Monday, January 30, 2012
Why Didn't Regulating Lines Get Passed Down? (#3 in a series)
It has been suggested the change came when architects took over the design process from builders. Well, maybe. I just don’t think it’s that simple.
In Europe, during the Middle Ages, the understanding of how to use geometry was passed down through the guild apprenticeship system, specifically the masons’ guilds, the men who were the master builders of the medieval cathedrals, forts and castles.The title ‘architect’ was used in the late 1500’s, but often as metaphor. The OED cites its use as a synonym for God, “The work some praise, And some the Architect”. 1667, Milton, Paradise Lost. Only gradually is the word specifically associated with the task of designing rather than building a structure.
Consider this chain of command:
John Mylne (d.1657) was the Master Mason to the Crown of Scotland.
His son, John Mylne (1611-1667) and then his nephew, Robert Mylne (1630-1710), succeeded him. All were members of the masons’ guild.
Sir William Bruce of Scotland (c.1630-1710) is considered the ‘architect’ who brought Palladian ideas to Scotland. He was Surveyor General of the King’s Works. Was this a title created for him because he had lived and traveled abroad, had a great library but did not draw? Robert Mylne was one of the people who drew for him. Mylne also supervised the construction. And he, a mason, would most likely have been using the geometry passed down through the guild.
James Smith (1647-1731), succeeded Bruce as Surveyor General. He had traveled abroad, studied in Rome, but was trained by Mylne.
He in turn trained William Adam (1689-1748). Both were admitted to the local masonic guild. These men began to be referred to as ‘architects’: Colen Campbell (1676-1729) in his Vitruvius Britannicus calls Smith "the most experienced architect of that kingdom".
William Adam trained his sons, John Adam 1721-1792), Robert Adam (1728-1792), and James Adam (1732-1794) as masons.
Robert and John Adam are the men after whom the Adam Style (often called Federal in New England) is named. Robert was truly an ‘architect.’ He designed and drew, someone else executed.They traveled abroad. Most of them read Latin. But at least through the Adam brothers the knowledge of design and construction was rooted in the masons' knowledge, in regulating lines.
An aside: Scottish history during this time is full of political intrigue ( Queen Mary of Scots, King Charles, etc.) which influences who gets to design and build which buildings. For more information try Scottish Architecture, Glendinning and MacKechnie Thames & Hudson,Ltd., London, 2004. They are excellent historians and writers.
1950's vernacular Usonian
The highly respected instructor at the local vo-tec built this house for his family in the 1950's. Compact, with built-in furniture which dictated the use of every room, it felt much like the Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian houses I had visited.
Friday, January 27, 2012
North Bennington Walking Tour, 50 - 54, 46
Folk Victorian, circa 1872
Thursday, January 26, 2012
New garage in the same place
The topography required us to build in the same sandy location as the existing tiny, structurally unsound, stone garage. The garage needed to be, like the original, useful and incidental.
The original caretaker's cottage (just out of view on the left) overlooked the garage, so a low pitched hip roof was chosen as less intrusive than the original gable.
The whole property received a local Historic Preservation Award.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
North Bennington Walking Tour, 43 - 49
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
North Bennington Walking Tour, 43- 2
#44 – Sam C. Loomis House, Federal, c. 1830. This house is hidden by its siding – its graceful front entrance, corner pilasters, and fanlight in the gable still peek through. It is smaller, only 2 windows wide, less imposing than its neighbors down the street (#2, 25, 26).
#26 - Hiland Knapp House, c. 1825. The curving bands – guilloche – at the eaves and at the entrance, slender ionic columns, a subtle brick pattern, dressed marble lintels and sills are graceful and sophisticated. The style, Federal, was inspired by the Adams Brothers, popular English architects at the time.
#25 - B. Hammond House: Federal, c. 1825, is the reverse image of the Welling House (#2). In 1856, there was no roof over the front porch.
#2 –The Welling House end the Green Tour. Its Italianate side porch to the north once circled the house.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
North Bennington Walking Tour, 37 - 42a
The Colvin family farmed the land on this road. They also owned mills.
#37 - Sidney Colvin House, 1855. This house was set back from the road to create a setting, much as was the Robinson House on Prospect Street. Popular authors at the time recommended withdrawing one’s
house from the road to reinforce the Jeffersonian ideal of each family being self-sufficient
#38 - Charles Colvin House – Wood could be planed by steam powered machinery in 1835. Wide smooth boards were easy to mill, and readily available. These columns and frieze boards are the result. This house sits close to the street, urban compared to #37.
#39 - built by E. Safford. These cottages (with a central unit and side wing) have corners that look like colum
#40 - Originally this was a single family house, built c.1820, with simple trim, no frills, and a center entrance. It is larger than the simple mill houses on West and Sage St. The porch is later.
#41 – G. Robertson House, The Greek Revival house once boasted a frieze and corner pilasters, now hidden by vinyl siding. The Italianate porch is later.
#42 – Elwell House, 1851, Italianate, is very similar in shape and detail to the PL Robinson House on Prospect Street. However, it is not set back but sits directly on the street. One looks up at it and the feeling quite different. Its shape is similar to #41, , but its trim is light and airy, not solid.
#43 - Once the barn for the Elwell House, this building was moved in 1917-18 and remodeled to become a Masonic Temple. Note the similar verge boards at the eaves. Barns have cupolas (the tower at the top) to vent the hay stored inside, because hay heats up and can easily catch fire.
Behind that was a carpenter shop.
SB Loomis owned the hotel. He lived next door and also owned, with WE Hawkes, one of the stores in Lincoln Square.
housekeeping: measuring and regulating lines
Thursday, January 12, 2012
North Bennington Walking Tour, 31- 36
#32 – W.J.Toombs House. The gable of this Greek Revival house
33 – Known as “the Lodge” because it served as a guest house for the Parks and McCulloughs whose 1864 mansion is across the street. Now a school with many wings and alterations, the original house, built by Martin B. Scott, is in the middle.
Take a walk through the Historic Park-McCullough House grounds. Visit the ‘Big House’ and see what Trenor and Laura Hall Park built in 1864 in their village with money from the California gold rush.
The Hall – Park - McCullough family was a generous contributor to the betterment of the village. Hiland Hall and John McCullough served as governors of Vermont.
The Hiland Hall farmhouse is beyond the Big House.
Church St was not here in 1856. This was Hall and Colvin farm land.
The North Bennington Graded School was built in with the help of Hiland Hall and Trenor Park.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Luykas Van Alen House, 1737, Kinderhook, NY, Part 1 of 4
Sunday, January 8, 2012
North Bennington, Vermont, Walking Tour, # 26 -30