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Thread: Falling Water vs Gamble House

  1. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Neely View Post
    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.
    What a great story, your FIL is part of history!
    Yes, FLW has taken some criticism in this discussion thread, but I think anyone would agree that whether you like his style or not, he is undeniably an icon of architecture. In fact, I'd be very surprised if you can google for a list of the greatest modern architects and FLW wasn't on it.

  2. #47
    Certainly FLW is on every list of great architects. But who's READING those lists, besides the family of the list makers ?
    And his luster is in part burnished by his heroic fictional self ,Howard Roark.
    Last edited by Mel Fulks; 05-31-2019 at 9:22 PM. Reason: spelling

  3. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    Certainly FLW is on every list of great architects. But who's READING those lists, besides the family of the list makers ?
    And his luster is in part burnished by his heroic fictional self ,Howard Roark.
    Sigh. Okay, how about if I simply say that FLW was a well known, now deceased American architect.
    Do we at least agree on that?

  4. #49
    Sure. But I wasn't slamming ,just saying this is a pretty it's all about us time. And the story of the novel and Wright's
    refusal to drawn into any appropriation of himself by Rand is interesting.

  5. #50
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    After seeing the many pictures of FW I realize that almost all of them are taken from the same place. The spot the family wanted the house to be located so they could view the falls from inside. Instead they have to wait for it to rain so they can watch water falling inside the house instead of having to go into the basement to see the creek.
    Bill D
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 06-03-2019 at 11:48 AM.

  6. #51
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    The way I see it not everything “most understand” to be practical or functional has to be.

    It’s just one angle and not even my opinion to be perfectly honest but I kinda view falling waters much like art for a architect. Maybe it was nothing to do about being practical, nothing about engineering or logic.

    Maybe it was simply about someone with a compulsion to create fulfilling a personal need.

    Mind you I know nothing of FL other than his properties. I have done no reading on him hence have no real education. But as a creator myself with a strong background in the arts sometime those riddled with the creative bug just have to realize a idea in the physical form vrs just between the ears.

  7. #52
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    Thanks Alan for the summary

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Caro View Post
    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
    Alan, I think you nailed it. I visited the Gamble House last summer and I stopped at Fallingwater last week on my way back from Indiana. They are both great in their own way. In both cases, the architects were given free rein to design the entire living space- furniture, rugs, etc. not just the house.

    First, Iím surprised there is not more love for the Gamble House on a WWing forum. It is truly an amazing home, exquisitely executed and would be very livable even today. Itís warm, inviting and I can easily envision it being a Ďhomeí for the owners.

    Fallingwater is amazing, almost grows out of the landscape as if it were a part of it all along (certainly Wrightís Intent). Itís an architectural tour de force, but not at all homey. Too much stone and concrete, with very little wood, makes it feel somewhat cold and uninviting to me. It was designed as a weekend home for the owners, and they must have liked Wrightís efforts well enough since they hired him two years later to design the guest house just up the hill.

    Both houses are cool and interesting in their their own way, but given a choice Iíd take the Gamble House over Fallingwater. Itís more livable in my way of thinking.

  9. #54
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    To my simplistic mind:

    Falling water was made to look at.

    Gamble house was made to live in.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  10. #55
    Robert Cherry,

    It's interesting the ways in which modernism tried to redefine everything= start from point zero as they instructed in the Bauhaus, in some cases throwing out millennia of cultural evolution. In extreme cases, a modernist ego, for example on the scale of Wright and Corbusier turned architecture into a personal, aesthetic game and only they could play by their rules perfectly. the genius is so individualistic that only a few can appreciate the artistry. That's why I place craft as high an art as design; craftsmanship can be appreciated through every age and culture- it's a more universal and ageless aesthetic than design.

    Fallingwater is genius on so many levels, but in my view as a trained Post-Modernist (I worked for Charles Moore), FW doesn't speak "home" but more as precious, immutable art artwork, just as the Guggenheim says more "multi-story art parking" than "museum" and Breuers's Whitney Museum says something more along the lines of "art bunker". There's room for everything on the spectrum and the World is better for it, but with Wright, I think he had his best phase just before WWI:

    The Robie House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Chicago, 1910

    Robie house_7.23.19.jpg

    Dimensioned to the 1/8" and looks like a house to me!

    Alan
    Last edited by Alan Caro; 07-23-2019 at 12:27 PM.

  11. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Caro View Post
    The Robie House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Chicago, 1910

    Robie house_7.23.19.jpg

    Dimensioned to the 1/8" and looks like a house to me!
    Does the roof leak?

  12. #57
    Doug Dawson,

    As far as I know, the flat roofed FLW buildings did have a strong propensity to leak. Flat roofs were relatively new technology, mostly used on factories with very large open areas. Materials and detailing in the 1930's had not caught up with complex roof designs - a lot of small flat roofs is still difficult to get right However, few of the sloping roofs would leak as they had traditional careful detailing, although with Wright, gutters were forbidden and that caused other trouble. Some of the Prairie houses such the Robie Househ did have problems in that the more extremely cantilevered roofs over porches sagged. As amazing as flat roofs are today, I think it's still safe to say that flat roofs leak far more than sloping, but that's most often due to plugged drains or damage to the roof when large roof top equipment is added, moved. or repaired.

    I seem to remember that Wright made a comment to a client- who may or may not have been a family member, to the effect that art- such as his own desiogns is worth considerable suffering. Someone commented about FLW furniture, "It makes me black and blue."

    I worked for the Post-Modernist architect Charles Moore and there were quite a number of roof leaking problems and possibly even lawsuits thereto as he liked the roofs without any overhang and was fond of complex forms out of studs and drywall. There was a leak in the ceiling of his own house in Los Angeles- which had a very long sloping roof and he didn't seem to be too bothered.

    Charles Moore's House:

    Charles Moore House.jpg

    The leak ran from the top (3rd story) of the long sloping roof, all the way to the entry hall at the bottom. The water mark on the ceiling was about 70' long.

    These artistic types!

    Alan
    Last edited by Alan Caro; 07-23-2019 at 4:12 PM.

  13. #58
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    I have visited a few Wright houses, and at one we were told that he insisted on designing the furnishings also. The house in question ( can't remember which) was furnished like a bus station...all angular and flat lines....the chairs and sofa reminded me of bus benches. Lots of windows, but no curtains or drapes.

    That is why my opinion above mentions one style is to impress, and the other is to live in. One is stark, the other 'cozy'.

    No expertise at all, just average guy impressions.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  14. #59
    Where is the entrance to the Robie house ? And is that the front in that pic? Thanks.

  15. #60
    Mel Fulks,

    The plans:

    FLW_Robie House_Plans.jpg

    The Robie House is an "upside down" plan; the lower floor - garage level are: Garage, Laundry, Boiler Room, Children's Bedroom. Billiard Room, and the visitors' entry is to the left of the plan at what I think of as the back of the house. The family would probably often go in through a small door on the other short end adjacent to the garage and along a passageway to the stairs.

    View of the entry:

    FLW_Robie House_Entry.jpg

    The entry is essentially on the back of the house. The Visitors' entry is on the short end, from what most people would think of as the side of the house. Going through the door, there's a 90 degree turn to the right and up stairs that part of what is a big combination of fireplaces and the stairs- almost like a little building inside the house. The view of the long side in the previous post is considered the front of the house. That long side faces a park and having an elevated park view is the reason the plan has the living spaces on the second level.

    This house looks quite natural more than 100 years later, but it must have looked like a spaceship had landed when new. There's a famous photo of it under construction with about a 1908 car parked there and the contrast shows why so many people were shocked by his designs when new.

    I'm still amazed when I see photos of this house, and several others of the same period just before WWI. I think that period when he was still under the influence of traditional Japanese architecture and the Arts and Crafts movement was his best work. It's not his most dramatic, but the most elegantly subtle.

    Alan
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    Last edited by Alan Caro; 07-23-2019 at 4:03 PM. Reason: spleling?

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