Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

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SAEnthu
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Wright Post-Italy; Goethe Street and Taliesin I

Post by SAEnthu »

Hi all, an interested amateur here...
To those who have more knowledge into the subject... What is known about the influence Europe had on Wright's style? I've heard of an unrealized townhouse, on Goethe Street, which supposedly carries some Italian influence - could someone please elaborate ? ... There are few plans online, so any sharing also be appreciated ...
There's also the well-known inspiration drawn from Italian villas for the conception of Taliesin and it's gardens ... Is there anything in specific we know of?
Lastly, something which has been in my head for a long time but is unrelated... What is the function of the tower on the Taliesin estate? And, is there anything on the lower floors, below the drafting studio, and main residence?

Any commentary would be much appreciated...

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

Post by Stephen Cowdery »

The Romeo and Juliet Windmill https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romeo_and_Juliet_Windmill was used to pump water.

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

Post by SDR »

I expect that the poster may be inquiring about the Hill Tower:

https://guerrerophoto.com/wp-content/up ... ernate.jpg

https://guerrerophoto.com/wp-content/up ... in.70a.jpg

https://guerrerophoto.com/wp-content/up ... nTower.jpg

https://guerrerophoto.com/wp-content/up ... G4011a.jpg
Pedro Guerrero photos


https://www.kcbx.org/sites/kcbx/files/s ... liesin.jpg

Keiran Murphy, Taliesin historian, would be an authoritative source for information on this structure. Its appearance was changed several times over the years as Mr Wright played with different parts of the building. It was not, however, ever damaged by fire, I believe.

S

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

Post by Reidy »

Alofsin's The Lost Years looks at the influence Wright's time in Europe had on his subsequent designs.

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

Post by SDR »

Yes---exhaustively and interestingly. Wright vis-a-vis the Secessionists is particularly useful. The Central American and Southwestern influences, such as they were, is another part of the story. .


The Goethe Street Studio-Residence of 1911 is represented by seven drawings in the Archive.

Image

https://library.artstor.org/#/search/Wr ... =1;size=48

I have copied several of these with the aim of describing the house to readers. Three of the drawings needed "help" in the form of line hardening, poché, or labeling. (The "seven sisters," highlight of the scheme, were essentially invisible on the plan drawing.) Wright left the project incomplete; plans and sections are mostly devoid of furniture, for instance, an omission which often makes it harder to read and comprehend the drawings.

Two floor plans of this split-level building are the only ones we have; they depict the lowest levels: the entry (called "English basement"), Wright's office, and basement with kitchen; and the third level, with bedroom, second level of the living room (or "court," per B B Pfeiffer) and music balcony. Missing is a second-level plan showing the architectural practice workroom, the floor of the living room with fireplace, and the dining space.

A principal architectural feature is a mostly free-standing row of seven columns that rise from the basement, forming a colonnade in the skylit open space at the center of the house and terminating above the roof where they support a linear, T-shaped arbor composed of paired wooden beams. In the main space, stained-glass panels fill the spaces between these columns. The peaked skylight above has an extension which provides light to both sides of the brick-and-glass screen. At the rear of the house a dumbwaiter in the kitchen serves the dining room, music balcony, and roof terrace.

This diagram highlights the areas depicted on the two plan drawings. (On these plan and long-section drawings the street is at left.)
Image

The longitudinal section (all images may be enlarged by opening them in a new tab):
Image

Transverse section. The section is taken through the music balcony, where I have written "piano." The interrupted image visible past the music-balcony parapet ("piano") is a mural placed on the front wall of the living space; its frame may be seen on plan and section drawings.
Image
enlargeable image: http://sdrdesign.com/GoetheStTransSectSR.jpg

Lower-level plan (unretouched by me):
Image

Third-level plan:
Image

A cleaned copy of the view drawing as found in "Treasures of Taliesin":
Image


Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer's text from Monograph 3, p 145:

Image
Image
Image

All illustrations © The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
Last edited by SDR on Sun May 02, 2021 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by SDR »

I'm puzzled as to why a stained glass panel, as seen at the third floor of the tranverse section, doesn't descend to the living-room floor.

Could that be sumac-patterned glass ? Did FLW plan on getting the trusty George Niedecken involved in this personal project ? (Their interaction was not yet over; the Bogk and Allen commissions of 1917-18 lay ahead.)

S

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

Post by SDR »

And if one of our impressive and valued stable of digital modelers thinks he has enough data to go on, a model of this special house, with at least the public spaces accessible to view, would be a significant addition to the growing gallery of recreated Wright . . . and an unexpected one, at that ?

S

SAEnthu
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Taliesin I towers

Post by SAEnthu »

Many thanks for all the effort - it really is fascinating. Such a shame that the townhouse was never constructed - it would've truly been incredible construction ... In hope for a determined digital modeler ...
I realize I should've specified, I'm curious about the "hill tower" and "hayloft". When were these built? What were their functions? Is there any inspiration known behind them?

Many thanks

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

Post by SAEnthu »

Also that frieze on the facade of the townhouse? Not very Wright-esque, is this perhaps a manifestation of the Italian influence?

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

Post by SDR »

The facade grid harks back to Sullivan, for me: verticals are continuous, spandrels are strongly framed at sill and head of openings, the field filled with filigree of one sort or another. https://www.archdaily.com/773283/the-lo ... considered

(Comparison of the black-and-white and the colored versions of the illustration reveals a common phenomenon, seen most strongly in those bas-reliefs: the monochrome version displays the artist's skill at creating an illusion of depth, while in the colored version that effect is subsumed and diluted.)

That said, it may very well be that the Italian influence is also on display, there . . .

S

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

Post by SDR »

The mill room and tower, the cow barn and hayloft, are all present (and labeled) on the original plan of Taleisn.


Image


The tower is seen in two early photographs:

Image
Fig 82, "Building Taliesin," p 88. Missing portion of caption: "This photo shows the Belvedere close to its completion in the fall of 1911, with a . . ."

Image
Fig 1, "Wright Studies, Volume One," p 3

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

Post by SDR »

There have always been rooms beneath the main level of the residence. These are not well documented, so far; they have been used as guest and apprentice quarters.


Image

Taylor Woolley photo, from "Building Taliesin," Ron McCrea, Wisconsin Historical Press, 2012

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

Post by Roderick Grant »

The main floor of the Goethe Avenue Project is in Hitchcock, Plate 190. The bedroom plan is identical to the 3rd floor plan; the living room can be imputed by the upper level plan; the dining room features a table protruding from the east wall, assuming the entrance of the house faces north. Somewhere there is published a view of the 2-story west wall of the living room, which is covered by the mural that wraps around the north wall. The mural is just a rough sketch, nothing particular.

The vital Taliesin tower is an exterior punctuation mark, but not at all remarkable inside. As an architectural statement, it is invaluable. Try to imagine the hilltop without the tower; it would fall flat. According to Geiger, the interiors of the upper levels were not special in any way. I believe they were apprentice bedrooms.

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

Post by Reidy »

Italy was still on his mind when he came to LA a few years later. His first house there, a California Romanza, had a loggia and a pergola; his next was La Miniatura.

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

Post by SAEnthu »

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 ...

About the mural in the townhouse, what is the nature of it? Is it perhaps like a Chinese/Japanese screen that wraps around a corner? (e.g. Mrs. Wright's bedroom, Taliesin West - Arizona) Each time it seems like a bigger shame that the project was never realized. Something else picked my eye - the fencing as well as the balcony on the front facade, feels very mediterranean, somewhat akin to the Waller Estate Gates? Am I reading this right?

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