Booked for the 10am tour of Darwin Martin. Two hours!
We're leaving this morning for Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York. Posting will be light to non-existant for the next week -- There will be photos (note to new-ish readers: do not get your hopes up: I'm a bad, bad photographer). Graycliff is not on the itinerary; the 14-year-old boy will be at his limit for tolerating Mom and Dad's architectural whimsy after Darwim Martin, the Larkin site and downtown Buffalo. Since the trip is doing double-duty as the last family vacation before he goes to high school, we'll save Graycliff for a long weekend in the fall (note: not actually goonig to happen since the trip is actually doning triple duty as last-vacation-while-I-have-a-decent-paying-job; long story, so you should buy me a beer sometime and ask for the details).
If you are at Darwin Martin this week, look for the guy with the Toledo Mud Hens hat and say "hi".
Archinet has published an interview with Aaron Betsky, dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Aside from being an interview with a fascinating man, the article offers a brief recap of the past few, challenging years for the school and Betsky's leadership that likely saved the school from quietly slipping away. Most Wright fans are, at the very best, only dimly aware that the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture even exists -- this article is a decent place to start learning about this unique school.
So there is a very active culture in that way, and students also have to be willing to be part of that community. You know we all take turns doing the dishes and helping the chef cook. So it takes very particular students and then on top of all of that, I have very much emphasized that we are here all to learn from the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright but we are not here to imitate this work. The question is not what should I do that’s like Frank Lloyd Wright but what would Frank Lloyd Wright do today. We also have put a strong emphasis on experimental architecture and on making a more sustainable, open and beautiful environment.
So if you want to learn how to make pretty boxes, learn that as quickly as possible and get a job upon graduation that pays as much money as possible, then there are plenty of good schools for you. If you want to learn how to change the world through architecture, then we would hope that Taliesen would be the place for you.
Aside from his leadership of the FLW School of Architecture, Betsky is architectural writer and critic -- his column at dezeen is a good place to sample his writing.
If you are interested in the dessert shelters of Taliesin West, a 2014 article from AZCentral.com is a worthwhile read.
On Tuesday, July 12 the Frank Lloyd Trust is offering a group tour of the Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois. The tour departs from the Rookery Building at 9AM and returns at 5PM.
The Laurent House is a remarkable Usonian designed to be wheelchair-accessible. The original clients lived in the home for the rest of their lives and, in keeping with the Laurent’s wishes, it was turned into a museum.
Curbed has an excellent article on the house, with photos, here.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune has published an article on the move of the Lindholm House from Cloquet, Minnesota to Polymath Park in Pennsylvania.
The home, still owned by the descendants of the original clients, was donated to Polymath Park with assistance provided by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.
Piece by small piece, the 2,300-square-foot structure was carefully dismantled this spring. Workers numbered every board, cataloged every piece and wrapped them all in foam and plastic. The house filled three semitrailer trucks bound for Acme, Pa., where it is being donated to a private architectural park perfectly suited for its arrival, said Tim Quigley, a Minneapolis architect who is overseeing the move.
The reconstruction is expected to be complete by Spring of 2017.
The Museum of Modern Art has produced an excellent video on the conservation of the architectural model Wright made of his proposed St. Mark's-in-the-Bouwerie towers:
MOMA's site has a short article on the restoration and a time-lapse video of a pportion of the restoration. The article touches on questions of appropriateness of a 21st Century restoration of a nearly century old object.
Both the article and the video are high quality and are hopefully just the first of a series of great background pieces leading to the opening of the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit next year.
The house is a 1958 Usonian completed in 1960. the 2,600 square foot house sits on nearly 4 aqcres and is in largely original condition and has never been offered for sale before. Asking price is $1.5 million.
Follow the link -- there are photos.
May marked the 83rd anniversary of the opening of the Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago. Chicago Magazine marked the event by publishing a great series of aerial photos of Chicago taken by the War Department (I believe from this collection -- Chicago records are here) in the late 1920s and early 1930s, starting with a run of photos of the fair itself.
The restoration will begin with that basement of the building, expected to be the most complex and expensive portion of the full project (the basement has more square footage than the two above-ground stories) slightly more than 2/3 of the funds needed for this phase of the restoration have been raised. Once the basement is complete, it is hoped that sufficient funds for restoring the above ground stories can be secured from grants, foundations and private donors.
Once completed, the building will house Explore Licking County, the visitors bureau for the area.
Visit the original aritcle for a photo gallery that includes images of some of the interior details and a 360-degree view of the interior (it didn't work well for me, hope you have better luck)
The Musuem of Modern Art (MOMA) has announced a major Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit will open on June 8, 2017 -- to celebrate Wright's 150th birthday. Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive will draw from the Frank Lloyd Wright archives that were transfered to MOMA and Columbia University five years ago.
The museum has described the exhibit as "an anthology rather than a comprehensive, monographic presentation of Wright’s work". It will feature 12 sections, each focusing on a pivotal moment of inportnat theme in Wright's work.
The ehibit will be open June 8, 2017 through October 1, 2017.
We've already started planning our trip.
Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most prolific and renowned architects of the 20th century, a radical designer and intellectual who embraced new technologies and materials, pioneered do-it-yourself construction systems as well as avant-garde experimentation, and advanced original theories with regards to nature, urban planning, and social politics. Marking the 150th anniversary of the American architect's birth on June 8, 1867, MoMA presents Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, a major exhibition that critically engages his multifaceted practice. The exhibition comprises approximately 450 works made from the 1890s through the 1950s, including architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, and scrapbooks, along with a number of works that have rarely or never been publicly exhibited. Structured as an anthology rather than a comprehensive, monographic presentation of Wright's work, the exhibition is divided into 12 sections, each of which investigates a key object or cluster of objects from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive, interpreting and contextualizing it, and juxtaposing it with other works from the Archive, from MoMA, or from outside collections. The exhibition seeks to open up Wright's work to critical inquiry and debate, and to introduce experts and general audiences alike to new angles and interpretations of this extraordinary architect.
Organized by MoMA in collaboration with the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York, and organized by Barry Bergdoll, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA.
The Washington Post's art & architecture critic Philip Kennicott has reviewed a new dual biography of Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson, Architecture's Odd Couple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson.
They were very different personalities, with radically different approaches to the craft they pursued. Wright was an idealist, steeped in a romantic rhetoric of Art and Democracy, American to his core, intent on reforming the world through an organic architecture that was rooted to place, embedded in the natural world, horizontal in form, and pre-industrial in its rich, handcrafted detail. Johnson was an opportunist, a dilettante and a showman, better at finessing the social, bureaucratic and economic obstacles to building than at actual design. Wright had ideas and made them manifest; Johnson played with ideas and made them sexy. Between them, they shepherded American architecture through the age of muscular modernism, with its utopian aspirations in the real world, to the age of discourse, where what architects say about their work often matters as much as the work itself.
Johnson played an key role in the latter half of Wright's career: he organized an exhibit of modern architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York -- Wright needed a place in the exhibition to revitalize his flaging career and remind the art world of his central role in the previous 50 years of architecture. Johnson needed Wright's participation to cement his role as an intellectual hub of contemporary architecture.
Kennicott gives the book an excellent review: it's entertaining, and offers an important perspective on the sweep of Twentieth Century architecture and examines the fascinating contrast between two very different creators. Kennicott finds some minor flaws in the book -- inevitable given the challenges of detailing the parallel lives of two divergent personalities.
Louis B. Frederick House in Barrington Hills, Illinois has sold.The 1958 Unsonian has been owned by the family of the orginal clients and has had very few alterations.
This Curbed article on the house has a nice series of 20 photos of the house, mostly of the interior.
The Jewel in the Woods is a forthcoming, independant documentary about one Wright's smallest works.
This cottage was the dream of Seth Peterson, a man who loved architecture, who dreamed of having his own Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. After Peterson's death, and after the cottage had changed hands, it fell into a state of horrible disrepair... and was considered to be a total loss. If not for the work of a very small group of true believers, the cottage would have disappeared entirely. But years of dedication and fundraising saved the cottage. Much like the proverbial Phoenix, it rose from the ashes. And now, it is truly a "Jewel in the Woods."
Curbed has an article on the film and the cottage that's worth reeading, even if you aren't interested in the film
A $3 million restoration of “Residence A”, a guest house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Hollyhock House complex, has been announced by the owner of the property, the City of Los Angeles.
The house, closed since 2000, has suffered from both neglect and vandalism. Nearly two-thirds of the funds needed have been identified.
For seven months, a team of craftsmen have been working on the wood trim of the first floor with completion expecting in September. It’s hoped that there will be sufficient funds to begin work on the second floor as soon as the current work is completed.
John Hulley, a woodworker for 40 years who owns Hulley Woodworking, put the dream team together. The nine craftsmen range in age from 40 to 60 and they’ve worked for some of the best woodworkers in the industry, including Kittinger Furniture Co. in Buffalo. Two of the Martin House cabinetmakers have been recruited for the finish work.
Hulley probably knows the wood in the Martin House better than Wright did himself. He and his crew have removed every stick of wood trim from the house. Hulley made a drawing of each piece, mapped its location, examined it to see if it could be saved or scrapped, and then either refinished or remade it. And then his workers put it back.
Nearly all of the wood has been saved — either returned to its original position, or saved for patching areas lost or damaged over the years.
The restoration team has gone to extraordinary lengths to preserve the appearance of the trim as well:
“We start with stain,” he said. “Then it’s shellac, glaze, shellac, toner, touch-up, shellac, spray varnish, brush varnish. And between all coats of finish is sanding. It’s like ten steps.”
Hulley makes many of the finishes himself. He buys shellac in 55 pound bags of dried flakes and dissolves the flakes in ethanol alcohol.
“It’s really hard to tell the difference between the new wood and the wood that was here,” Hulley said. “And that was the plan. We’re not trying to fool anybody. If the historic preservation trust comes in and says what’s new, we can show what’s new, what’s old. But we’re trying to blend in, we didn’t want the new to stick out. It would look kind of dumb to have an old board next to a new board and have it look that way. It kind of defeats the purpose of bringing the building back to 1907.”