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Thread: Falling Water vs Gamble House

  1. #31
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    I read an interesting article on-line in scientific american about the efforts needed to stabilize the roof beams and walls to keep it from collapsing. FLW was a visionary architect but he was not a structural engineer by any means.

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Wintle View Post
    I read an interesting article on-line in scientific american about the efforts needed to stabilize the roof beams and walls to keep it from collapsing. FLW was a visionary architect but he was not a structural engineer by any means.
    Following up on Chuck's post, here is an obituary for the guy who saved Falling Water. LINK I'm posting it because it has a link (at the bottom) to the Scientific American article Chuck mentioned. Don't know how much I'll be able to follow, but it looked interesting. Edit: I just finished the article and it's fairly readable if anyone is interested. Thanks for the lead Chuck - I enjoyed it.

    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 05-28-2019 at 11:55 AM.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  3. #33
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    From an eastern perspective Gamble House does seem dark inside because of all the wood and the subdued plasterwork and the weak lighting. But a dim interior is appropriate to the location where the sun blazes in a light blue sky and clouds are rare. A dim interior is a relief to the eyes and a relief from the heat. Natural lighting is more effective there. There are several open air features as well, like the sleeping porches and long views. Also, we should excuse the weak lighting given that electric lighting was pretty new and rare outside of built up areas. People were accustomed to dimmer interiors.

    If we could get them to come to Pennsylvania today, G & G would build something quite different.

  4. #34
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    Thanks for posting that link Fred.

  5. #35
    Never been to either. Almost all flat roofs have problems unless maintained often. There was a small brick bungalow for sale near here that I tried to buy for an office 20 years ago. All dark oak wood work with lots of finials indoors. The hard wood floors had dark wood designs inlaid around the room. Nearly all the doors had heavy beveled glass windows, and heavy beveled glass transom windows above. The outside gables had fancy trim work. Most of the first floor windows had leaded glass designed panes. the dining room had old fashioned wide board paneling below the chair board. The dining room was separated from the kitchen by two large fancy pocket doors. The Den was lined with matching wood built in book shelves. The ceiling was slightly higher than most, but I don't know if it was 9 ft. It was a testament to the fancy interior trim work of a century ago.

    I have no idea what style it might be called. It was one of the most fascinating houses I had ever been in,

  6. #36
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    Feb 2015
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    That sounds just awesome.

    Sadly nothing like it is built anymore unless you are in the 20 million and up territory. I’m not suggesting anything less can not be nice as clearly it can be but generally that kind of craftsmanship I just not see anymore even on 3-5 million dollar homes.

    I have a 1926 sears craftsman bungalow kit home. It was built by the original owner whom was a carpenter by trade. By comparison to today’s homes it exudes quality even as simple and basic as it is. I hate its proximity to my neighbors and generally its location but the idea of moving and settling for pos keeps me right where I am.

    You can still put a marble in any comet of it and it stays put. For the most part a square in any corner and level on any wall.

    What’s that have to do with falling waters, gamble house or flat roofs I don’t know. It’s bungalow it’s built really well and I love everything arts and crafts except the furniture, love frank loyd right even more. Talent allows one to be less,than practical.

    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    Never been to either. Almost all flat roofs have problems unless maintained often. There was a small brick bungalow for sale near here that I tried to buy for an office 20 years ago. All dark oak wood work with lots of finials indoors. The hard wood floors had dark wood designs inlaid around the room. Nearly all the doors had heavy beveled glass windows, and heavy beveled glass transom windows above. The outside gables had fancy trim work. Most of the first floor windows had leaded glass designed panes. the dining room had old fashioned wide board paneling below the chair board. The dining room was separated from the kitchen by two large fancy pocket doors. The Den was lined with matching wood built in book shelves. The ceiling was slightly higher than most, but I don't know if it was 9 ft. It was a testament to the fancy interior trim work of a century ago.

    I have no idea what style it might be called. It was one of the most fascinating houses I had ever been in,
    Last edited by Patrick Walsh; 05-29-2019 at 6:12 PM.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    Guggenheim Museum NYC?
    Robie House?
    The museum was plagued by roof leaks, as was Falling Water (no pun intended).
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  8. #38
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    Jan 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    Wright was a brilliant designer, but a terrible engineer.
    While on the tour the Docent told us the contractor installed the prestressed concrete beams upside down and concealed the fact from FLW until the project was nearly done and already exhibiting signs of sagging.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  9. #39
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    May 2015
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    NW Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Cav View Post
    The Hall brothers (and their crew) were most assuredly not "a bunch carpenters".
    Agree on that. IMHO G&G were niche designers, expanding an existing motif or school of design. As such they are interesting, but to me the beauty of the GH is in it's execution by the Halls and their tradesmen. The skills evident in the woodworking, and the attention to detail they maintained thru out are wonderful, and have virtue and value on their own regardless of the design. FLW on the other hand was a visionary, a creator of something fiercely his own, and had the heart, the soul, or maybe just the pig headed-ness to follow his vision and make it real. Too bad his engineering seems to be an after thought at Falling Water and others. A long, long time ago my partner and I got the project to repair the loggia at the Charnley House in Chicago. While not formerly a FLW house - he was working as a draftsman for Louis Sullivan at the time - his early influences are unmistakable and I think prescient of where modern architecture would go. Like someone else said, it's the difference between Art Pepper and Jimmy Hendricks.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    From an eastern perspective Gamble House does seem dark inside because of all the wood and the subdued plasterwork and the weak lighting. But a dim interior is appropriate to the location where the sun blazes in a light blue sky and clouds are rare. A dim interior is a relief to the eyes and a relief from the heat. Natural lighting is more effective there. There are several open air features as well, like the sleeping porches and long views. Also, we should excuse the weak lighting given that electric lighting was pretty new and rare outside of built up areas. People were accustomed to dimmer interiors.

    If we could get them to come to Pennsylvania today, G & G would build something quite different.
    Yes, the lighting levels in the Gamble House would be perfectly normal for anyone living in the early 20th century, and would actually be pretty bright for someone in the late 19th century used to lamp light. In addition, the GH is kept dim now on purpose to keep the textiles and furniture from fading.

    If you're ever in southern California a trip to Pasadena for a Gamble House tour and a drive by of the other homes in the neighborhood is well worth it. I've done a couple of tours, the regular one, plus an "inside the ropes" tour hosted by Jim Ipekijan, and I'd like to go back and do the latter again some time.

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Luter View Post
    While on the tour the Docent told us the contractor installed the prestressed concrete beams upside down and concealed the fact from FLW until the project was nearly done and already exhibiting signs of sagging.
    I think the docent may have had bad data. The structural engineer who wrote the scientific american article doesnt say anything about that. He said the beam sagged a couple inches as soon as they took off the concrete forms. When the apprentice on site called back to Taliesin with an "uh oh", one of FLW's engineers is reported to have said he forgot to include something. The article also said a local engineering company disagreed with the FLW calculations and ordered twice as many reinforcing bars be added to the beams. The article posits that the house would have collapsed had they not done so. It's an interesting read for sure. (Post 32 has links that will get anyone interested to the article.)

    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  12. #42
    Maybe FLW is being bad-mouthed...and maybe he didn't go after a clients wife. SHE went after him and was bigger than
    he was!

  13. #43
    Tom Bender,

    I've never visited Fallingwater, but have been in the Hollyhock House in Hollywood- recently restored, and another texture block FLW house: La Miniatura- which is not that far from the Gamble House, the Price Tower in Oklahoma, and the Guggenheim, NYC. The Gamble house is in an area with several Greene and Green houses - there are four within a short distance and another couple, including one of the their masterpieces, the Blacker House, not far away. I used to live quite near the Gamble House, and I've also seen the James House in Big Sur, CA in the early 80's when the original owners of 1931 still lived there, and Charles Greene's studio in Carmel, CA. In my view, the James House is one of the greatest houses in the World; it's a handmade, organic sculpture that grows out of the Big Sur cliffs. I was lucky to see Greene's studio - which is never open to the public- with Randall Makinson, who wrote the book on G&G and it's an experimental jewel- amazing bas-relief woodcarving that Charles did himself.

    If I were to characterize Falling Water and the Gamble House:

    Falling Water: FLW's fantastic cubist site response, epic, forceful, and a monument to FLW's invention and compositional genius. However, all the texture block houses to me seem strangely heavy, grey, and confining. I admire them, but they're hard, cold, machine and and museum-like: nothing in a FLW can be changed- personalized, without spoiling the art piece. -And, I wouldn't want to live in a FLW house. That the problem with modernist starchitects; they think you should be happy prisoners to their artistic genius.

    By contrast, the Gamble House, and other G&G houses, which are British Arts and Crafts, a wisp of Art Nouveau- the Greene's knew how to make a beautiful curve- and traditional Japanese architecture-inspired are wooden puzzle boxes, there's a great sense of peace and repose, plus that glow of a sensitive, artistic human touch to every surface. I can live there. I had a friend in Pasadena in the 80's whose mother knew the Gambles in 1913 and played in the Gamble House. She said it felt like more like a home than her own house. I can't even image a child in a FLW House.

    I designed a number of houses in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Marina del Rey, Venice CA and a set of spec houses in Redwood City in the Bay Area that were modern, but with the G&G in mind, plus a little Lutyens, Voysey- another A&C architect, sort of the English Greene, and Charles Rennie Makintosh around the edges too. By the way, that's a great pity about Makintosh's Glascow School of Art burning and near total loss; as big or bigger a disaster to architecture than Notre Dame, which by contrast has every possibility of recovery. Similar to Notre Dame, the School of Art burned while it was being rebuilt, after a lesser fire.

    Those are two very good contrasting houses that force a person to come to terms with what they think constitutes a home.

    I really recommend looking up images of Charles Greene's James House in Big Sur- that's the house with everything.

    Alan Caro
    Last edited by Alan Caro; 05-30-2019 at 8:02 PM.

  14. #44
    As much as I love Fallingwater, I agree it that the interior spaces are NOT "warm". I think it would be an impersonal place in which to live. I'm not sure I'd live there.

    But dang, it's a beautiful exterior design and - to my eye - it is perfectly sited. I fell in love with the look of the place.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  15. #45
    My father in law was an apprentice for FLW from 1934 until he went out on his own in 1948. He built the models for the Guggenheim and the Johnson Wax building. I think the craftsman stuff is amazing but not in the same league with the later FLW stuff. FIL supervised the construction of the only Wright home in Oregon which has subsequently been moved to the Oregon Gardens. He was a great guy and lived to be 97.

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