The architect seems to have drawn two toilets to each bedroom suite, and no washbasin, on the Hitchcock plans. I assume the fixture nearest the bedroom to be a sink, as in the previously posted plan. The ground-floor lavatory near the stair contains a basin and no toilet. Despite anecdotal evidence cited, the plans show a mural frame on the north wall only. A wrap-around wall piece would be spectacular, and there is certainly room for it . . .


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Rood
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Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by Rood »

SAEnthu wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 3:32 pm
Wow, in the above photograph Taliesin seems very imposing, and fortress-like. Not something I would associate it with - that said, I've never been, so any associations of mine are based on images or descriptions of others :) Beneath the drafting room/studio, what rooms are there? There seem to be windows in photographs, as well as doors...

That's fascinating, about the tower, I always thought there was an ulterior function, but aesthetic reasons make sense. The view must be excellent from up there ...
All functions beyond the square courtyard were farm related. The lower room of the tower was designed to keep milk cold ...Large metal milk containers were immersed in cold water ... drawn from a well located inside the milk room ... the cows just beyond in what eventually became Cornelia's apartment. As I was once told ... the ceiling of the milk room was high ... to segregate hot summer air high above the ground floor ... This of course at a time before electricity, when gas fixtures lit all rooms.

Later, the space above the milk room became a small kitchen ...

JimM
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Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by JimM »

Wright broke one of his own "rules" in order to define the masterpiece Taliesin 1 became.

The house and studio certainly were influenced by the Italian countryside to a degree, but there are precedents before both Fiesole and Taliesin (such as the wood and plaster project of 1904-"The Drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright" plate 15. Glasner and Hardy were early solutions to life along precipices).

Taliesin was special in that Wright wrapped it around the brow of its hillside ("never build ON anything") while at the same breaking that tenet by placing the tower specifically at the highest point of the hilltop. As its most visible element, the tower anchored Taliesin as it spread from below its belvedere.

Neil Levine summed up the composition quite nicely: "...Wright built a tower which provides an orientation... the deepest penetration of the house into the hill and can thus be read as a vertical axis staking the building to its site as the house unwinds in a spiraling, counter clockwise direction around the hill and out to the entrance. Instead of revolving around an internal element, like the fireplace core of the typical Prairie house, Taliesin takes its direction from an external, natural feature of the landscape" (Wright Studies Vol. 1).

More than two decades before Fallingwater's iconic dynamism, Taliesin was perhaps Wright's most successful example of an ethos he expounded upon over the years, at least IMHO.

SAEnthu
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Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by SAEnthu »

The townhouse is truly a loss... What does in topmost floor look like? Any plans known? There seems to be a staircase going up and then somewhat of a garden on the roof? But also the pyramidal structure of the skylights?

Also, what are the biggest changes/differences and similarities between Taliesin I and Wright's prairie style? It's quite fascinating to consider the point of focus as being the hill crown... I've also become aware of Wright seeing the Villa Medici in Fiesole, does anyone know anything further on this?
The interest in Japanese art and architecture is also prominent here superficially, are there any known ideas sourced from Japanese architecture which he replicated at Taliesin ?
Finally, what are the principal differences between the conception of Taliesin and that of Fallingwater? Both seem to convey the notion of 'organic architecture', however Taliesin seems to maintain more representational elenmets of a house...
Any comments?
Last edited by SAEnthu on Tue May 04, 2021 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

SAEnthu
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat May 01, 2021 6:25 am

Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by SAEnthu »

The townhouse is truly a loss... What does in topmost floor look like? Any plans known? There seems to be a staircase going up and then somewhat of a garden on the roof? But also the pyramidal structure of the skylights?

Also, what are the biggest changes/differences and similarities between Taliesin I and Wright's prairie style? It's quite fascinating to consider the point of focus as being the hill crown... I've also become aware of Wright seeing the Villa Medici in Fiesole, does anyone know anything further on this?
The interest in Japanese art and architecture is also prominent here superficially, are there any known ideas sourced from Japanese architecture which he replicated at Taliesin ?
Finally, what are the principal differences between the conception of Taliesin and that of Fallingwater? Both seem to convey the notion of 'organic architecture', however Taliesin seems to maintain more representational elenmets of a house...
Any comments?

Roderick Grant
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, what you are reading (in the transverse section) as a terminus of the mural at the left side is actually the end of the chimney, which extends out a couple of feet. The plan indicates the frame of the mural to be on the north wall exclusively, but somewhere there is a longitudinal section toward the west that shows the mural also on the west wall. I shall dig about to find that image, but offhand I cannot recall where it is.

There are not 2 toilets per bedroom suite; what looks like a toilet in the bath/dressing room is actually a sink with a medicine cabinet above it The plan from Taliesin is clearer than the plans drawn for Hitchcock. Why there is no toilet in the first floor lavatory is anybody's guess.

19' is spare for a structure, but not uncommon. The brownstone I lived in when I resided in Chelsea was on a 15-foot-wide lot. Many more luxurious NYC townhouses were on 20' lots!

SAEnthu, as the section shows, there is a full-height room at the top of the house, overlooking the roof garden, but on the street side, another room is completely windowless. Probably a storage room. The windowed room might be a butler's bedroom? I don't know. Nobody does. There is no plan published of that level. In part, the street side top floor room is part of the composition of the façade, in a way similar to the use of the Taliesin tower as an exclamation point: It completes the composition of the façade, without which it might look rather stubby and unfinished, ending just above the bedroom windows.

SDR
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Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by SDR »

The third-level plan found at Artstor and which I touched up here indicates with a note the stair to the "attic." The very similar plan in Hitchcock, also reproduced above, shows the stair with open door but without note. The attic as storage room(s) accords with what is seen on the longitudinal section, and is at odds with Pfeiffer's mention of the top two floors as being "reserved for bedrooms and guest rooms."

I would love to see interior views and/or elevations of the "central court," in Pfeiffer's romantic terminology. (Would "atrium" also fit ?) This unique space needs to be properly illustrated for us, ideally in the form of a digital model ?

S

Roderick Grant
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Re: Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by Roderick Grant »

I don't know if Paul Rudolph was expressly referencing Goethe, but he designed a wonderful NYC townhouse in the East 60s between Madison and 5th Avenue that uses a similar arrangement of spaces, with the principal living room in the center of the house rather than at either end. That 2-story space is also lighted by skylights.

(Unlike so many of Rudolph's buildings, this house is still standing, though what remains behind the façade, I don't know.)

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