William S. and John T. Spaulding commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright
in 1916 to design a room to store and display their incredible collection of Japanese prints. Assembled over many years, it consisted of over 6000 prints, all of the absolute highest quality and rarity. It was a collection that Wright was intimately familiar with. When Wright went to Japan in the first half of the 1910s, he acted as a buyer for the
One possible location was at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In 1921 the brothers donated their entire collection to the museum, where it remains to this day.
All of the Japanese prints in these renderings are actually from the Spaulding Collection, and many of them additionally belonged to Frank Lloyd Wright himself at one point.
To carry out this work, I have been fortunate to collaborate with Chad Solon. Chad became fascinated with Frank Lloyd Wright during an internship where he had the opportunity to work on the Burton Westcott House in Springfield, Ohio. He enjoys digitally recreating lost and unbuilt works of architecture and hopes to someday to complete his recreation of Wright’s Midway Gardens. In addition to historic buildings, he enjoys writing about art history. He lives in Northeast Ohio, where he works in retail design.
In terms of how we work, Chad created the three-dimensional model of the Spaulding room in Sketchup, including the prints. Once that was finished, I imported it into 3dsMAX, where I added furniture, lights, textures, and cameras. However, this was a true collaboration as we have both participated in all phases of the project and discussed every little detail.
Making this model has not been easy. Only design drawings exist, and there are no working drawings calling out dimensions and materials. Additionally, not all of the drawings match each other, revealing inconsistencies. We frequently faced the question: What would Wright have done in this case? It is impossible to know, therefore, this work is an interpretation of what could have been
A detail frequently discussed among all the people who have participated in this project has been the material to use in the sloping boards of the room: Wood, fabric, or plaster? When observing Wright’s drawings it is difficult to guess and that is why we have decided to explore two options: One in which the display boards are made of wood, and another in which they are covered in cloth. Both options can be seen here and here.
We have also added interactive 360º images. These types of images are very useful to get closer to the real experience of visiting an architectural work.
To make this project, we have used Sketchup, 3dsMax, Vray, and Photoshop.
In addition to Chad and me, the support and effort of other people have also been fundamental: Roderick Grant, Stephen Ritchings, J Michael Desmond, Skip Boling and the always indispensable support of the enthusiastic community that frequents the chat room at Savewright.org Thanks to all of them for their selfless support