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Atkinson Residence, Auburn AL, 1940


 

"Professor T.P. Atkinson of the [Alabama Polytechnic Institute] University's Foreign Languages Department commissioned the young Rudolph, aged 22, for an improvement on his property in a leafy residential neighborhood corner lot. The house was a one-story brick building incorporating some, then unheard of, technical innovations such as central heating, corner windows and a copper standing seam roof.

[The house is] highlighted by the one major item on the interior of Rudolph's first built design: the ornamental mural. The school's [Harvard Graduate School of Design] 1940 catalogue of the class listing for the first semester of the fourth year architectural studies has required class no. 477: Mural Design, a class Rudolph most certainly took and utilised in his first building. 

The existing carved plaster mural covers the top half of the freestanding central rectangular masonry fire-place, measuring six feet high by ten feet long on one side. The subject of the mural seems to be a sexual fantasy of five naked young men, muscle flexing on a tropical beach struggling with a diagonally patterned fishing net."

Bjone, Christian. First House: The Grid, the Figure and the Void. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Academy, 2002.

 

A picture of this mural appears in: Howey, John. The Sarasota School of Architecture: 1941-1966. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997, p. 29.



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