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Wednesday, January 14. 2009
John Johansen's "Bridge House" in New Canaan, CT, is for sale.
New Canaan is famous for its collection of modern residential architecture. The prosperous town changed from farmland to suburbia during the height of the modernist craze. John Johansen is the only living member of "The Harvard Five," of whom Philip Johnson is probably the best-known.
I like to look at these houses, but would not want to live in them. For life, I prefer rambling, drafty, random, cozy structures with plenty of fireplaces, and which were never really designed, but just kinda grew over time, like Topsy.
They are asking $5 million for this small but striking house. I am told it needs some "repairs." I like it, but I do not want it.
You can read about the Bridge House here.
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Falling Water isn't far from here. Maybe we'll visit this spring.
I would have to know how often the water from that stream rises to house level before I would be interested. And don't try to tell me never.
Rumor hath it that Falling Water is a mold farm, according to past owners... a beautiful mold farm, but a mold farm nonetheless. Suspect that this house is another one.
Why is it that so many architects never trouble themselves to learn the laws of nature. Frank Gehry leaps to mind...
Fallingwater is pretty stunning, but has some rather improbable physical features, like those cantilevered patios that required reinforcement. Didn't Kaufmann call the place "Rising Mildew?"
But it is a wonderful and dramatic place, and as with Taliesen in Scottsdale, you can see little elements that worked their way in to many houses of the 50's - 70's.
Well, the droop of the Fallingwater cantelevers is readily attributable to unauthorized changes to Wright's design by people who didn't trust his engineering. The changes added weight, weakened the beam, and removed the compensation for deflection that Wright had designed in.
I was going to add a comment about Falling Water but then I saw the earlier posts here, and they answered a question my wife and I have had for years about "Frank Lloyd Wrong's" masterpiece, and that's about the mold issue. Since we live in a warm humid climate and constantly have to battle mold, we've long wondered how the owners of FW dealt with the inevitable humidity problem. From the comments, I guess not very well.
Mold and mildew is part of life. Harmless. Who cares?
We live in a world in which entropy rules. Mold is just one part of that.
Mold and mildew is part of life. Harmless. Who cares?
Well, my wife for one: a whif of mold will trigger asthma and all kinds of sinus problems.
I don't like 'modern homes' as a class - too cold, too sterile, not enough rooms. I like my sprawling hundred-year old used to be a farmhouse just fine.
But one or two of them catch my eye and I think 'hmm'.
Marcel Breuer's Hooper House II is one of them. Nice lookin' place.
In Virginia there is a law about mold that real estate agents must abide by or lose their license. If the house they represent for sale has ever had mold of any kind, they must disclose that. I think the basis for disclosure is health, not harm to property.
Doesn't sound harmless to me. I know better anyway, but wanted to point out how seriously some people take it.
Mold, who cares? Well our department of health does. And so the lawyers who sue and win judgments for clients who are made ill by mold. I know of a recently renovated hotel that had to be renovated over again because of mold. Here's a headline from 2003: Hilton Hotels Corp sues 18 companies over mold remediation costs at a Waikiki hotel. The companies sued included contractors, architects, engineers, inspection companies, and a building material supplier. The price tag for the redo: $55 million. In fact, if you've had a serious mold problem in your house, then you probably need to disclose that when you go to sell your home as part of the full disclosure of defects.
Mold is unavoidable as it is everywhere, especially outdoors. There are a few types of mold that are harmful to humans but they are rare. Having too much mold in buildings is caused by moisture problems, like leaks and poor venting.
From Wiki...Molds are ubiquitous in nature, and mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. However, when mold spores are present in large quantities, they can present a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Some molds also produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. Exposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems and in some cases death. Prolonged exposure, e.g. daily workplace exposure, can be particularly harmful. The term toxic mold refers to molds that produce mycotoxins, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, and not to all molds in general.
I think mold is becoming like the the new asbestos for lawyers and contractors, i.e., a potential cash machine. O/T but, ever wonder how many people have died in fires because of asbestos being banned? It is my understanding that there is nothing that is as effective a fire retarder as asbestos. I have read speculation about the World Trade Center and the space shuttle explosions, to name a few famous instances, where asbestos could have made a big difference. The industry was almost completely shut down and much of the asbestos lawsuit money has gone to people who have never been ill. From Wiki..."The American Bar Association states that a growing number of claimants do not, and may never, suffer from asbestos illness. Because of the fear of a running statute of limitations, many people file claims who are not presently ill, but have had X-rays that show changes 'consistent with' asbestos disease.
Eh. We had a house on a stream in the mountains in Tennessee. It was beautiful. Mildewy, yes, every home along the stream was. But I'd take the mildew, given the view and the property.
For mildew nothing will beat the barracks I lived in while stationed in Okinawa.
Every room had a window a/c unit. The common areas - hallways and bathrooms - did not.
The walls outside each air-conditioned room sweated water like a coke can in July. Fungus and algae looking stuff grew thick and furious, coating the passage-way walls down to the floor.
So instead of 'government yellow' we had 'horror show black' The walls were washed at least every week and two days later the stuff was back.