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Robert & Gloria Berger House

Front terrace next to drive. Hills with other homes in the background.


(excerp below from OWNER BUILT WRIGHT HOUSES:

THE ROBERT BERGER HOUSE, 1950-1973, by Bernard Pyron)


The home’s exterior is made primarily of local stone

and concrete, mixed together in a fashion Wright

dubbed “desert masonry.” A newspaper article at the

time described the following process Robert used to

make the walls of his home:

“The walls are made by use of wooden forms.Thin slices of

Sonoma candy rock, which Berger must split from larger

chunks himself, are faced against both sides of the form. In

the center between the two wooded forms, Berger pours a

mixture of rocks and concrete. The concrete seeps through

the Sonoma stone facing edges and adds to the texture of

the wall.”


The reddish-brown stones of the Berger house were not

laid on top of one another and held by mortar as in

more conventional stonework. Instead, forms were

placed so that a space was left for the width of the wall

and rocks were placed against the forms so that they

would show when the concrete was poured in to hold

them in place. Probably, steel rods were placed at

intervals within the walls and, most likely, the walls

were built in vertical sections, and not created in their

full height at one time. Working with vertical sections,

each of a few feet in height, would have enabled Berger

to more easily select the rocks he wanted to show on

the outside of the finished walls. To achieve the desired effect,

Berger had to cut a lot of rock. This is the system Wright

worked out for the bottom part of the walls of Taliesin West, in Arizona:

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Taken on February 23, 2009