06 December 2005

Wasson Residence -- model

A decidedly modern development of the ideas suggested by the sketched "Summer Residence". Here the symmetry of the house design is dramatically emphasized by the diagonal axis which here divides the massive masonry chimney and runs out at a 45 degree diagonal through the corner picture windows out across the terrace and into the distance. The corner of the terrace with low built-in planters wrapping it juts out like the prow of a ship cutting through the stone cliff.

This model for the proposed residence was exhibited publically and described as a magestic site over-looking the Mississippi River. The newspaper account of the exhibit waxed poetic about the integration of the house and the landscape. Perhaps viewing the model first-hand rather than as depicted in this photograph, taken directly on the axis of symmetry, gave the house design a more natural, picturesque aspect. I see primarily the combined influence of Frank Lloyd Wright (geometry, axiality, and glazing) and the Beaux Arts (rigid symmetry, monumentality, and formality.

Photograph of model courtesy of the Harris Armstrong Archives, Special Collections, Washington University in Saint Louis.

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