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White Pine, Vol. 4

White Pine, Vol. 4

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Excerpt from White Pine, Vol. 4: Series of Architectural Monographs, a White Pine House for the Vacation Season

The solutions, taken as a whole, indicate an almost painful absence of direct, synthetic, logical thought. The competitors showed a disposition to evade the main issues and stress things non-essential; they overtaxed their fingers and under-exerted their brains; in general, they failed in honesty. Nevertheless, out of so many solutions, it was possible to select a sufficient number to justify the White Pine Bureau in its admirable effort.

As in all such competitions, there was a wide diversity of conceptions and style, and the committee endeavored to show such catholicity of taste as should do justice to these divergent views. 11 was forced to exclude some sincere and thoughtful efforts on account of a perhaps small but significant indication of a blind spot in the brain, as it was also forced to admit certain others in spite of evident obliquities of intellectual vision. The judges persisted at their task until all were in substantial agreement, their only serious differences of opinion being the result of a difference of point of view as to what particular aspect of the whole matter should be emphasized.

The First Prize of $750 was awarded to Design No. 161, by Richard M. Powers, with full knowledge that the decision would, perhaps, be criticized as having been swayed by the really wonderful adroitness and aesthetic feeling manifest in the rendering. The judges feel, however, that their collective conscience is clear of this charge, because, while the rendering is undeniably beautiful, it is also undeniably true. The house itself is simple, direct and logical. It has an unmistakable wood character, it occupies its point of land as though it had a right there. Moreover, it is clear from the plan and from the scale elevations that the other views would be quite as satisfactory as the particular one chosen, a thing which can be said of very few of the designs submitted. The author has shown an indifference, almost amounting to perversity, for certain economical considerations with regard to the number and construction of the chimneys, and this almost lost him his chance of a prize. His effort to get fireplaces in every bedroom, a thing not called for, expected, or even desired, has led him into structural complications of a wholly unnecessary kind; the judges took the view that in actual execution adjustments and eliminations could be made which would leave the general conception intact. This solution exhibits a high order of ability in planning, designing and rendering. The presentation calls for the very highest commendation. It is rare that artistic skill of such a quality is combined with such practical good sense as is shown by the floor plans. Most of the practical solutions were painfully deficient in any sense of purely aesthetic values, while the "snappy" drawings too often served only as cloaks for flagrant architectural sins.

The Second Prize of $400 was awarded to Design No. 132, by Otto Faelten and Donald Robb. This design composes charmingly and fits the site to admiration. It has just the right character, being neither too rustic nor too formal to comply with the conditions in this respect. The plan is excellent, although it is of a type which would lend itself more naturally to a programme less restricted in the matter of expenditure. Compressed within the limits of the cubage called for, it is too contracted, particularly in its service part. The absorption of the authors in the purely aesthetic aspect of the problem has led them to sacrifice practicality and sound construction here and there. The end gable of the main roof has no sufficient support; the floors of the open sleeping porches coming over the dining room and living room are bad, as is the flat roof on the long dormer. These are matters of which the artistic temperament is always highly impatient, but they are .
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