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When I first read what Jeff Chusid said about the walls I assumed at Freeman the walls must have been grouted solid.
But that's incorrect - correct?
The textile block system has no concrete fill in the core - it's airspace. Am I correct about that?
If so then what Chusid is saying is that only the grid of rebar,with grout troweled on, is structural.
Therefore the blocks themselves are structurally superfluous, could be taken out, and the house would stand.
Seems improbable to me too.
So was Freeman built with a solid core of concrete in the walls?
... and am I correct in thinking that Wright's textile block system was meant to have a hollow core - "air space" - no solid fill?
Your assignment is to go to Artstor and type in, successively, the words
Wright Milllard (and be prepared to weed out the earlier George Madison Millard residence material)
and find a section drawing of one or more block walls, for each of those commissions. Then give us the URL for each Artstor page that you have chosen, and we'll have the means for a side-by-side comparison of how the blocks were shaped and deployed, at each stage of the early series.
This is the Artstor link, an address I keep handy on my desktop. https://library.artstor.org/#/search/Wr ... =1;size=48
A photograph, one of many vintage images in the Journal, shows the blocks as they await placement. One gets a realistic idea of their thickness relative to their 16" width and breadth:
Images and text © 2020 by Kathryn Smith and by OA+D Archives
Wasn't this the Hollyhock house for Barnsdall? I believe Harriet's sister Leah was a teacher at the kindergarten established on the property and perhaps Harriet taught there as well."The home takes its name from Samuel and Harriet Freeman, a Los Angeles couple with avant-garde tastes who commissioned the building for $10,000 after falling for another Wright property"
Maybe everybody knows this already, but Leah was married to Philip Lovell; after discovering modern architecture through this connection they built with both Schindler and Neutra.
Although HABS drawings are often not to be taken too seriously, the Freeman plan looks right. It is a basic nature of the grid system that makes intuiting elements of plan, elevation and section easy. But the subterranean elements of the lower level street side, entry and garage were surmised ... very likely accurately, but nonetheless not based on observation. The entirety from garage to west end of house is under pavement. The north wall of the lower level showed a major bulge. However, as far as I know, there has never been any excavation under the garage front or the entry. The retaining walls of loggia and laundry (where Schindler added the apartment in 1932) are plumb.
Jeff's book on Freeman is a must-have for any FLW library. My only complaint is that many of the images of drawings are so small as to be unintelligible. I would like to see a version at a larger scale so I could read dimensions.
Two items of interest not previously published: On page 112, there is an elevation of the living room fireplace as FLW intended it, along with a photo and a couple of sketches of the as-built version; on page 140 is a sketch of a 1926 floor plan for a house by RMS for either the Freemans or Sam's parents.
"SDR, you mention that "Freeman has some metal glazing bars." They are not original. In the 70s, the redwood glazing bars in the large corner windows that rise from the bedrooms up to the living room had to be replaced. John Lautner used extruded aluminum, which, unpainted, virtually vanished from view in the sunlight. So Sam Freeman had them painted sometime after 1974 (when I first saw the living room)."
There's much more, if you search here under Freeman + Lautner. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2500&hilit=Freeman+Lautner+glass
I don't see how the entire fields of glass at Freeman could deflect, without the panes trying to become parallelograms--which they are not able to do. (Didn't Lautner's replacements include some little projection of the horizontals, beyond the corner ?) Here is Wright's original detail. I wonder how he thought the corners would be joined . . .
And here is the well-known Neutra drawing for Wright, made contemporaneously with the LA houses, which I now see contains a gross misstatement of the true nature of a Textile Block wall: the "horizontal section" at the bottom of the drawing omits the recesses at the back of the tiles, instead pretending that the section through the steel and grout near a joint is an accurate depiction of the substance of the wall:
Why would Mr Wright favor this drawing---publishing it once more in "The Natural House" in 1954 ? Did he like the fact that it suggests a Textile Block wall that is a bit more substantial than was in fact the case ?
The living room screen wall at Turkel implies something like Chusids' alleged claim for the walls at Freeman:
No. Early photos show small, cubic, wood blocks at the corners, which do not appear in FLW's working drawings. I suspect they were added by Lloyd when it became evident that the redwood transoms were too insubstantial to hold the large sheets of mitered glass at the corners. They were a delightful detail, which Lautner should have replicated in aluminum, but did not. The metal transoms were strong enough to carry the load without any reinforcement at the corners.