Working With Alward Construction? [PART 11 of 13]

By | Case Studies, Frank Lloyd Wright

A story of a Frank Lloyd Wright Residence in the 21st Century IT’D BE NICE IF THERE WAS A LITTLE MORE PINK THIS TIME We were not long into the project when we developed a regular pattern of meeting on Friday afternoons at the end of the work day.  Maynard, Walter, Cregg and I met at 5:00.  Maynard was a punctual man and it was understood that 5:00, not 5:15 was the meeting time.  Cregg never put it on his time card and the clients were never charged.  There was no formal procedure.  We gathered and someone started.  Walter would often have a sample of something he wanted us to consider.  He was a genius at constructing samples of things as diverse as light fixtures, glazing details, sheet metal details, wood treatment.  If it was possible to build a model or create a sample, we could depend on Walter to provide one.  He used plastics, metals, glass, woods, leather.  He was clever and resourceful.  He almost always presented, either with or without accompanying models, detailed drawings of items requiring decisions or implementation.  The drawings might be full scale or half scale.  In the course of the project he might have…

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Working With Alward Construction? [PART 12 of 13]

By | Case Studies, Frank Lloyd Wright

A story of a Frank Lloyd Wright Residence in the 21st Century LEAKS Unfortunately, one of the things Frank Lloyd Wright is known for is leaking buildings.  Fair or not, the stories are legendary.  He built a remarkable factory and office for the Johnson Wax company and later a residence for its founder, Mr. Johnson.  The Johnson Wax Works in Racine Wisconsin and the 1938 Wingspread residence on the outskirts of Racine are iconic achievements in American architecture.  He got a call from Mr. Johnson.  “I’m having a diner party and it is leaking above my chair at the head of the table.”  Mr. Wright’s reply was brief and to the point, “move your chair”.  Those who know the Marin Civic Center know that it leaks like a sieve and nobody has been able to do anything about it.  This spring, my wife and I visited the 1923 Millard House in Pasadena, one of the textile block houses also considered by Wright to be one of the first Usonians. It had just rained and water was dripping through the living room ceiling onto the floor some 14 feet below.  The house is for sale for $4,995,000 leaks and all.  I…

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Working With Alward Construction? [PART 13 of 13]

By | Case Studies, Frank Lloyd Wright

A story of a Frank Lloyd Wright Residence in the 21st Century FIXTURES Every day of progress brought with it more of the beauty of Wright’s architecture.  This surprised me.  I had assumed his iconic place in American architecture was the result of grand and imaginative creative sweeps.  Falling Water is shocking in its bold relationship to its setting.  All of his major buildings, the Guggenheim Museum of Manhattan, The Johnson Wax Works of Racine Wisconsin, the Imperial Hotel of Tokyo, Unity Temple of Oak Park, are almost overpowering in their grand vision.  What I was gradually coming to understand through the layering on of the finishes of the Buehler House, was how the details interacted with the broader architectural concept to create the whole.  This interaction is critical and without it, the broader architectural concept cannot carry the day.  The board and bat system in relationship to the concrete block, the knuckles of the piano hinges, the perforated board windows, the book shelves, even the screw heads all harmonize and are part of the rhythm and beauty of the house.  The integration between the macro and micro levels of design is critical to the overall aesthetic.  No one seemed…

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