Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

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SDR
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by SDR »


jay
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by jay »

https://www.nshoremag.com/faces-places/ ... xI1uMmcGoA

A fully-maintained FLO grounds, with a structure not by Richardson but by Peabody & Stearns.

SDR
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by SDR »

Very nice---understated in the manner of old money in New England. "Mansion" of course is ridiculous---the family would never have used the term, which in any event hardly describes this generous cottage. Note the hexagonal exterior paving tile ! Peabody and Stearns is an old and respected firm; Cabot is of course a venerated name in the Boston area.

S

Roderick Grant
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by Roderick Grant »

Peabody & Stearns designed some of the best houses of their time, but mostly more along the lines of the James J. Hill House, a 36,000 sf stone 'cottage' in St. Paul. I place them in the same category as Stanford White and HH Richardson.

This house is a indeed a cottage by the standards of P&S's usual work, but a beauty.

SDR
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by SDR »

There are five examples of the work of Peabody and Stearns, in "American Country Houses of the Gilded Age" (Dover, 1982---a republication of the photos in a book from almost a century earlier, with new text by Arnold Lewis). Here are three of them---two houses and a casino---which with one exception include a version of the detail found at the house which is the subject of this thread. Can anyone spot them ? The detail is more prominent in the present case than in these examples:


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And a fourth example, by another worthy practitioner of the period, containing the same detail:

Image
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Roderick Grant
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by Roderick Grant »

I have always like Farwood. It's similar in both design and (almost) scale as Richardson's Stoughton House.

SDR
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by SDR »

I had thought of Stoughton as being a bit more intimate in scale than Farwood---but not having seen either structure I couldn't really say. Neither of my Richardson references spends much if any space on the house---I don't know where to find the original floor plan---but O'Gorman is quite complementary; his comments about "a shingled skin surrounding and containing the interior volumes" echo those of Scully and Lewis.

One learns in this Wikipedia entry that the house was enlarged more than once, beginning in 1900. A crude plan incorporating two additions is presented.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Fisk ... hton_House

S


SDR
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by SDR »

Someone cited the L-shaped plans of Glessner and Stoughton. Judge for yourself:

Image

https://www.houzz.com/magazine/19th-cen ... s~20270751
(Plans at bottom of page.)

S

DavidC
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by DavidC »

This Christmas, I was gifted this book on Fredrick Law Olmsted. It makes mention of a project that H. H. Richardson did of the Old Colony Railway Station in Easton, MA, along with this picture of it:
Image

It just strikes me as a beautiful piece of architecture.


David

SDR
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by SDR »

Yes it is. Richardson at his most adventurous was as daring and bold as Frank Furness---or Frank Lloyd Wright. HHR qualifies as a genuine pre-Modern architect in my book.

The giant arches (three of them, interestingly arrayed) disappearing under the eaves is a bit off-putting, at first, but then the overall silhouette and the materials and detailing (including the witch's-hat roofs) take hold, and the thing comes into its own. High Arts & Crafts ? Why not . . .?

S

Roderick Grant
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by Roderick Grant »

This building uses arches in a most unusual manner that is neither classically 'correct' nor standard practice for HHR.
What draws my attention is the massive scale of the brackets.


DavidC
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by DavidC »

Recent photo of the Old Colony Railroad Station:

Image


North Easton Station


David

DavidC
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Re: Article: H. H. Richardson Home set to be demolished - Brookline, MA

Post by DavidC »

New book on H.H. Richardson & Fredrick Law Olmsted: Architects of an American Landscape: Henry Hobson Richardson, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the Reimagining of America’s Public and Private Spaces

I learned about this book from an article by Alex Beam in yesterday's (Jan. 14, 2022) Wall Street Journal, which follows:

"A number of years ago, author Hugh Howard told the editor at his publishing house that he wanted to resurrect the reputation of Henry Hobson Richardson, “the most admired architect of his era.” But if no one has heard of Richardson, his editor replied, who is going to buy your book?

Mr. Howard, who has written works on Frank Lloyd Wright, Phillip Johnson and the architecture of Thomas Jefferson, hit upon a clever conceit: a twin biography of Richardson and his storied friend and collaborator Frederick Law Olmsted. Unlike Richardson, Olmsted—co-creator, with partner Calvert Vaux, of Manhattan’s Central Park and designer of the U.S. Capitol grounds—needs no introduction. Another difference: While Richardson’s rough-hewn, stony edifices, such as Trinity Church on Boston’s Copley Square or the stately New York Capitol building in Albany, have long since passed from fashion, Olmsted’s sylvan landscapes and English gardens still stir the imagination.

Mr. Howard’s conceit works. “Architects of an American Landscape,” a readable, intelligently paced dual biography, is the literary equivalent of a rolling, Olmstedian greensward. By the final chapter, the reader fully appreciates the short, productive life of Richardson (1838-86), whom Henry Adams, the intimate of senators and presidents, called “the only really big man I ever knew.” The Olmsted material feels like a welcome bonus, with erudite retellings of his conservation work in the Yosemite Valley, his pioneering efforts in forestry management for the Vanderbilts’ Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, and of course his many collaborations with Richardson.

When the young Harvard graduate Henry Richardson evinced an interest in architecture in 1859, the field hardly existed. Architects were called “undertakers” because they undertook to construct buildings. America had no architectural schools. Strivers like Richardson had to travel to Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts, steeped in European classicism, to gain a foothold in the profession.

After almost six years in Europe and eager to start building, Richardson discovered that “everything on the American streetscape was derivative of forms from across the Atlantic.” A religious skeptic, he assailed the traditional Beaux-Arts verities with his early church design, favoring the Gothic over the classical, first with the Church of the Unity in Springfield, Mass. In 1867 he built Grace Church in Medford, Mass., with the “bowlders of New England” (as a mother of one of the church benefactors had suggested), thus following Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s dictum: “That is best which liest nearest— / Shape from that thy work or art.” At age 29, the stripling Richardson was already anticipating the “organic architecture” of Frank Lloyd Wright. (Wright, who hated to praise other architects, would confess to a “secret respect, leaning a little toward envy” for Richardson.)

Richardson’s next project, the Brattle Square Church in Boston’s Back Bay, showcased the stone cladding and broad, round arches that would characterize the “Richardsonian Romanesque” style. The church mesmerized the young architecture student Louis Sullivan, a future stalwart of the Chicago School of architecture and Wright mentor, and it led directly to what many consider Richardson’s greatest commission, Trinity Church.

Mr. Howard calls Trinity “an Episcopal duomo.” It is an unusual and innovative structure. Featuring a massive interior space built without columns, Trinity was to be a “color church,” in Richardson’s formulation. His friend John La Farge contributed 20,000 square feet of gilt-and-red murals, as well as some of the stained glass, for the walls and soaring dome. The Boston Transcript called Trinity “the first church in this country to be decorated by artists.” An 1885 survey of 75 prominent architects chose five Richardson buildings among the nation’s 10 best, with Trinity heading the list.

Mr. Howard correctly emphasizes that Trinity is “the centerpiece of one of America’s most memorable urban plazas,” adorned after Richardson’s death by his former draftsman Charles Follen McKim’s magnificent, Italianate Boston Public Library across Copley Square. (Connections abound: McKim’s partner in the firm McKim, Mead & White, Stanford White, also worked for Richardson.) Henry Cobb of I.M. Pei & Partners completed the square’s architectural trifecta in 1976 with the nearby John Hancock headquarters. Cobb clad his 62-story tower with mirrored glass, he told this newspaper in 2011, because “it needed a dramatic profile.” But in the square, he added, “it had to honor Trinity Church.”



David

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