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Exhibition: “Drawings and Objects by Architects”
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DavidC



Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 3375
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:13 pm    Post subject: Exhibition: “Drawings and Objects by Architects” Reply with quote

It is what it isn't


David
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DavidC



Joined: 02 Sep 2006
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Location: Oak Ridge, TN

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank Lloyd Wright sketch on exhibit


David
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SDR



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

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote




This illustration appears in B B Pfeiffer's "Treasures of Taliesin." Eight years after she first contacted Wright about a house, Rand wrote to him in
1945. Pfeiffer quotes the letter thus:

' ". . .I don't want my choice of land to be rash, since that will be my permanent home. Are you still willing to grant me the exception of a
house designed ahead of the site ?" A week or so later, [! -- SR] Mr Wright wrote, "Dear Ayn Rand: We are sending on to you a scheme for a
compact dwelling for a writer who loves the idea of organic architecture and won't take less for a home. It can be built with a few minor changes
in Connecticut, Texas, Arizona or Florida." ' [In fact, it seems California, where she lived at the time, and Connecticut, were the states in
contention. She ended up residing in Manhattan, Pfeiffer tells us.]

As to the provenance of the drawing on display presently, the LA Times writer says, "Cella said the final drawing for Rand's cottage
studio is part of the holdings of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West, the campus he founded in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The preliminary rendering on view in L.A. is signed with the angular Wright "chop," with two initial Ls. (He was born Frank Lincoln Wright, but
his name was changed after his father, William Carey Wright, and mother, Anna Lloyd-Jones, divorced.) Olsberg said he would attribute the drawing
to Wright and John H. Howe, a draftsman with whom Wright worked."

So, the drawing above may be the "final drawing" mentioned, while the "preliminary rendering" (not shown) is the one that is available for sale
(for an undisclosed sum). Note the revisions -- corrections, probably in Wright's hasty hand and surely not intended to be displayed -- to the
drawing above. The most obvious is the reworking of the site condition, to fit the foundation to a steeper slope -- for a different client, after Rand
had moved on ? In addition, the top-most masonry mass has an indication (I believe) that it is to be lowered by a few courses -- Wright
perhaps didn't care for the coincidence of two masses aligning into one silhouette, in this view of the building. (My first impression was that the
chimney [?] had been added to, but closer inspection reveals that the present stonework is all of a piece, in one drafter's hand. So the change
indicated by the slightly off-kilter pencil line must be a removal of material, not an addition.) All of the details mentioned in the Times piece are
present in this drawing as well.

Wright has also fussed with the awning-hung ribbon windows, apparently preferring a slightly more random placement of open and closed units,
which would be typical for him. And there is a hazy indication of foreground foliage to be added at upper left.

Incidentally, this drawing appears to be the work of a less skilled apprentice than the superlative Jack Howe. It does not include his
characteristic parallel-stroke texture in the ground or sky areas, for one thing. . .


In the foreword to his book, in 1985, Pfeiffer writes, "The actual process of design was a very swift one for Frank Lloyd Wright. He thought out a
new work entirely in his head before he touched pencil to paper. Once the design, including all the details, was clearly formulated, he would go to
the drafting room and start to draw. Those first sketches of his are, of course, the most priceless of all his architectural drawings. From them,
we, his apprentices, began to make more detailed drawings. First there were the renderings or presentation drawings, which Mr Wright colored
and worked on himself in preparation for showing to his client. . ."




Last edited by SDR on Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 4637

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, examining Frank Lloyd Wright's "chop" will show that the double L consists of one upper and one lower case, which is not "Lincoln Lloyd" nor "Lloyd Lincoln" but "Ll," the abbreviation for Lloyd, as "Llw" is for Llewellyn, "Wm" for William or "Th" for Thomas.

I thought the original drawing was in the Monographs, but it isn't. I can't think of where the origin of the Rand Project has been published, other than in the Spring 1997 issue of JTF, The Journal of Taliesin Fellows. We probably got unpublished drawings directly from Taliesin. The Rand Project is a redrawing of a triplex designed originally in 1937 as part of the All-Steel Houses for Los Angeles (1938, Mono 6, pp 98-99), which was to have been built in an area bounded by La Brea Ave., Slauson Ave. and Overhill Drive. The plan and elevation of the unit, a '37 sketch in FLW's hand, appear on page 14 of the journal. The vertically striated tower is a leftover from the original scheme, which was to have consisted of vertical steel channels 9" wide and up to 17' long, with light-weight concrete fill for insulation. These alternated with 9" x 17' windows, hinged at the top, opening outward. Crazy as it all sounds, that was the plan. I believe FLW was convinced Rand would not build, and so passed on a quick but handsome and elegant reworking of the project that wasn't even structurally possible (inspect the plan closely). This satisfied her, and he got paid. Rand eventually bought Neutra's Von Sternberg House.
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Jeff Myers



Joined: 22 Feb 2009
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Location: Tulsa

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a post card booklet from Pomegranate that has the Rand Project in it.
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SDR



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

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It appears to me that most of Wright's initialed signatures actually read
FLLW. It is only the convention that the second letter of any name is in
lower case, that drives the F.Ll.W. (or FLlW) usage, I believe -- as R Grant points out. I don't think FLlW reads as well as FLLW does.


Here is the All Steel material in Monograph 6. I'm grateful for the reference and the detailed information. I was wondering what that vertical siding was.

I don't see the Rand design here, exactly -- but I don't have the Journal (?) to see what is shown there. I like these designs, myself -- or maybe I just like the drawings ?
Wright's answer to the Los Angeles boys, Neutra in particular ?




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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1118
Location: Anacortes, WA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR wrote:

Incidentally, this drawing appears to be the work of a less skilled apprentice than the superlative Jack Howe. It does not include his
characteristic parallel-stroke texture in the ground or sky areas, for one thing. . .



Not sure about the structure, but the foliage looks very much like Wright's added touch (as he often did), as is the woman who looks similar to the girl with the yo-yo he added to a Guggenheim interior perspective.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good guesses, I'd say. I was going to propose that Wright's edits to this drawing were confined to graphite pencil alone. The large scribbles at
the upper left (for a foreground tree ?) are the most visible, but there is also shadowing under the balcony foliage, the previously mentioned ribbon
window alterations, and also some redrawing of the vertical corners of the building. What do you make of those, by the way ?

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dug up my files on All-Steel/Rand. They are a bunch of faxes from Taliesin which have never been published. Unfortunately, unless someone can get cleaner copies, many of them are too dark to read. And some that are legible are such poorly captioned sketches that it's next to impossible to determine what they are. Palli might be intrigued to know that it looks like there may have been perfs! I'm not sure, but that's what they look like.

The structural problem is at the lower two levels, where both "structural" stone walls are topped with clerestory windows that wrap all the way around, as is evident from the floor plan. Those massive concrete balconies would have to be cantilevered from the tower entirely, or the muntins between windows would have to be substantial steel supports, which they do not seem to be. On the ground floor, inside/outside the main room called the "entresol" is a 12' x 20' pool, extending 4' into the house, so that the folding glass doors would just skip across the top, making for, as I wrote, "a delightful, though litigious, extravagance for California, but an icy comtemplation for the East Coast." A later version lopped off the top floor, giving the perspective a more horizontal aspect.

As I've said before, I think the problems with this house are the result of FLW not believing Rand would actually build. A similar, though somewhat more modest project was designed for Clark Foreman (1942) in D.C. which was structurally possible. FLW seemed to like the elevation of that All-Steel project, however, since it is very similar to elevations for Elizabeth Noble Apartments (1929) for Los Angeles and one version of Point View Apartments (1953) for Pittsburgh.
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SDR



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before we are made aware of the spacial realities of Fallingwater, this elevation
could be taken for another of that group -- a sort of Lovell Health House East ?




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Reidy



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 1059
Location: Northern CA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The resemblance is impossible to miss but easy to overstate. Toker points out in Fallingwater Rising that floors and balconies that look like cantilevers are actually suspended from the roof and that the piers below don't really hold anything up. He makes the novel suggestion that Wright set out to do honestly what Neutra was doing for show.

He also suggests Schindler's house for the same clients as a precursor for Fallingwater. Judith Scheine mentions Schindler's non-demolished Wolff house on Catalina. Wright had combined balconies and a downslope to dramatic effect at Taliesin and La Miniatura before any of these buildings.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toker is speaking about Fallingwater when he says the cantilevers are hung from the roof(s) ?

I will have to read what he says in this regard. It is clear to me from the section drawings that this could not be the case. With all due respect, it is
hard to see how "piers which do nothing" would reflact an "honest" approach !



"Merchant Prince and Master Builder," p 83. This drawing shows the bolsters and the single stone pier supporting the living room floor and
the terrace above. There are four steel posts in the living room window band (far left in the drawing) which connect it to the terrace/roof; it is
impossible to see how they could be in tension rather than compression. . .





Donald Hoffman, p 27. This drawing seems to derive from a sheet found in Monograph 5, though the LR fireplace differs.



Terence Riley, p 234.
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1118
Location: Anacortes, WA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR wrote:
and also some redrawing of the vertical corners of the building. What do you make of those, by the way ? SDR


SDR- assuming they are touches from Wright, and in graphite as you mention, I would say the corner wall extensions are simply that; quickly sketched with no regard for them to be traced exactly over the existing. Most likely a purely aesthetic revision.
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SDR



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So they are underdrawing, rather than editing ? Oddly, some of the concrete or stucco parapets above have these "comments" as well. Perhaps he assumed that the apprentice was going to be re-drawing this anyway, so random marks and instructions weren't spoiling a usable document ?


SDR
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JimM



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 1118
Location: Anacortes, WA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR wrote:
Perhaps he assumed that the apprentice was going to be re-drawing this anyway, so random marks and instructions weren't spoiling a usable document ? SDR


Not sure if it was meant to be redrawn, but it's a fact he could not control himself from "editing" just about any of his drawings, if only to satisfy even a passing thought for a design. Howe tried to keep complete second sets of projects because Wright would erase and markup working drawings beyond salvation.... specifically spoiling usable documents!
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