University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Batt, James R. (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 20, Number 2 [3] (Summer 1974)

Perrin, Richard W. E.
Wisconsin's stovewood architecture,   pp. 2-8

Page 2

This stovewood barn near Lena in Oconto County was built   would normally
be fieldstone masonry. The building was torn
around 1880. In addition to the stovewood wing, the founda- down in 1957.
tion of the main barn was also stovewood-an element which
Wisconsins Stovewood Architecture
                                       By Richard W. E. Perrin
  A frequently employed expres-
sion in German technical literature
defining the ultimate degree of ar-
chitectural fulfillment is the idiom
werkgerecht. "Integrity of work-
manship" is probably its closest
English equivalent, implying not
only correctly applied manual
skills but, more importantly, a
deep, intrinsically sensitive feeling
for the nature of materials-their
potentials as well as their limita-
tions-the result of which Frank
Lloyd Wright, among others,
chose to call "organic" architec-
ture. In one of his characteristic
pronouncements he asserted that
"there can be no organic architec-
ture where the nature of materials
is either ignored or misunder-
stood. How can there be? Perfect
correlation, integration, is life. It
is the first principle of any growth
that the thing grown be no mere
aggregation. Integration means
that no part of anything is of any
great value in itself except as it be
integrate part of the harmonious
  Perhaps because of its age-old
association with human shelter-
the forest, the trees it yields, and
the way in which they have been
put to use-timber construction
can easily be ranked at the fore-
front of buildings most readily
identifiable as being organic.
  In one of his many definitive
and really monumental studies the
German architect, educator, and
historian, Hermann Phleps (1877-
1964) emphasizes the fact that in
log and solid timber construction
its builders, historically and tra-
ditionally, have established indig-
enous, organic systems, perhaps
without any conscious awareness
of the subleties of their work and
purely as a natural act arising out
of simple necessity. Solid log and
hewn timber construction, fanning
out from its northernmost Scandi-
navian reaches, forms a chain that
extends south as far as Switzer-
land, west into Germany, and east
into Russia and the Balkan lands.
While climate, life-styles, and re-
lated cultural and economic con-
ditions may have varied substan-
tially, there is, nevertheless, a
perceptible, unifying thread run-
ning through all of this work
which seems to suggest a self-
regulating system that, first of all,

Go up to Top of Page