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Wright Studies

OPUS 497 "GLASS HOUSE" (1944-1945)

 
  Overview    Ladies Home Journal - June 1945    Tomorrow's Small House Exhibition    Pencil Points - September 1945 
 
Overview
     
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1944-1945 for the "Ladies Home Journal", the Opus 497 "Glass House" Model and Plan was published in the June 1945 issue. At first glance this image looks like a detail of Broadacre City, but upon further study, it was discovered to be a detail of the model built for the Ladies Home Journal in 1945. In January 1944, the LHJ began publishing new house designs by the country’s outstanding architects, "houses that point the way to better, less expensive living after the war". This caught the attention of the Department of Architecture and Industrial Design at the Museum of Modern Art. Seven of the models created for the LHJ, were the focus for the exhibition "Tomorrow’s Small House: Models and Plans" held at MOMA from May 29 - September 30, 1945. Also included in the exhibition was a model of a row-house and a neighborhood development. Originally created to enable color photographs to be taken of the models for the magazine, the models were so complete and detailed they made excellent displays.
       A prominent feature of this home was the large 30' x 30' Living Room, or "Garden Room" as Wright called it. Set at a 45
  degree angle to the rest of the home, it encompassed the Living Room, Dining Room and Fireplace. Central to the Living Room was the indoor garden which extended down a hall way toward the Entrance. It was lit from above by a series of skylights. A portion of the Living Room ceiling was also raised, allowing clerestory windows to add additional light to the indoor garden. The Bedroom wing, set at a 45 degree angle off the Living Room included the Kitchen and Utility Room, Bathroom, two Bedrooms and at the far end, the Master Bedroom. A full set of working plans were prepared, and according to Pfeiffer, the Journal completed the model.
       Opus: Any artistic work, especially one on a large scale. Wright's estimate as to the number of projects he had created to that point.
       In 1942 Lowell Walter (1945 - S.284) contacted Frank Lloyd Wright. The design was completed in 1945 utilizing the original Opus 497 concept. Construction began in 1948 and the Walter Residence was completed in 1950.
     
     
     
Ladies Home Journal - June 1945
     
Opus 497... The world's most distinguished architect designs a crystal house, for town and country, which can have far-reaching effects on future living for all of us. Four basic materials combined with brilliant designing, make this exhilarating house so substantial that it will last forever.
       Excerpts published in the Ladies Home Journal:
       Frank Lloyd Wright. For more than half a century Frank Lloyd Wright has been performing feats of architecture noted for their freshness and originality, and his influence on building all over the world has hardly been equaled by any architect of our time. All this would have been sufficient reason for us to be pleased to publish his most recent house design, Opus 497, done especially for the Journal, and in our opinion one of his finest...
       By Richard Pratt: This house foretells the future with considerably more than the clarity of crystal. For its prophecy, which you can take as literally as you like, speaks in terms of
  materials that are the last word in reality. The glass, metal, concrete and brick which its famous architect has indicated for its construction and not only available anywhere, at any normal time, and are basically inexpensive, but, as Wright remarks, "they make the house fireproof, vermin proof, and pretty near foolproof." However, it is Wright's manipulation of these four simple accessible materials which gives his house the special kind of livability that carries it way beyond every day comfort and convenience... I dwell on the materials because this house is a lesson in materials, given by a master...
       Journal Houses on Exhibition. ...Last winter our houses were exhibited in picture panels both at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. And this summer the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is putting on a special exhibition, from May to October, of the actual scale models that you have seen photographed in the magazine...
     

Courtesy of the "Ladies Home Journal", June 1945, page 138-139.

     

  Accent of Living. By Henrietta Murdock. The intriguing room... is the everyday family room of our latest postwar house... floor-to-ceiling windows, with the drama of all outdoors for a background.
     This new kind of room has been made to fit the family and its everyday family activities, so you can play, read, eat, talk and study all in the same big area. ...the architect has suggested furniture that can be moved easily and assembled in spots about the room as needed for any particular purpose.
       An indoor garden such as you see in the picture is every woman's dream. Think of having spring shrubs, fragrant herbs and seasonal flowers growing right inside, filling the room with their odor the year around...
       Mr. Wright has planned many of America's most distinguished modern houses, each forward-looking but practical. In this one you will find many advanced ideas of the kind we grow into and appreciate later on...
      
Excerpts published in the Ladies Home Journal:
Courtesy of the "Ladies Home Journal", June 1945, page 141.
     
The Garden room is divided into living and dining sections by an indoor garden: living on the right, focused on the fireplace: dining on the left, opening onto the terrace.
 
Four basic materials combined with brilliant designing, make this exhilarating house so substantial that it will last forever.
 
Detail of the Garden Room. Dining Room is on the left, Living room and Fireplace are on the right.
 
The room gives you a preview of the kind of interior you will be seeing more of in the future. Casual, efficient, modern as your new car, it fits the family, accommodates itself to home activities and occupations. Notice the dropped fireplace, the indoor garden and the clear spectrum colors used in the scheme.
Pictured is the dining end of the big modern room. Glass doors open onto the terrace for summer dining. As with the entire room, the emphasis is on function and comfort rather than on decoration.
 

Pages, text and images are courtesy of the "Ladies Home Journal", June 1945, pages 138-139, 141.

 
 
 
Tomorrow's Small House Exhibition MOMA (1945)
     
Opus 497 "Glass House" Model. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1944-45 for the "Ladies Home Journal", the Opus 497 "Glass House" Model and Plan was published in the June 1945 issue. At first glance this image looks like a detail of Broadacre City, but upon further study, it was discovered to be a detail of the model built for the Ladies Home Journal in 1945. In January 1944, the LHJ began publishing new house designs by the country’s outstanding architects, "houses that point the way to better, less expensive living after the war". This caught the attention of the Department   of Architecture and Industrial Design at the Museum of Modern Art. Seven of the models created for the LHJ, were the focus for the exhibition "Tomorrow’s Small House: Models and Plans" held at MOMA from May 29 - September 30, 1945. Also included in the exhibition was a model of a row-house and a neighborhood development. Originally created to enable color photographs to be taken of the models for the magazine, the models were so complete and detailed they made excellent displays. Detail of the entrance to the Opus 497 Model.
     
Caption pasted to verso: Detail: Wright House. Overhang at the entrance to the house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, would protect persons to and from car in driveway.
 
Detail from floor plan showing entrance. Floor plan courtesy of the "Ladies Home Journal".
 
Date: 1946

Title: Tomorrow’s Small House. Models and Plans. (Soft Cover) (Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Bulletin of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Vol. XII, No. 5, Summer 1945.)

Author: MOMA; Curator: Mock, Elizabeth B.

Description: Exhibition at MOMA, New York, May 28 - September 30, 1945. "These models were not originally made for display, but as means of achieving the persuasive color photographs which have been appearing in the pages of the Journal since January, 1944... The Museum served as consultant in preparing for presentation those models which it chose for exhibition..." Chapter VIII. "Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright. A house with the audacity of a comet. The masterful hand of the architect is evident in the freely manipulated space and vigorous, imaginative use of brick and concrete, steel and glass... Includes one photograph and the floor plan, both published in the Ladies Home Journal, June 1945. Model by Raymond Barger (exterior), Devon Dennett (interior). (First Edition)

Size: 7.25 x 9.25

Pages: Pp 20

S#: 0624.03.1015

   
   
   
Pencil Points - September 1945
     
Houses for the People. By Kenneth Reid
       ...The presentation of the designs in the Journal showed plans and photographs, in color and black and white, of extraordinary well-made scale models which skillfully simulated the actual houses that might one day be built. The effect was tremendously realistic and convincing... The housed were good enough to attract the attention of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and arrangements were made to exhibit eight or ten of the models in the Museum from May 29 to September 30. Thousands of people have already seen the show there and
  have undoubtedly had their thinking influenced. The average attendance at the Museum up to July 4 was 1,550 persons a day, and the largest attendance for a single day occurred on the holiday of May 30 when 3,551 persons crowded into the exhibit...
       The reaction to the models are very similar to those reflected in the letters received by the Journal... They inquire about such things as cost, maintenance... and about the presents of insects in association with such interiors features as the planting area inside the living space of the house by Frank Lloyd Wright...
       Excerpts published in Pencil Points, September 1945.
     

Courtesy of "Pencil Points", September 1945.

 
Floor plan courtesy of "Pencil Points", September 1945.
 
Detail of floor plan courtesy of "Pencil Points", September 1945.
 
 
 
 
     
     
     

Text by Douglas M. Steiner, Copyright 2012.

     
Additional Wright Studies
 
Adelman (S.344)    Banff National Park Pavilion (S.170)    Bitter Root Inn (S.145)    Blair Residence (S.351)    Blumberg Residence (Project) 
 
Boomer Residence (1953 - S.361)    Brandes Residence (S.350)    Browne's Bookstore (S.141)    Como Orchard Summer Colony (S.144)  
 
Cooke Residence (1953)    Copper Weed Urn & Weed Holder   
Disappearing City (1932)    Elam Residence (S.336)    "Eve of St. Agnes" (1896)  
 
Feiman Residence (S.371)    Frank L. Smith Bank (S.111)    Gordon Residence (S.419)   
Griggs Residence (S.290)    Hartford Resort (Project 1948) 
  Heller Residence (S.038)   
Henderson Residence (S.057)   
Hoffman Showroom (S.380)    Horner Residence (S.142)    "House Beautiful" 1896-98  
  Husser Residence (S.046)    Imperial Hotel (S.194) Silverware and Monogram    Japanese Print Stand (1908)    Kalil Residence (S.387)  
 
Lake Geneva Hotel (S.171)
   Lamp Cottage, Rocky Roost (S.021)    Lockridge Medical Clinic (S.425)    Lykes Residence (S.433)  
 
Marden Residence (S.357)    March Balloons    Midway Gardens (S.180)    Midway Gardens Dish (S.180)    Nakoma Clubhouse  
 
Nakoma Furniture    Opus 497    Pebbles & Balch Remodel (S.131)    Pilgrim Congregational Church (S.431) 
Loren B. Pope (S.268) 
  
Roloson Rowhouse (S.026)    Shavin Residence (S.339)    Sixty Years Exhibition 1951-56    J. L. Smith Residence (1955)    Steffens Residence (S.153)  
  Stohr Arcade (S.162)    Stromquiest Residence (S.429)    Sutton Residence (S.106)    Teater Studio (S.352)    Thurber Art Galleries (S.154)  
  Tracy Residence (S.389)    Trier Residence (S.398)    Usonian Automatic Homes    Williams (Way & Williams) (S.033)  
 
Wyoming Valley School (S.401)   
Zimmerman Residence, (S.333) 
 
Frank Lloyd Wright's First Published Article (1898)
 
Photographic Chronology of Frank Lloyd Wright Portraits
 
"Frank Lloyd Wright's Nakoma Clubhouse & Sculptures." A comprehensive study of Wright’s Nakoma Clubhouse and the Nakoma and Nakomis Sculptures. Now Available. Limited Edition. More information.

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