Armstrong’s 1941 design for the Graham Residence is architecturally striking in its variety of formal references, contrasting materials and attention to craftsmanship. The home’s overall simplicity in form and massing, especially when viewed from a distance, contrasts with a masterful attention to detail, manipulation of shade & shadow and use of natural materials. Textures, colors and forms interweave creating a natural palette with the intricacies of an ancient masonry structure almost on the verge of being overtaken by vegetation. The house is an Armstrong masterpiece epitomizing his ideas on creating a modern vernacular appropriate to Missouri’s climate and culture.
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View of entrance from southeast.
|Armstrong's interior perspective.|
The main body of the house is regular and rectangular with shallowly pitched overhanging roofs. The lines emphasize the horizontal reflecting and reinforcing the dominance of the surrounding prairie. The structure extends to the east and west with its main elevations facing toward the south (addressing the road) and the north (overlooking the Missouri River). The composition is strongly horizontal and solidly anchored in the landscape. The site offers the benefits of bluffs high above the river which overlook the low-lying areas of the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri in the distance.
|South elevation facing Jamestown Road.|
|Carefully composed entrance below organic canopy.|
In Armstrong’s design, the roof and the overall house massing is emphatically horizontal and expansive. The most pronounced aspects of the fenestration are long bands of glazing. These horizontal bands wrap the corners offering the house a floating open aspect that functions from the interior as well as the exterior.
|Floor plan as published in the 1940s.|
|Dr. and Mrs. Graham at their home.|
|Dr. Evarts Graham as depicted in LIFE magazine.|
|Armstrong's award-winning Shanley Building of 1935.|
|Interior view looking north toward the Missouri River.|
|North elevation overlooks Missouri River.|
The design of the open framed pavilion beyond the screened porch at the east offers a dynamic outward thrust with commanding views of the landscape to the north, south and east. The photograph of Dr. Graham with his accomplished wife, Helen Tredway Graham, is touching in the way it shows the two of them ensconced by the timber wood pavilion framing them in the natural landscape. They were each major forces in the development of 20th century medical research and health advocacy.
|Evarts Ambrose Graham and Helen Tredway Graham.|