Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Marion Mahony’s Amberg House: a pattern of piers and voids

Marion Mahony Griffin, architect. David M. Amberg House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1909; partial front view; east elevation. Photographs by versluis ©2011.

The horizontal band of art glass and clear glass windows directly under the deep eves help the unify the structural composition and generates a strong sense of Prairie Style architecture. One enters the house via the lower level indicated by the lower left corner in the top photograph. Obviously and unfortunately the clear Plexiglas over the art glass hides the design details (however, the window areas have been “burned-in” as much as possible to give some idea of the window patterns).

Janice Pregliasco describes Marion’s architectural design as a pattern of piers and voids and states in her essay, The Life and Work of Marion Mahony Griffin: “The Amberg house is a perfect example of Marion’s attention to color. Red-brown brick, yellow plaster, brown roof tiles, and verdigris copper surround multicolored tiles inset under the eves that mirror the colored glass of the windows.”[1]

  1. Pregliasco, Janice. “The Prairie School, Design Vision for the Midwest: The Life and Work of Marion Mahony Griffin.” The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 21.2 (1995): 172-73. Print.

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