Inspired by Wright

Since 2004, the Racine Unified School District has included a section on Frank Lloyd Wright , using Racine’s own collection of Wright buildings.

The curriculum, still taught today in Racine Unified, was created by Jane Barbian, the district’s elementary reading and language arts coordinator. Barbian worked on the Wright unit after such a unit was suggested and coordinated by a Leadership Racine team and Journal Times Director of Photography Mark Hertzberg.

Hertzberg has published books on Wright and worried local children were growing up without a sense of the world-famous architecture in the Racine area. Anderson Ford said she shared that concern.

“We have this unbelievable world-renowned treasure in Racine,” she said of Wright’s buildings. “There aren’t enough people who take advantage of knowing what a great man he was and the many beautiful things he designed.”

The course, and Frank Lloyd Wright, are making a difference:

“I thought it was just going to be another office building,” Alix said. But the Administration Building turned out to be incredibly unique and Alix still remembers some of its more innovative features like the rounded, bird cage-shaped elevator and the iconic golf tee-shaped ceiling supports in the Great Workroom. “The use of shape in the building is crazy … Everything is either real round or real square.”
The shapes Alix saw on the trip, combined with a unit on Wright, sparked her interest in architecture. That interest stayed with Alix as she entered high school and began thinking about careers. Now, as a junior, she’s looking at colleges where she can study architecture.