No Visible Means of Support, part 3 of 4

The Schindler system applied

To see how this Plaster Skin framing system 1 was applied, I have made a 3D framing model (Figures 2-5) of our sample building, the McAlmon apartment (Figure 1).

This is my best reconstruction using the scans of the McAlmon construction drawings 2, drawings for other Schindler houses of the period, photographs and my experience with wood framing.

Some things to note

A. Half of the roof is supported by the single post at the corner of the Living Room (Figure 5).

B. The folded plane is a sculptural element, a sun shade for the large windows below and contains (conceals?) a beam that is required to support the step in the roof above it (Figure 6) 3. Schindler often has elements serve multiple purposes.

C. The awkwardly placed post at the back of the terrace (Figure 7) helps to support an extremely long cantilever of the middle plane. It is set at the rear corner of the cantilever to make it less visible. The edge rafter rests on the post, and extends past it to support the front corner of this cantilever. A similar technique is used in the double cantilevers that I discuss in the next, and last, post.

D. For the more detail oriented, Figure 8 shows the sizes of the framing as shown in the construction drawings. “oc” means “on center” or “center to center”. Some interesting things:
.The construction drawings do not have any framing details.
.The size of one beam is not given in the construction drawings.
.The cantilever beams are surprisingly thin and tall (2×14). Schindler pushed these tall beams higher than the roof, up into the parapets, so their bottoms are flush with the bottoms of the roof rafters. This creates a flat, uninterrupted and thin roof plane.

Next: Double cantilevers

Footnotes
1 This Plaster Skin framing system is different from the more well known “Schindler Frame” that Schindler developed and promoted in the mid 1940’s

2 Special thanks to Alexander J. Hauschild, Digital Project Archivist and the Architecture and Design Collection, University Art Museum, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA for generously giving me access to a high resolution image of the floor/framing plans for the McAlmon House and Apartment. This information allowed me to be much more accurate and cleared up many questions.

3 The folded plane, along with the middle plane, also contains lights. A typical Schindler detail, recessed lighting is fit between the rafters. For simplicity, I have not shown or discussed these lights.

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