Elements of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ASBH Model A203 design either never made it into the Elizabeth Murphy House, or, perhaps, were lost to reconstruction events sometime during her hundred year history. One missing element: decorative flower box cantilevers shown here in Wright’s drawings:
The details have been missing from the house since perhaps 1939 (the oldest known image), and certainly since the 1950s. It is unclear if they were included in the original construction.
In the drawings, the extended flower box crown is important to the flow of the facade, anchoring the main windows of the living area wall while stretching the edges of the built-in garden. The house looks boxy without it. We studied the drawings to find the geometries and proportions and matched the materials of the existing flower box trim (cedar) to construct new (or replacement) cantilevers.
Here is a before picture:
And an after picture:
The drawings show simple open extensions of the flower box crown with what appeared to be lateral braces. Were these braces meant for hanging baskets? With the project complete and some time to study its effects, we think that Wright’s main objective was to cast traveling angular shadows, lifting the house out and up, mirroring the louvres and art glass motif, and emphasizing, again, light, nature and the horizontal.
5 thoughts on “Unfinished Business – Wright’s Cantilevers”
Enjoying your progress reports. Flower boxes are fabulous. I appreciate Wright’s opinions on foundation plantings. It seems that he favored exposing the line where house meets earth. Have you considered removing the row of shrubs—tall and short—that block that now-beautiful joint? Horizontal would be fabulous with flow across the garage top molding.
A good idea that we’ll one day act on!
Thank you for continuing to doggedly pursue all aspects of the history of the house!