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PrairieMod



Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 388
Location: www.prairiemod.com

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR, you mentioned Paul Schweikher--we were wondering, with your gift for having at your fingertips a vast array of photos for any and all topics, if you could conjure something up showing some of Mr. Schweikher's work?
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Last edited by PrairieMod on Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[voice of lunch-lady Doris] Why yes -- yes I could.

The Louis Upton residence, Scottsdale, 1950 (demolished)















In an orderly example of contextualism, the masonry is Wright's "desert"
variety. Water trickled from the roof through those extended leads, and
trickled pleasantly into the court pool.

More Schweikher:

unidentified

Glenview, IL



Text and photos (By Roger Strauss III) from "Modernism Reborn" (Universe; 2001) by Michael Webb:

PaulSchweikher house-studio

Schaumburg, Illinois -- 1937-38, 1947

In 1937, the long sea voyage from Tokyo to San Francisco gave Paul Schweikher plenty of time to reflect on his first trip to Japan and to remember the modern landmarks he had earlier seen in Europe on a traveling scholarship from Yale. Those experiences shaped his 4,800- square-foot house-studio, which he sketched on the ship and soon built in open country 25 miles northwest of Chicago.

He had worked for two well-established architects, David Adler and George Frederick Keck, and had recently formed his own partnership. His fee for remodeling a farm that had formerly concealed one of AI Capone's stills was a seven-acre plot in Roselle, a community founded by German farmers in 1848. Later renamed Schaumburg, it has recently been swallowed up by suburbia, but the house survives in its original condition.

Schweikher's favorite material was wood, and this flatroofed post-and-beam house is built, inside and out, of California redwood in combination with salmon-colored common brick. Its simplicity is enriched by rough-textured natural materials and inventive details. The Japanese influence is evident in the low ceilings; the integration of rooms, covered porches, and enclosed patios; and the vertical wood screens. There is even a wooden soaking tub, with English-language instructions filched from a Japanese ryokan that conclude with the capitalized warning "For heaven's sake, do not take the stopper off the tub bottom!"

As in Japan, there is a processional route. It starts at the carport, moving towards the entry along a raised, covered brick walkway. The walkway is flanked by the blank batten walls of the house and, at an angle, the studio, which together define a grassy courtyard. A low-ceilinged lobby leads into the soaring living room with its brick floor, exposed joists, and huge hearth topped by a wall of end-laid bricks. It is lit from a corner slit and from sliding glass windows opening onto a Zen courtyard of raked gravel, with a maple tree that turns scarlet in fall. An all-wood kitchen with open shelves on two sides is linked by a pass-through to a dining nook with a wall bench.

To the right of the lobby is a glass-fronted gallery looking out on the courtyard. The gallery is backed by a wall of closets and a clerestory with wooden flaps to provide cross ventilation. Beyond are the master suite and two additions of 1947: a former child's bedroom with a tiled floor and shoji screen, and a studio with another end-laid brick hearth surround. In 1960, the studio was converted into the children's room, with twin beds cantilevered off a wall bench.

The architect built this residence for himself, but it worked equally well for the couple to whom he sold it in 1953 when he was named chairman of the Yale School of Architecture. Alexander Langsdorf Jr. had come to Chicago to work with nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi on the Manhattan project. He was survived by his wife, Martyl, a celebrated artist who added Eliel Saarinen furniture that she bought a half century ago. She is deeply attached to the house and has turned the architect's office into a studio where she creates paintings that are shown around the world.











Last edited by SDR on Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:12 pm; edited 3 times in total
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 9542
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's Philadelphia architect George Howe, building in Maine in 1939. These two pages from "The Modern House in America" (Ford and Ford, 1940) pack in
a lot of information. Sorry for the moire in the photos.




. . .check out that minimal cornice detail !
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pharding



Joined: 25 Jun 2005
Posts: 1906
Location: River Forest, Illinois

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks SDR for your thoughtful contribution and more wonderful images. You get my nomination for Wright Chat Contributer of the Year.

I very much appreciate the scale and simplicity of the Maine summer house by George Howe. While in New Hampshire last week to interview for a new church project, I drove up the coast of Maine and out on one of the many fingers of land that extend to the ocean. The views and natural environment are spectacular as shown below. Unfortunately much of the new residential construction is of the McMansion type, which has absolutely no sense of appropriateness that we see here and tends to be bombastic.
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PrairieMod



Joined: 24 Feb 2006
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Location: www.prairiemod.com

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hurrah! We echo Mr. Hardings praise for SDR's wonderful contributions!!

The Schweikher project is especially amazing, how sad that this home has been demolished. Why isn't there more written about this architect? We've been through his Schaumburg, IL home and studio and the Schiller house in Glen Ellyn, IL--both are striking examples of organic architecture in pure form. With such sensitivity to materials and space, it seems a monograph should be available. Does anyone know of one?
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Ed Jarolin



Joined: 03 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:20 am    Post subject: Relating to nature Reply with quote

I'll add my thanks to SDR for contributions visual and otherwise.

Regarding my mention of Koenig and Ellwood as examples of architects whose work relates to nature, permit me to expand.

The discussion of just what constitutes Organic Architecture is often engaged in here, with various factions taking and arguing for their positions. This usually, well pretty much always, gets down to the, copy Wright's methods, materials, etc. very, very closely or risk criticism for excessive deviation from the 'one true path' side. Put John Howe here, as he did it for Wright anyway near the end, therefore inherited the Organic mantle. At the other pole, we have the 'capture the spirit' adherents. For these folks, the 'look' really doesn't have to recall Wright much at all; think Bart Prince and Bruce Goff. Of course, there are numerous permutations in between.

For me great, I repeat great, architecture is more likely achieved nearer the 'spirit' end of this continuum. Architecture that is 'merely' good, and that is a rare enough thing, can come from any point on this continuum.

Wright said, "great architecture can be no restatement". Of course, he said a lot of things and reacted to others' architecture in often contradictory ways. Telling his 'boys' not to imitate him, yet excoriating them when they strayed too far from his 'style'. Small wonder the best left while the timid clung to the 'old man' like a life preserver.

Back to Koenig, Ellwood and some of the other steel architects. At their best, they created works that are nothing like Wright in material or form, yet they relate to nature. Are they Organic in Wright's sense of the term?
Probably not. Still they do the job. Create that spatial flow through the glass plane out into nature. Using different means: atria, continuing the structural grid out into the garden, introducing water into the mix, etc.

Everyone will have their own idea as to what constitutes great architecture. As for me, I like to think I know it when I see it and these days I see far too little of it.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you three (and others who have expressed appreciation) very much. It's a pleasure to be among you, and to be able to contribute
something to the discussion.

Ed makes his point(s) quite well. I went searching for examples of what he's talking about, and came up with some early A Quincy Jones
work that fits in, I think. Although his mature work aligned itself a bit more with the sparer end of this spectrum (if not quite as spare as
Ellwood or Koenig, perhaps) -- his were the forms that epitomize the "Eichler look" -- the earlier of these examples below are most surely
in debt to Wright, I think.





Is this wonderful block work an homage to, an abstraction of, Wright's ashlar -- as at, for instance, the (ahem, *cough*) Pew residence ?



Bonus points for identifying these projects. "BfML" is a hint. . .

SDR
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Deke



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 691
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Upton residence brings me to tears. I'd love to pour over the plans. Are they published anywhere, or is there an archive of the architect's work?

Deke
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not that I know of -- yet. His own house has been rescued by locals, I think, and restored. I've added the plan of the Upton residence, above.

His retirement home in the desert will surprise many -- if I can find it. It appeared in Fine Homebuilding maybe ten years ago (maybe fifteen ?)

Anybody else got Schweikher pics ? Send em along. I have a couple more somewhere. . .

SDR
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Deke



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 691
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't ID the first though it reminds me of some Whitney Smith work. The second is the model home for the Crestwood Hills development - Quincy Jones was one of the architects but I gather it was mostly the work of a Wright apprentice. The last is a Jones/Eichler project for the San Fernando Valley that was nixed cause the powers that be couldn't get there minds around the notion of common property green belts between the below-grade homes.

Deke.
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Ed Jarolin



Joined: 03 Apr 2006
Posts: 277
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd never seen Upton before. A lovely echo of Taliesin West.

Fargo Thomas, vernacular meets bold engineering to the detriment of both.

The Jones & Emmons CSH#24 development killed by a boneheaded bureauocracy. I've loved this one since I first saw it in McCoy's book way back when. Imo, this was one of the greatest tragedies in the history of the modern movement. Right up there with the various Usonian developments that never managed to build more than a handful of houses in one location.


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SDR



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Selected text and photos (by Julius Shulman) from "A.Quincy Jones" (Phaidon; n.d.) by Cory Buckner. Architect Buckner owns and has restored the first structure shown below.

Mutual Housing Association, Los Angeles, 1946-1950
Whitney R. Smith, A. Quincy Jones, Architects, and Edgardo Contini, Engineer

The experimental forms of the Mutual Housing Association (MHA) set a standard for excellence in postwar tract-home development. The development's founders took a bold approach toward creating a cooperative community, resulting in houses that offered young families an opportunity to experience modern architecture within a modest budget.

After World War II, in 1946, four musicians formed the Cooperative Housing Group as a viable way to obtain inexpensive houses by pooling their resources. The housing shortage for returning servicemen and the excitement of creating a model community through cooperative methods were foremost in the minds of the original founders. By combining their resources, the four families could afford such luxuries as a swimming pool and an expansive garden. They mentioned their plan to a few friends and soon found they had twenty-five people interested in the idea. Articles ran in the Hollywood Citizen-News and other newspapers, creating an interest that boosted the group's membership to five hundred, The group purchased eight hundred acres in the Santa Monica Mountains in an area of Brentwood now known as Crestwood Hills. The tract in the Santa Monica Mountains was designed to be in keeping with the communal spirit. Land was designated as both private and public, with acreage set aside for a park, nursery school, gas station, and grocery store.

Shortly after purchasing the land the founders interviewed architects, including Richard Neutra. The original contract draft was a joint venture between Jones, Whitney R. Smith, and Jones's former employer, Douglas Honnold, John Lautner, an associate of Honnold's, architect Francis Lockwood, engineer Edgardo Contini, and landscape architect Garrett Eckbo were also involved in the early stages of the project. Honnold turned over the project to Jones and Smith when personal problems made it impossible for him to continue. The final team for the project consisted of Jones, Smith, and Contini, with architects Jim Charlton and Wayne Williams working as draftsmen with design input. Williams, Jones, and Contini also became members of the Association.

The team drew up ten sets of plans but was sent back to the drawing board after the Association deemed the plans too modern, They returned with fifteen additional plans for modestly priced houses designed with a simple exposed structure and materials, The architects presented a booklet, Mutual Plans, consisting of twenty-eight house designs, to the Association in 1948. The Association then began a series of meetings to determine which houses it would select as models for the development. Eventually, eight of the plans were constructed.

With their own funds Jones and Smith purchased an inexpensive hillside lot in Mt. Washington, a section of Los Angeles adjacent to downtown, to built a pilot house for the project. The house, Model 102, made out of concrete-block masonry and wood, was built in 1950 with a rectangular floor plan at a cost of $16,700. A framework of structural ribs and posts extended across the entire floor plan, in-filled with panels of glass across the view wall. The main roof echoed the slope of the hillside and a secondary roof created a clerestory of operable plywood panels.


"Pride of place" [!] -- the architect's site office

ditto

pilot house model 102 (similar to above)

Shulman's iconic photo, cropped

same house [?] from other side



An early proposal also suggested the creation of a communal plant nursery, a doctor's office, and several other community services to be clustered together near the area designated for a park. The local Federal Housing Authority (FHA) reluctantly approved the plans for the cooperative services as an experimental effort only; the Authority feared that other communities would propose similar amenities. Once families settled into the neighborhood, however, the cooperative spirit ebbed, crowded out by the day-to-day tasks of raising a family and the financial burden of furnishing and landscaping their own homes. With the exception ofthe park and nursery school, the remaining communal facilities were never completed. Nevertheless, MHA did prove to become the only successful housing cooperative in the state of California.

The site planning of the Mutual Housing Association was unique for its time. Houses were positioned at odd angles to the street instead of lined up in a row, the latter the typical arrangement of many postwar tract developments. Each house site was oriented to respect the privacy of the neighboring houses, and owners were encouraged to plant six-foot-high hedges at each side yard to provide additional privacy frorn house to house.

Out of the five hundred lots proposed, 160 houses were eventually built accorcling to MHA designs. The houses are finished with materials in their natural state: concrete block, redwood siding, exposed Douglas fir plywood and tongue-and-groove ceiling planks, with no applied plaster or paint. The glass walls give a sensation of free-flowing space, making a 1 ,200-square-foot house seem twice the size by extending the sight line to the property line. Eight-footwide sliding glass doors dissolve the boundary between house and garden. The exposed composite posts and built-up beams act as rhythmic ornament throughout the house. Beams march across the structure like a series of ribs, which, combined with a low-pitched roof, emphasize the horizontality of the houses. Despite the use of a module and standard sliding door sizes, constructing each house proved to be time-consuming; composite beams had to fit composite posts exactly, and odd-shaped clerestory window glass could only be ordered once framing had been completed, causing a delay in construction time. Two different contractors went bankrupt during construction of the houses, leaving many homeowners with plans but no way of constructing them in an efficient manner.

In 1952, the AlA gave the Award of Merit to 500 Home Community, Brentwood, California. The Bel Air fire of 1961 destroyed approximately sixty of the MHA houses. Over time, demolition and extensive remodeling have further destroyed all but thirty-one of the original houses.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've added what other Schweikher I could find, to the post with the Upton house, above. Someone online has a batch of photos of Schweikher's house and studio; I'll try to find them. I'm trying to up-size the Upton images. . .

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Memories! After Fallingwater, the Upton House had the greatest impact on me. Again, in the 50s, it was all over the place, but unless one collects old magazines, I doubt there are many good sources. Sad that such a wonderful house is lost. Before it was demolished, because the neighborhood went commercial, it was converted into a restaurant, which I can imagine worked quite well. Schweikher deserves a big book!
The Fargo House never did much for me, mostly because the connection between house and site is arbitrary, almost as if a photo of a house had been supperimposed on a photo of rocks. The house itself is OK, but the relationship to the site is not at all successful.
Always a fan of A. Quincy Jones (I bought his copy of the '38 Arch. Forum), I am surprised by the first photo of his work you posted. It's wonderful. The Case Study House he built for himself was less so. Jones also deserves a big book.
One architect who will be getting his due soon is Alfred Browning Parker. I don't know when the book is coming out, but I look forward to it.
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SDR



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd love to see color photos of Upton. Julius Shulman's sharp-as-a-tack black-and-whites will have to do, unless someone finds an old magazine (thanks for the tip). They are also the only illustrations (besides original drawings) in Cory Buckner's chunky 272 page book on Jones (Phaidon, 2002). Quite good enough !

Clara Fargo Thomas: There's a lot of bare rock along the Maine coast. If your land is mostly rock, and you want to overhang the water, what are you going to do ? Note that the house was sited (at the very head of a long inlet) to capture specific distant views.

I like the material palette -- though I think I'd be more comfortable screwing 1/2" oak, birch or fir plywood to the studs than the 1/4" material specified.

SDR
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