Friday, February 3, 2012

Clusters' Last Stand

Fuermann & Sons photo of pier cluster "B," 1907.

 Work on the many built-in bookcases that occupy the pier clusters in the Martin House - those groups of four brick piers that Frank Lloyd Wright designed to support the structure and define the "tartan grid" of the plan - continues apace.  Steve Oubre, master cabinetmaker for the Martin House Restoration Corporation, is the craftsman-in-residence at the house, working on completing built-in cabinetry in pier clusters B, D, E and F.  The installation of Oubre's reproduction cabinetry requires precision, sensitivity to the historic context, and not a little patience.  Fortunately, Steve has all these qualities to spare.

Whereas all indications are that the pier cluster storage held the Martins' extensive collection of books a century ago, today, some of them incorporate communications and security equipment, audio-visual equipment (including two flat-screen monitors for interpretive video programs) and storage for collections-related supplies such as the piano cover.  When complete, a few strategic locations will be shown with books on display, to demonstrate the original function of the units and restore the bookish ambiance of the house, circa 1907.

Mr. Oubre, demonstrating some of his handiwork.

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