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Steve Schuh

Wright hadn't built anything in the Midwest since before the War, and he was away most of 1918-1920 in Japan (and ocassionally LA), leaving Schindler to manage the office in Wisconsin. Schindler was newly married and also sent time with his well-to-do in-laws who lived just south of Wilmette in Evanston.

I also note this cottage's similarity in form to Wright's modest American System-Built Homes (designed 1915), one of which was built by Thomas E. Sullivan & Co. just 10 blocks away from Irving's lot only the year before (330 Gregory Ave). Sullivan himself lived next door in a house designed by Van Bergen. Do we know if Sullivan had a connection to the Irving houses as well?

So perhaps Schindler secured ths job through Sullivan, then stripped-down one of Wright's exisiting designs to create this plan. One wonders, in any event, how much Wright had to do with it.

John Ritzu

If Prairie Mod has seen a copy of the letter Schindler wrote to Wright dated April 6, 1920, which he says (in the Wright Chat Blog) describes Schindler whipping up house plans for J.B. Irving in Oak Park during the day of April 2nd, which Irving later picked up at 11 PM that night, I believe it's safe to assume that Wright in Tokyo had nothing to do with this house.

Wright in a letter to Schindler, in 1919, frankly stated how he expected Schindler to perform in his absence regarding prospective clients - "Schindler" is keeping my office and work for me in my absence. He has no identity as "Schindler" with clients who want "Wright". ... I really do not know quite what a "Schindler" would look like. You know much better what "a Wright" would look and be like and as the clients came to get it, the natural thing would be it would seem to lay it out as nearly as you can as I would do it and send it here [Tokyo?] for straightening.... Nicht wahr?

If the above describes how Schindler was supposed to perform, when did the Irving house get "straightened" by Wright? It didn't.

As far as the Irving house having any similarity to the American System-Built Houses, I don't see it. I'm looking at plans of the C3, Cottage A & Cottage B-1 (See Frank Lloyd Wright American System Built Homes in Milwaukee by Shirley du Fresne McArthur and some prints published by MOMA). The plan organizations are not at all similar. Does anybody have any other ideas? I have not been able to see a plan of the Monolith Homes. Could the Irving house be a version of the ground floor plan of the Monolith Home plan with a bedroom addition to the side? Is this why the bedroom wing/room had a flat roof?

Did you notice in the cross section drawing above that the "temporary house" has no foundation, but is staked into the ground!
Great job Prairie Mod.

John Ritzu

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