Price House in Bartlesville, OK

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Jeff Myers
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Post by Jeff Myers »

Well in the same book is the Bruce Goff Masterpiece It has the plans for the studio(Project) and what was built. I can upload if anyone wants to take a look.
Jeff T

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Post by SDR »

Thanks Roderick, I misread that completely. I've corrected my caption (p 1).


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Post by DRN »

The following is a link to a Google books exerpt of the book Jeff has shared. ... t&resnum=1

A remarkable book, it appears on the surface to be just another of those formulaic collections of old photos of a given city that are sold regionally in the major bookstores. But this one is very different in that it publishes photos of the architect's drawings for some of the buildings featured. In the book are drawings by Goff of the Price Studio additions that I have not seen before...and until now, I didn't know Goff's Akright addition was made onto a house by a noted OK architect. Good stuff.

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Post by JimM »

The Price interior, especially the living room, is without a doubt one of the most handsome of the later houses. The integration of the best of both Usonian and earlier (Prairie) aesthetics is pleasingly successful.

However..... doesn't the bricked, "cantilevered" terrace appear incongruous to the composition as a whole? Specifically those Corbu poles (original?). The circular opening to the fountain below is interesting, but doesn't enhance the design, IMO.

The second floor and living room roofs are beautifully balanced, and a more "grounded" bricked terrace wall might have been more successful for what is essentially a fairly formal work. It may have been his intention for the whole thing to have the look of taking off, but the poles diminish this effect, and the floating brick terrace walls appear heavy to me, as does cantilevered rubble stone- not very natural or organic.

Is it just me? I'd be interested in other opinions about this.

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Post by DRN »

Though I've admired the Price house in general, and Peters' addition in particular, I've always been bothered by the Price terrace. Not the cantilevered gesture, but rather the rendering of it in veneer brick.

Small runs of brick on a lintel over a door or window, or even over a ribbon window like at Johnson Wax are acceptable to the eye, but not sailing out 20' or more into the OK yonder with nothing beneath but some visual toothpicks in an inset ring. The base of the Johnson Wax tower was handled much differently and in my view (for what that's worth) was much more successful: the concrete slab on which the brick bears is expressed at the base of the facade and the soffit beneath.

I understand the Hillside terrace was framed in steel and the brick is just a veneer on the parapet. Why didn't Wright choose a "lighter" material for the parapet such as a copper panels like those at the Price Tower? I suspect the material change where the terrace meets the house would have been visually jarring to him.

My theory is the terrace was originally supposed to be a typical masonry prow, grounding the building to the hill. I wonder if during the design process, the Price's wanted a daylight basement looking out to the valley and pond and the prow evolved into the soaring terrace.

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Post by Wrighter »

Regarding the terrace--this is the story I heard:

Wright wanted a cantilever, soaring out beyond the hill; Prices didn't trust it, insisted on the supports; the old man relented, but insisted on the fountain (perhaps to draw attention from the poles?). I'd like to see it with the fountain in full force in order to fully judge.

Poles aside, the whole composition is easily one of my favorites, especially the entry sequence, first into the foyer with it's slightly sunken garden, and then down the steps into the living room. Magical.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Look at the elevations on page 1. They show the balcony with fountain and a structural system different from what was executed, a sort of truss system underneath, it would appear. As so often is the case, if the client had trusted Wright, the end result would have been a better design. The existence of the balcony is essential to the design. The only questionable thing is the manner in which it was carried out.

Palli Davis Holubar
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Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

Scott Perkins, author of Building Bartlesville, is the Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the Price Tower Arts Center. He is a driving force in the cultural life of the city and the greater FLW educational community. The gallery schedule of exhibitions makes Michael and I wish it was our hometown museum! We have planned our first visit for an upcoming exhibition that we will not miss:
May 28, 2010 - September 19, 2010
Here is the description from the website: Since its inception in 1932, the Taliesin Fellowship has become home, school, and a way of life for hundreds of aspiring architects and designers. Each year, to honor the birthdays of Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife Olgivanna, the Taliesin apprentices presented “box projects� as gifts to their patrons – a collection of sketches, drawings, works of art, music, and handicrafts packaged into a handmade container, which over time became incorporated into the school’s archives. This exhibition will celebrate the creative energy and spirit of the Taliesin Fellowship and illustrate one aspect of an architect’s apprenticeship under Wright, and later his wife, and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Supported by a grant from the "Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts."

It will be a rare opportunity to view and study these objects and gather more understanding about the learning environment of Taliesin. The box "assignment" is a mainstay of design education and the FLW version is particularly important.

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Post by sperkins »

wink to Palli...and Jeff.
Scott W. Perkins
Director of Preservation
PO Box R
1478 Mill Run Road
Mill Run, Pennsylvania 15464
T 724/329.7843
F 724/329.7843

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Post by hypnoraygun »

Wow this place looks amazing.. Sorry this is random, but I was looking for something and found these pictures on here again.. I would love to see this home!

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Post by m.perrino »

Palli - thanks for the info on the box project exhibition. Looks like I will be trying to figure out how to get to Bartlesville ! Was there for two days back in 2007. Also, box projects continue to be a key element of the school.


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Post by Tom »

Always wondered about the poles under the terrace too. Hard to believe Wright would relent to a client, any client, over an issue of major effect like this.

Poles under the Price terrace bear some resemblance to the feel of the Grant and Penfield roofs to me. In those cases there seem to be an uneasy relationship between the roof plane and the tall slender mullions that support the roof. The column support mullions seem to be too spindly like the poles under the Price Terrace. I think I would have expected Wright to put a masonry pier in at some crucial point or to at least give some more weight and or shape to the column/mullions at Grant and Penfield.

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Post by SDR »

I think we've guessed before about that. They -- or some kind of support -- can't possibly have been an afterthought, as nothing in the world, real or
imaginary, would have supported that terrace without help. My guess is that Mr Wright willed the Lally columns (?) away in his mind, as the least he could
get away with -- much like the roof support at Niels, for instance. Yes, that's a concrete roof at Grant, supported on the thinnest mullions imaginable -- at
that time. Where is the photo of the Grant roof slab being supported during construction on dozens or scores of poles ?

We mustn't look for conventional thinking about expressed structure and "reasonable loads" in Wright. Rather, we look for and can expect a heartfelt
attempt at magic -- over and over again, more frequently as the decades pass, in his career ?


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Post by Tom »

On the first page of this thread Jeff Myers posts elevation drawings of this house that R Grant refers to above. M8 states that this house was originally planned in stone not brick, that it was changed to brick when working drawings began. The elevation drawing posted by Jeff shows the house rendered in stone and, as RG indicates, a different structural systen under the long terrace. You can also see in the posted drawing the elevation of that structural system head on from the east. In that view the section through the cantilever appears to be a wide shallow triangle. Magnitudes better than those little skinny posts. What happened?

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Post by Tom »

Wondering if research in the correspondence from Price, if any, might turn something up on this?

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