Friday, July 19, 2013

Goetsch-Winckler House - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

My Dad and I attended a fundraiser for the Michigan State University Museum last evening. It was held at one of the four local Frank Lloyd Wright designed houses in the area. Click title for link for a quick description of the house. It is an example of his "Usonian" concept - a new way of living and planning communities which broke from past constructs. This was supposedly his favorite small house. Of course, he is known for much more elaborate projects - commercial ones like the Johnson Wax headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin and the Imperial Palace Hotel in Tokyo - the latter now demolished. He was also known for many private residential commissions around the Mid-West and Arizona.

I am traveling today and rushing to get this post up. There is so much to talk about Frank Lloyd Wright and his legacy, his importance in guiding 20th Century architecture and this will have to do for now. Please study the links.

So, I thought it best to leave you these pictures of the house and event last night. It was an exceedingly warm evening with temperatures in the humid mid-90s. The house is very simple and the previous and the current owners have kept this property true to its design direction. 

A few basics about the house: It has heated concrete floors (off last night and the open windows attest to no air conditioning), a modular concept of construction where wall panels were shipped from off-site, use of redwood plywood in four foot squares for the ceiling and the floor was also done in four foot segments - something Wright learned from his time in Japan. All of these were cutting edge in 1940 when the house was built.

The house/property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

My Dad was asked to bring his 1940 Packard to add atmosphere to the event. Ironically, it is a car that was built with factory air conditioning - a first among auto manufacturers and something we definitely could have used last night.
Arriving in style under the cantilevered carport. The Packard would probably not have been a car of the original owners, as they were of modest means and perhaps the car was not part of FLW's Usonian vision, but it did add a nice dimension to the event.

The car received a lot of attention through the evening.

Northern facade perspective

In all these pictures, notice the various horizontal planes, particular of the flat roof, a signature of Wright.

The property is heavily wooded now. When originally built, there was no shade as it was converted pasture land.

The activity space or "living room"

Many of the furnishings are original or based upon the original.

The lanai - the caterer's tables, chairs and the "Lasko" plastic fans were there for the event. 

The redwood plywood 4 x 4 foot ceiling panels. Plywood was a new innovation in 1940.

The modular 4 x 4 foot concrete floor, heated during the cooler months.

Hallway leading from the activity area to the two bedrooms.

Studio area off the activity area.

The present owners, hosts of the event, are associated with the university and are also professional musicians - recently from California. They entertained the crowd with a "Name that Tune" game of 40s era music.

My father at 87 enjoying the event - not the best picture of him.

These three, above, show door details and the latching system from the master bedroom.

All of the above are various views of the more dramatic southern elevation which looks down a small hill.

An outside view of the lanai.