Samuel Freeman House for Sale

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SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

Restoration architect outside in said it: "Perhaps the only remedy is to take it apart and put it back together with better blocks, epoxy-coated rebars, etc."

Disassemble the house to the ground, or as far down as to reach usable new structure already in place; save interior elements; make new blocks; and built it right this time. Perhaps, for the sake of economy and structural viability, lower portions of the block walls could be precast as complete units, saving the proper textile-block assembly for portions of the house most closely visible. Whole interior wall sections might be made of original undamaged blocks, while other walls, and the exterior, would be made entirely of new ones---providing, that is, that original blocks (tiles) can be separated from their grout and steel without damage.

This would no doubt be more costly than constructing a shell of concrete or steel, an armature to contain the original interior---but going half-way to recreating the house seems not good enough, for this Wright masterpiece.

It seems to me the owner could expect to recoup monies spent to date out of pocket (i.e., beyond the endowment)---but no more ? Let them solve their financial problems elsewhere, rather than cashing in on a piece of America's cultural heritage. America is awash in money, if very unequally distributed; major restoration projects occur with increasing frequency (and quality). Why not Freeman ? Is all the California cash in Silicon Valley; is Hollywoodland doing poorly these days ?

S

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

This image popped up again, recently. Now, if we could get writers to stop referring to the work as Mayan---or is it Inca ?


Image


The floor is of wood, within its block border. Could it have been the intention, from the start, to be carpeted ? An early and a late photo shows the floor bare:

Image

Image

Matt2
Posts: 309
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:07 pm

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Matt2 »

My understanding is that USC received millions from FEMA for the stabilizing work. Perhaps the University needs to open its books on their management of the home and what they've spent on it. I can't see anyone paying $4M for a home that probably needs millions in repair. What's the going rate for a home in that neighborhood?

juankbedoya
Posts: 231
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:30 am

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by juankbedoya »

SDR wrote:
Tue Jul 13, 2021 12:18 am
On the previous page is a link to the file of drawings. Here it is again:

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

The last eleven drawings are for an earlier client named Freeman.

(Save that link, Juan; by inserting the name of a client following "Wright," you can access at least some drawings for each of Wright's projects, built and unbuilt.)

S
Well, to be honest I prefer your drawings of the monographs. Those are clearer and enough for me instead of the tons of Artstor.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

Drawings in the Monographs were selected from the same archive as is presented at Artstor; the drawings I've been posting here for years, from the relatively limited stock found in those books, are all found---along with many more of equal or greater interest---at Artstor.

I'm beginning to regret the $1600 I spent, just a couple of years ago, on a set of eight Monographs in paper, now that all those drawings and so many more, enlargeable well beyond what was printed (if not always found at an acceptable level of resolution), can be had at the the touch of a (mouse) button, free for the asking. Enjoy them !

For instance, those delightful tall cube lanterns seen in the photo of Freeman above, appear very clearly and fully detailed on a sheet in the Storer file. The amount of detail that was committed to paper over the seventy years of Wright's career offers an endless trove of information on the building art as it was practiced by one of the most creative and prolific designers who ever lived.

Many believe that it is the built work which provides the clearest and strongest evidence of Wright's mastery; for me it is the drawings which led to those buildings which can best attest---in exquisite and endless detail---to his genius, and from which we can learn the most about those buildings, inside and out, the visible and the hidden. And the drawings are filled with written specifications about every aspect of their construction: we learn what was important to the architect, and what materials and methods he tried, and favored, over the course of the decades. They are an historic treasure trove---and fine examples of the drafter's art, as well.

S

Roderick Grant
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Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, I have a complete set of working drawings of Freeman. The lamps appear there as well as in Storer. Although Storer was designed before Freeman, there were overlaps during construction. Which one ended up with the lamps first will probably not be revealed until the Rapture.

During his tenure at Freeman, Jeff Chusid found that the entire structural integrity of the house was contained in the grout and rebar; the blocks were dead weight. Perhaps a structural cage could be built, with the decorative blocks clipped on?

Even though FLW did not specify carpet for the living room (or any other space), I doubt he would have been concerned that it was added. If the Freemans had asked for a FLW-designed carpet, he would have complied, as at the David Wright House.

The advantage of the books over Artstor is that, with Northern California burning, and the power about to go out, you might find yourself in the dark, unable to log onto the Internet, yet able to light a candle by which to read.

SDR
Posts: 20604
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

Well, now, there's a revelation. I wonder how slender the solid or tubular bars of a 16" x 16" steel cage could be, to support the floors and roof of the Freeman design ? I guess those bars could be as much as five or six inches deep, to produce a double-wythe wall with light-weight precast tiles clipped to both faces---and consuming miles of neoprene gasketing.

The intersections of the steel grid would take shear loads; the bars could run full height or width, depending on location in the building, and/or there could be triangular gussets at some or all intersections. Or, the tiles could be structural, taking or sharing the shear loads. Bars could be pierced strategically or at regular intervals for electrical and plumbing.

Deeper grids could form the floors and roofs. Of course there's no necessity for east-west and north-south grid members to be equal in section . . .

S

outside in
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Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by outside in »

I cannot even begin to understand how the concrete blocks in a load-bearing exterior wall with steel reinforcing could possibly considered dead weight. Grout and steel rebar holding up a building? I'm afraid the "finding" by Mr. Chusid defies the laws of physics.

Roderick Grant
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Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Roderick Grant »

Don't shoot the messanger.

Matt2
Posts: 309
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Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Matt2 »

Not an architect, but it seems that a reinforced concrete structure, with a veneer of tiles, would be the best way to go. Isn't that how such a home would be built today?

Reidy
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Location: Fremont CA

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Reidy »

That's what the restorers did for the very large retaining wall at Ennis (Wiehle-Carr) and the very small one at the far end of the rear terrace at Storer (Eric Wright).

At Freeman, they excavated behind the downstairs-hall retaining wall, inserted reinforced concrete behind it and left the original blocks in place, no longer retaining anything. If the house collapses it won't take the hillside with it.

JPB_1971
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Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by JPB_1971 »

Re: Reidy's comment above, was some kind of temporary retention or shoring employed while excavating was being done to install the reinforced concrete? Seems like some amount would have to have been employed. Just trying to understand all the components of such a project.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

If the tiles (called blocks) at Freeman are not themselves capable of taking vertical loads without fracturing (the ones near the bottom of a wall taking the load of all that is above), yet the house stands, it remains that something else is taking (or assisting with) that load ?

Reidy
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Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Reidy »

All I can say about that is that the issue was horizontal loads - the hillside pushing the wall out.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

Thank you. Wouldn't it be wonderful if as much good fortune befell Freeman as found its way to---or from---Fallingwater, such that a world-class structural engineering firm could be given the job of a full investigation and subsequent illustrated presentation . . .?

I'm going to consult Volume 8, Number 3 of the Journal of Organic Architecture + Design (2020) devoted to the Freeman House and authored by Kathryn Smith. (Back issues are still available, I see: https://www.oadarchives.com/category/journal-oa-d )

No one author will have found and presented the house in the same way and with the same visual evidence; who else is recommended, from among those who might have written about Freeman ?

S

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