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Houses We Love: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Millard House (La Miniatura)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Millard House (La Miniatura)

( Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times )

By Sean Mitchell

By Sean Mitchell<br /><br /><br /><br />
Frank Lloyd Wright's alluring Alice Millard house, also known as La Miniatura, rises like a Mayan temple from a tree-canopied hillside on Rosemont Avenue in Pasadena. The 1923  Millard house may be less known to the general public than Wright's other three "textile-block" homes in the region -- Ennis, Freeman and Storer -- but some architectural historians regard Millard as the finest. So does Eric Lloyd Wright, the architect's grandson and a longtime Southern California architect who explained the leading reason for critics' enthusiasm: "The way he set the house in that glen," he said. Frank Lloyd Wright called for the house to rise above a ravine between two eucalyptus trees, which are still there, forming a cathedral more than 100 feet high over a lily pond.

The Alice Millard house was Frank Lloyd Wright's first "textile-block" house, the term for the architect's way of stacking decorative concrete blocks that were knitted together like fabric. In the three textile-block houses that followed Millard's, Wright used steel threads of rebar, which, before the invention of epoxy coating, rusted and degraded the concrete. The lack of rebar in the Millard house has been a blessing, as the blocks have fared better since construction in 1923.

That classic Frank Lloyd Wright move -- the low ceiling -- leads from the entry to the airy living room. A blending of traditions can be seen in the way the concrete blocks are juxtaposed with the finely detailed redwood ceiling, doors and windows. Wright arranged the perforations in the blocks to create a concrete shell that feels lighter than it actually is.

The view of the room from the other side of those glass doors. The blocks above the doors have panes of glass sandwiched in the middle of the patterned concrete, so dappled light passes through in ever-shifting patterns and intensities.

... the living room's play of light and shadow.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s alluring Alice Millard house, also known as La Miniatura, rises like a Mayan temple from a tree-canopied hillside on Rosemont Avenue in Pasadena. The 1923 Millard house may be less known to the general public than Wright’s other three “textile-block” homes in the region — Ennis, Freeman and Storer — but some architectural historians regard Millard as the finest. So does Eric Lloyd Wright, the architect’s grandson and a longtime Southern California architect who explained the leading reason for critics’ enthusiasm: “The way he set the house in that glen,” he said. Frank Lloyd Wright called for the house to rise above a ravine between two eucalyptus trees, which are still there, forming a cathedral more than 100 feet high over a lily pond.

The Alice Millard house was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first “textile-block” house, the term for the architect’s way of stacking decorative concrete blocks that were knitted together like fabric. In the three textile-block houses that followed Millard’s, Wright used steel threads of rebar, which, before the invention of epoxy coating, rusted and degraded the concrete. The lack of rebar in the Millard house has been a blessing, as the blocks have fared better since construction in 1923.

 

 

 

via Landmark houses: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Millard House (La Miniatura) – latimes.com.

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