No Visible Means of Support, part 2 of 4

Changing the typical to achieve the unique

To get the flow of space/ceiling/roof that Schindler achieved, we need to get rid of the header. To do that, we must change the roof framing so it doesn’t need the support of the header (beam) over the door. And to do that, Schindler turned the rafters 90 degrees, so they span from wall to wall.

The turned rafters in the cantilevered section would be floating in air. To support them, beams (in red) are added (Figure 1). The beams extend out (cantilever) beyond the wall below to support the rafters in the cantilevered section. Posts (purple) are added at the corners to help support the weight of the cantilevered beams.

Once the rafters aren’t supported by the wall below (they are supported by the beams and sides walls) this wall can be opened up. A high window (clerestory) can be added-in Schindler’s case this would be a long horizontal window that might extend from corner to corner (Figure 2).

While we are at it, if we extend the cantilever beam all the way back to the rear corner and add another post, the side wall isn’t needed either. We can add another window and clerestory window to the side (Figure 3). This really opens up the corner, an important feature in the Plaster Skin buildings.


With the walls and ceiling turned solid, we have arrived at a prototypical Plaster Skin building (Figure 4). The interior (Figure 5) looks a lot like the McAlmon apartment living room (Figure 6).

Next article: Framing the McAlmon apartment

One thought on “No Visible Means of Support, part 2 of 4”

  1. Excellent drawings…now I'd love you to figure out how to get shear transfer from the roof to walls with all those clerestories (and let me know). SD

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