Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Schindler Frame

The Schindler Frame

Balloon Frame construction was developed in the late 1880’s, and was beginning to become the most popular construction method in the United States. Schindler, along with Frank Lloyd Wright, embraced the construction process and its presence was dominant in all of their projects. The Schindler Frame, first written about 1947, eliminated a multitude of structural makeshift details, simplified contemporary home building by cutting all of the wall studs to a standard door height, and in order to achieve a greater height in the space, a multi layer roof assembly was eliminated in favour of a tongue and groove plank which provided a greater span and height, and clerestory windows were incorporated into the design. Basically two-thirds of the frame was the wall assembly, and the remaining third, was the roof. Schindler “set out seven points which lead to qualities of space that are tied to his innovations in conventional wood framing”:
  1. Large opening in walls
  2. Varying ceiling heights
  3. Low horizontal datum
  4. Clerestory Windows
  5. Large overhangs
  6. Interior floor close to exterior ground
  7. Continuity between adjoining space units

However in the Schindler Chace House, the one-third two-third rule only applied in the theoretical composition, not in the actual construction. For example, in the Schindler Frame design, the low horizontal datum would have been 6’-9” high, however in the house it only reaches 6’-3”. The overall height of the house is 8’-8”. The division of the framed window wall are at 12” not at 16”, which would have followed the one-third two-third module.

“Schindler’s exposed frame construction of ribs and lines is the genesis of his system of spatial geometry that he would articulate in about twenty years.”
Kucker 185

In the studios, the 45 inch wide concrete panels were framed with redwood, which further divided the 4 foot module in half with the spacing of roof joists and vertical members. “Paired Beams” allowed for a lower ceiling and suggest divisions within the room. 

“Another L-figure is formed by the comparatively lightweight redwood timber frame of roof and walls completing Schindler’s consistent attention to the relationship of geometry and material assemblies with an end toward modulating space, climate, light and mood.”
Kucker 185

Pauline Schindler Studio. Paired beams are on the top right


Kucker, Patricia. "Framework: Construction and Space in the architecture of Frank Lloyd Write and Rudolf Schindler." The Journal of Architecture Volume 7 Summer 2002. (accessed December 8, 2012)

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