Clarifying Clerestories

31 Jan

Did you ever notice the unusual “clerestory” screens covering the windows in the Weltzheimer-Johnson (W-J) House? We are proud of our Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home, but this feature has always seemed out-of-place.

Perforated wood clerestory window screen
currently on the W-J House
In fact the current clerestory screens are not specified in the original Frank Lloyd Wright plans; they were designed by the Taliesin apprentice supervising construction, Ted Bower, in consultation with the Weltzheimers. Presumably this alternate design was approved by FLWright, but to even the untrained eye its aesthetic differs noticeably from the rest of the house.
Now visitors can envision the W-J House with the original Usonian screens. Thanks to Michael Holubar (Preparator, Allen Memorial Art Museum and experienced in Frank Lloyd Wright restoration and reproduction), the FLWright’s design has come to life. Michael fabricated a full-size replica of the original perforated clerestory screens; the replica is backlit and on display in the House workshop.

Taliesin design now featured as interior light screen

The original screens delineated a geometric and directional motif which would have drawn the eye around the upper circumference and down the length of the house. With Michael’s replica in place W-J House we can envision the different effect of the original screens.

Fresh new hassocks
In February three newly constructed hassocks will join the others at
the House. Freshman David Field spent his Winter Term researching
FLWright hassock designs and then building three in the Art Department
woodshop. Special thanks to Ed Fuquay, Art Department Woodshop
Technician, for assisting David.

Come visit!
The W-J House offers “Conversational Tours” the 1st & 3rd Sundays every month, 12:00-5:00 PM

This year we are also open last Saturdays. The monthly “Focus Saturdays” will feature conversational tours emphasizing a specific topic (such as decorative arts, landscape design, etc.). Watch for each month’s topic in the Oberlin college on-line calendar.

Oberlin College students are admitted free Others are $5/person.

Palli Davis Holubar
W-J House: 775-5999

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Posted by on January 31, 2008 in Uncategorized


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