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https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1363337887
https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1363337887
I certainly agree that a more uniform roof looks better, more pleasing, more cohesive. However, if we're judging such a thing under Wright's own terminology of "organic", then I'd point out that Wright endlessly considered the interior space the "reality of the building". I think it's a rather important distinction to make, in how the experience of 'the thing' originates from an inner central point and extends outwards. ("From within outwards" another Wright quote..) Under a definition of "organic", the 'parts' of the 'whole' I'd interpret as not necessarily all being equal, but that all parts subordinate in an arranged order to its nucleus.
If the house is a circle [metaphorically], it emanates from its center point to achieve its whole. The center is the binding principle. Thus, viewing (and judging) a Wright house from its exterior presentation would be the same as looking at a circle from its outside. On the other hand, viewing (and judging) the house from its interiority would be like experiencing a circle from being within it. And I believe that from Wright's Usonian period onwards, he has clarified this distinction, insisting that the interior experience is primary.
Dismissing Dabney as a "schizophrenic concept" due to its roof scheme, while saying it doesn't fit Wright's definition of 'organic', I find to be slightly silly.... All due respect to Mr. Geiger.
Others of this forum know a whole lot more about Gieger. I know nothing about him really.
Yet I was surprised also to read him use the label "schizophrenic" applying it to Dabney.
Yet his comment does make one think further about the work. I appreciate that.
Geiger says Wright should have made the flat roof over the workspace at Dabney some form of Gable.
I agree and that is what Wright did with Zimmerman. (Second guessing Wright however, one is always on thin ice - possibly at Dabney he was minimizing costs with the flat roof over workspace - who knows)
But to the issue of the gable/flat roof combination - a typical architect would not have done that being scared of the schizophrenia. Wright does it and the result is synthetic with the rest of the building.
Pages 4 -5 of this thread show section and discussion at Mossberg:
I might add that if the Mossberg mixing of flat and gable roof is acceptable, Dabney goes a step further with a row of clerestories dividing the flat and gable roofs. Looking at the perspective, I admit to really liking the look of it. Maybe that's due to its novelty, I don't know.
https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 1370054584
I'd sure love to see a 3D rendering of this design..!
Despite the "aspect of principle" in Wright's work, "purity" is not a word that really applies.
the work is too shot through with invention for that.
Yet at Zimmerman you can be fooled, that this is really just a nice gabled roof, conventionally consistent, purely neighborly house.
The perspective you show of Dabney above is case in point. Nothing obvious like that going on at Zimmerman.
One way Wright achieves a more uniform roof while having a bunch of different ceiling heights is in the custom hipped roof, for example the Palmer house or Reisley house:
In the instances where Wright achieves his interior criteria with a uniform and simple roof, I agree those are the most satisfying. Zimmerman is pretty good. My personal favorites are the Brandes house, with its simple bump up of clerestories from the core. And also the Sweeton house.
Sweeton has no clerestory roof (or "lantern," per Wright); its masonry core is evident in the photo.
John Geiger and I had many long talks about FLW and how he worked. John had a remarkable understanding of the methods FLW used. His point, with which I heartily agree, is that the "from the inside out" claim by Himself is exaggerated, as much for PR as a serious foundation for his approach to design. His exterior expression of a building was as important as the interior, and both evolved together. If he had a fine interior space that manifested itself in an awkward way outside, he would change whatever needed to be changed. That FLW ended up with an occasional schizophrenic result wasn't a bother to him at all, and shouldn't bother any architect. That's why early projects go by the boards to make way for the refined finished product.
I haven't looked into Geiger's archive extensively, but there should be an evaluation of the Oak Park Home in there. John gives less weight to the arrangement of interior spaces than to the plan of the roof, especially pre-playroom. Again, I think he got it. Room arrangement evolved dramatically from 1889, but the refined roof of that old house is as precise as anything he did later.
"As Phil Allsop and Richard Armstrong explain .... for Wright, "exterior form was an integral expression of the spaces within a building," or put more succinctly, he "designed his buildings from within outward."
[The authors discussing their book Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward]
Oh look, some PR inside of Taliesin West!
The problem with philosophies of design is that they are often proposed as an answer to a question that hasn't necessarily been asked. Laymen and professionals alike are naturally curious about where an artist's work "comes from." Was it divine inspiration or was he influenced by others' work ? Few seem content simply to take the work as a given---a unique creator's unique creations. And laymen, those without a native affinity for methods, motivations, and sources of design (often mechanical and/or mundane in nature) are prone to seeking and accepting exotic explanations for design decisions---in the absence of the elusive and often non-existent Answers (capitalized) in their search for Understanding (ditto). Unfortunately, the bored, restless, unoccupied artist seems all too eager to accommodate these seekers by filling their heads with lofty verbiage of their own devising. "How unique am I !" says the artist to his audience.
I believe Mr Wright may have been guilty of this practice, uncaring about the mischief it would make for professional and amateur alike, down through the years . . .
While we're waiting for fresh news and views on Dabney, take a gander at the first and last examples in Jay's four-photo series above. What a difference a dozen years made; was there anything like Sweeton (in one of my favorite views of the house) in Wright's head, in 1938 ?