Building A Frank Lloyd Wright House- 6th Post In A Series
One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature applications in many homes was the Cherokee red dyed concrete floor. This house was no exception. Many people have no idea how complex a concrete floor can be. In this case the entire footprint was a compacted fill material. On top of that was poured the first slab, a four inch working floor. Then when the interior had been completed aluminum strips were attached with “L” brackets to the working pad. A black elastomeric rubber seal was rolled on then metal lattice was applied over that. Brass expansion joints were affixed to the top of these aluminum strips. There were two options available for the dyed concrete, (1) an integral mix with the dye mixed in the concrete coming from the cement truck, and (2) a “dust on” application where the cement is poured and the dye is troweled into the top two or so inches of concrete. We elected to do the latter for more control and the fact that this process would give us a brighter finnish. After the dye was worked in and the cement dried, a wax was applied to the floor. The brass expansion strips provided a pleasant sectioning appearance to the floor and were necessary to accommodate the earthquake prone area of the Big Island. The house withstood during construction several earthquakes measuring over 5 on the Richter scale ,and after it was completed, a 6.9 shake. No damage was incurred.
You can see in this photo the concrete floor bordering the area rugs. This is the view from the dining alcove across the living room, which Wright referred to as the Great Room, to the alcove, 90 feet away at the far end. The polished concrete extended to the exterior to form a walkway. This picture also gives you a way to see that no posts were used to hold up the second floor. Rods suspended from the roof beams were incorporated to accomplish this. The effect is to make the outside feel like it is closer to the inside. The front of the house is glass covering two floors. There are a series of ten foot double doors and transom windows above the doors which could be opened with the old school house transom rod.