Fay Jones and his residential clients : communicating through the details

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Poepsel, Brian

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The residential designs of Fay Jones embody the ideals of organic architecture in the highest degree. Working in the tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright, Jones produced a wide range of houses that represent an intensely personal endeavor. Although the chapels and public pavilions designed by Jones are his most famous works, the meticulous construction detailing and elaborate material joints in Jones' houses reward long-term residents, who discover new details and new compositions of light and shadow for years after moving into their homes. The careful working and reworking of details contribute to a unifying generative idea that enforces the part-to-whole relationship of organic building, but it is also an outpouring of Jones' belief that caring is an “imperative moral issue.” It is difficult to occupy a Jones building or study the work without getting swept up in Jones' notion that “[one] must idealize, even romanticize, what [one] is doing.” Through a consideration of clients' relationships with Fay Jones and the spaces they occupy, this study reflects on Jones' hope that “perhaps the inhabitants can be more comfortably and more meaningfully integrated into the natural forces of life.” Jones' thoughts about architecture, recorded in his journals and lecture notes, reinforce the accounts of key, residential clients who benefited from Jones' earnestness about building and living. The carefully arranged joint details of Jones' designs form a physical representation of the close relationships of Jones, his clients, and the craftsmen who built the work.




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