Posts tagged with "Frank lloyd Wright":

Placeholder Alt Text

VR tour of Wright’s Hollyhock House in the works

As part of a new project orchestrated by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in L.A.’s Barnsdall Park could soon be accessible to the public via virtual reality. The Mayan-Revival style home was built between 1919 and 1921 as Wright’s first Los Angeles–based residential commission and presaged the architect’s experimental “textile block” technology, a system Wright envisioned as a do-it-yourself solution for prefabricated building. The house is also considered the first work in the architect’s post-Prairie Style period. Previously, in Wright’s Prairie Style work, divisions between interior and exterior were stark and emphasized; with the Hollyhock House, that dichotomy gave way to a more fluid relationship between landscape and space, interior and exterior, presaging certain tendencies inherent in the coming modernism movement. The home was also an influential project on Wright understudy Rudolph Schindler. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 and has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The structure was renovated most recently starting in 2010 by architects Brenda Lavin & Associates, a $ 4.4 million modernization and restoration scheme that aimed to bring the structure back to its original luster. The DCA is seeking to make the relic more accessible to the general public and, more specifically, for patrons who cannot enter the building due to its noncompliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The historic status of the work makes ADA-focused retrofits impossible. Instead, DCA is working to transform the interiors of the structure into a virtual reality experience that can be accessed both on-site in Barnsdall Park and via the internet. According to DCA, the virtualization project could potentially increase the accessibility of the house by 210%, an increase that could perhaps boost physical attendance at the site, as well. The push would make the site’s bid for UNESCO status potentially more plausible. The nomination was organized by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and submitted as a group nomination including nine other Wright buildings, including the Fallingwater, Guggenheim, Taliesin, and Taliesin West projects in 2015. While the status of the nomination is still pending, the DCA proposal will be working its way toward approval by the Los Angeles City Council's Innovation, Grants, Technology, Commerce and Trade Committee, the full L.A. City Council, and ultimately, the L.A. Mayor’s office.
Placeholder Alt Text

Fallingwater look-alike on the market for $3.5 million

When an iconic modern house enters the real estate market, one can expect uniform lamentation from architects that a piece of history might be co-opted by an unworthy steward. In the case of 51 Pecksland Road in Greenwich, CT, there is absolutely no fear of that occurring. The house, designed in 1973 by architect Dimitri Bulazel, bears more than a striking resemblance to Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, both in overall form and architectural detailing. However, the only scenario where one might see falling water on this site is if the jacuzzi on the upper terrace overflows. Though completed nearly half a century after Wright's masterpiece, the 4,675-square-foot, single-family house is being described by the realty company Berkshire Hathaway as a “truly exceptional, one-of-a-kind home.” While some may be able to debate the “exceptional” nature of this $3.5 million near facsimile, calling it “one-of-a-kind” is veering into alternative fact territory.
Placeholder Alt Text

7,000-square-foot Frank Lloyd Wright home in New Canaan goes on sale

Designed in 1955 for Joyce and John Rayward, this Frank Lloyd Wright house was completed by its second owner Herman R. Shepherd, who purchased the property in 1964. (It's variously known as the John L. Rayward House, Rayward–Shepherd House, or Tirranna, which means "running waters" in the Australian aboriginal language.) The seven-bedroom house extends over almost 7,000 square feet in a hemicycle plan. It abuts the Noroton River and features gardens by Frank Okamura and Charles Middeleer; the latter was the first bonsai curator at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. The house itself features a diverse material palette, from various hardwoods to concrete blocks and gold leaf chimneys, as well as a sprawling collection of amenities: "double master baths, a rooftop observatory with telescope, an interior courtyard, caretakers suite, guest studio, pool, tennis court, large barn and sculpture paths through the woods leading down to the river." Vincent Benic Architect worked to restore the project's exterior envelope in 1999. For more on the property, which is listed for $8,000,000, see its property description here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Wisconsin establishes its own Frank Lloyd Wright Trail

In honor of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday, which will be on June 8th, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism has mapped a self-guided tour through nine of Wright’s most iconic built structures. Winding through nine counties, the trail starts in the southeast corner of the state and ends in the west. As a designated motor route, new signs will guide tourists across the state. The first stop along the new trail will be the SC Johnson Administration building and Research Tower. Along with the SC Johnson corporate campus, the trail takes tourists to the Johnson family home, Wingspread, which Wright completed in 1939. Heading north to Milwaukee, the trail leads to one of Wright’s six remaining American System-Built Homes, built in the nineteen-teens. The American System-Built Homes were meant to be affordable to the typical family. While 16 of these homes have been identified throughout the Midwest, a full six of them are located on Milwaukee’s South Side, along West Burnham Street and Layton Boulevard. The trail then heads east to the state capital of Madison, with its Monona Terrace and First Unitarian Society Meeting House. The Monona Terrace was first proposed by Wright in the 1930s but was not completed until 1997. The First Unitarian Society Meeting House was completed in 1951 and was the home of Wright’s own congregation. The final three stops along the trail are in the picturesque Driftless Region of the state, an area just outside of where glaciers in the last ice age stopped their southern movement. The first stop in the area is the estate Wright built for himself, Taliesin, which also features the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center. The epic 800-acre estate is nestled into a ridge, overlooking the dramatic landscape, giving it its name which means “shining brow” in Welsh. The Wyoming Valley School and Cultural Arts Center is located just three miles from Taliesin. Along with offering workshops in music, science, and painting, it also provides youth architecture workshops. The final stop on the trail is the AD German Warehouse in Richland Center. The four-story storage facility once held sugar, flour, coffee, tobacco, and other commodities. Currently, it is home to a gift shop, a small theater, and exhibit space for large murals which depict the Wright’s work. The warehouse is one of the best examples of his sculptural ornamentation, in the form of a cast concrete frieze. For more on the trail, visit TravelWisconsin.com.
Placeholder Alt Text

Fallingwater gets new neighbors with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s High Meadow dwellings

Even architects enjoy going to camp, particularly when it involves sleeping in thoughtfully-designed cabins. Such is the case for students of the Fallingwater Institute summer residency programs at High Meadow, the historic farm neighboring Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater house. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania–based firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson recently completed four new residences at High Meadow, adding to an existing 1960s cabin on the site and doubling the capacity of the summer programs. The Fallingwater Institute summer residency programs allow students and educators of architecture, art, and design to study Frank Lloyd Wright at one of his most recognized works, learning about the relationship between architecture and nature in the process. The new dwellings differ greatly from the design originally proposed by competition-winners Patkau Architects in 2010; that scheme would've burrowed the residences into the hillside. Instead, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson chose to expand the footprint of the existing cabin and perch the new dwellings on steel columns atop the hillside. The Norway Spruce used for the horizontal screen running along the complex’s exterior hallways was also harvested and milled on site. "The building's main entry welcomes visitors into a central screened porch, which joins the new architecture to an existing cabin and serves as the outdoor gathering and dining space," said Bill James, project architect from the firm's Pittsburgh office, in a press release. On the interior, the finishes of the residences are durable but minimal to add “a sparse elegance to the space,” the firm stated. Each dwelling features a desk and two twin beds with a full bathroom and closet storage. The project has been recognized by the AIA Pennsylvania chapter, receiving its highest honor, the 2016 AIA Pennsylvania Silver Medal. The jury stated that the building’s contrast to its surroundings made it a “graceful addition to the existing structure.” Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was also responsible for the adaptive reuse of the Barn at Fallingwater in 2006, a project that turned the 1870s barn into educational and event space for the Fallingwater property. For more information about the Fallingwater Institute and their residency programs, visit their website here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kentuck Knob house celebrates its 60th anniversary

Lord Peter Palumbo, outgoing chairman of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, recently looked back on his decades-long ownership of Kentuck Knob, the Frank Lloyd Wright house in western Pennsylvania, not far from Fallingwater, that is celebrating its 60th anniversary as well as the 20th anniversary of being open to the public.

Wright built Kentuck Knob—a small, one-story Usonian house on the crest of a knob, or hill, 2,050 feet above sea level, in Chalk Hill, Pennsylvania, in the Laurel Highlands mountain range six miles from Fallingwater—for I.N. and Bernardine Hagan, an ice-cream maker and his wife.

According to Lord Palumbo, Wright asked the Hagans when he interviewed them about their commission whether they were “nesters or perchers,” and that they told him they were nesters. If they were nesters, which Wright preferred, this meant, “you site the house just below the top of the knob and then you walk out to the knob. His reasoning was no man can compete with natural beauty and therefore you should not try to compete with it.” Lord Palumbo finds the view from the knob “quite extraordinary, one of the great views from this part of the world.”

He visited the house in the mid-1980s on a trip from Chicago (he once owned the Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House outside Chicago, as well as Le Corbusier’s Le Jaoul Houses, outside Paris, selling all of them subsequently). “I fell in love with [Kentuck Knob], but I couldn’t get inside it. I fell in love with the outside, and said to myself, ‘If it’s as beautiful inside as it is outside, I must do something about it.’ So I went back six weeks later and effectively bought it then,” he said.

The architectural core of the open plan house—which is built of native sandstone and tidewater red cypress—is its hexagonal, stonewalled kitchen; its two wings are anchored by stonewalls, which rise to penetrate the horizontal line of its copper roof. Cantilevered overhangs and expanses of glass integrate its interior and exterior.

Shortly after Lord Palumbo purchased the house, a fire destroyed the master bedroom and bathroom. He was fortunate enough to find a retired Carnegie Mellon architect, Robert Taylor, who had worked on the home when it was built, to oversee the reconstruction.

Lord Palumbo and his family lived part-time in the house until the mid-1990s, when they decided to open it to the public. “We were getting quite a lot of interest from people, from students, architects, people interested in Frank Lloyd Wright, to visit the house, so it seemed like an obvious move to open the place to the public,” he explained. “It was also one way of ensuring that if anything happened to me, the house would be self-sufficient financially.”

Visitors, he added, “love the situation, love the house, and find that it has a human dimension because they can go through the house and see more or less how we live; they can see the toothbrushes, hairbrushes, family photographs. I think that family dimension is appreciated.”

Lord Palumbo originally bought 89 acres of land in Chalk Hill from the Hagans and now owns 600 acres and a 1920s farmhouse at the foot of the knob where he and his family stay when they visit. At Kentuck Knob, he has put out an eclectic array of fine and decorative arts and natural objects. On display is a wide array of decor, from Native American, Middle Eastern, and Chinese pottery to furniture by Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Charles and Ray Eames, Tapio Wirkkala, and George Nakashima (the last commissioned by the Hagans), as well as drawings and a collection of birds’ nests Palumbo found nearby. “I’ve always thought that quality goes with quality. I’ve never felt that a ball and claw foot by Chippendale, for example, does not sit anything other than easily with a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair. I think they acknowledge one another as equals and have a good working relationship by being next to one another, because they are all the top quality of their time.”

Another change wrought by the Palumbos at Kentuck Knob is the addition of outdoor sculptures: Over 30 works by artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Sir Anthony Caro, and Claes Oldenburg have been placed in the landscape around the house and along the trail to the visitor center. They have also converted Kentuck Knob’s greenhouse—which once stood at Fallingwater and was brought to Kentuck Knob by the Hagans in the early 1960s—into a gift shop and cafe, and have restored the house’s original, triangular, man-made pond, built from boulders by Taylor.

The “great message of Kentuck Knob,” according to Lord Palumbo, is “the relationship between the art of Frank Lloyd Wright and nature—as it is at Fallingwater. It is the interaction between the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright and the beauty of nature. It was something that he always put great store by.”

A National Historic Landmark, Kentuck Knob can be seen only by formal tour, offered in 40- and 90-minute lengths from March through November and on a limited basis in December.

Placeholder Alt Text

Frank Lloyd Wright School works towards independence from Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

The Scottsdale, Arizona–based Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is currently working toward achieving independence from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to maintain its accreditation as an institution of higher learning.

Architecture schools are required to be accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), usually as part of a larger university, and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The HLC is responsible for overseeing overall standards of degree-issuing institutions in 19 states, while NAAB is only concerned with architecture schools. In 2010, the HLC updated its bylaws forcing all institutions of higher learning to be separate from any other larger institution, which does not have education as its primary mission. The Frank Lloyd Wright School is a division of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, meaning the school is not in line with the HLC’s current policies.

In a recent decision by the HLC, the school’s application for “Change of Control, Structure, or Organization,” a requirement for its continued accreditation, was denied. Working closely with the school, the HLC has asked for an updated application by November 30, which will be reviewed at its February board meeting.

“The response from HLC was never a matter of a disagreement with what was previously submitted. In consultation with their staff, we now understand the areas where they would like to see us flesh out our previous submission,” remarked Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation president and CEO Stuart Graff in a statement to the press. Graff and school dean Aaron Betsky have met with the HLC in order to understand the commission’s concerns and recommendations for their upcoming application. Both Betsky and Graff are confident the school is on the path to accreditation as an independent institution.

 

It is important to note that the school has not lost its accreditation, which is good through 2017, but it must prove that it is independent before that accreditation expires. The HLC’s criterion for accreditation dictates that “the governing board of the institution is sufficiently autonomous” and “the institution’s resource base supports its current educational programs.” This separation from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation greatly affects the school’s funding, much of which has come from the Foundation. In 2015 the school successfully raised $2 million dollars in order to become financially independent.

The school has been an accredited institution of higher learning since 1987, and first became accredited as an architecture school in 1996. The school’s NAAB accreditation is good through 2023. The Frank Lloyd Wright School offers a three-year Master of Architecture degree, which students pursue while splitting the year between the school’s Scottsdale, Arizona, and Spring Green, Wisconsin, campuses.

Placeholder Alt Text

Alberta’s only Frank Lloyd Wright building to be rebuilt

Thanks to the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative, Banff National Park in Alberta may once again have its own Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building almost 100 years after the original structure was demolished. The Banff Park Pavilion was originally built in 1914 on commission from the Canadian government and designed in conjunction with Francis Conroy Sullivan (Wright's only Canadian student). It only stood for 25 years but was demolished in 1939 due to structural damage. The pavilion went through several stages of use in its brief life. It was initially conceived as a visitor center by the Department of Public Works by the National Parks Service, with the local community putting forth ideas about its design. However, given the timing of its completion at the start of World War I, it was repurposed by the Department of Defense into a quartermaster's store. After the war the pavilion was used for its original intended purpose: a picnic area and shelter. However, its location on the bank of the Bow River was prone to flooding and frost heaving, which damaged wooden floor supports. It was torn down in 1939 despite the resistance of park-goers. The Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative is dedicated to rebuilding Frank Lloyd Wright structures on their original footprints according to their original design, allowing for changes only due to modern building code requirements. The Banff Park Pavilion will be their first project. The building is a great example of Wright's signature Prairie School architectural style, common in the American midwest but rare in Canada. According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Initiative, it was in fact the only building of this style in the country. It will also be the second Frank Lloyd Wright building in Canada. The number of yearly visitors to Banff National Park has grown to almost 3.6 million annually, and the pavilion has the potential to once again become a well used feature of the park as well as a tourist attraction in its own right. According to Canadian Architect, the proposal was accepted by the Banff Town Council, who is now conducting a feasibility study as Phase I of the project. The Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative is accepting donations that will go toward funding the project.
Placeholder Alt Text

MoMA to celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday with an exhibit featuring 450 of his works

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York will be celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright's 150th birthday in 2017—one year from today—by opening a comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the prolific Wisconsin-born architect. The exhibit, titled Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, will feature up to 450 works that span more than 60 years. Unpacking the Archive will showcase how Wright was radical designer eager to push the boundaries of architecture's technologies and materials while pioneering do-it-yourself construction systems. The exhibition will also delve into the the theories behind his work that relate to nature, urban planning, and social politics. Architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, and scrapbooks, some never publicly seen, will be on display. The MoMA has also chosen to adopt an anthological approach to exhibiting Wright's work, dividing it into twelve sections which will each focus on a certain object(s) selected from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archive. In this way, the object(s) can be easily contextualized and juxtaposed with other works from the FLW Archive, the MoMA, or from outside collections. In a press release, the MoMA explained that 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." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brZugTJ0odg Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive is organized by MoMA in collaboration with the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York, and by Barry Bergdoll, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA.
Placeholder Alt Text

You can now explore the Guggenhiem museum using Google Street View technology

If you can't make it to Frank Lloyd Wright's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, fear not: Google Street View has a solution. Though not quite as fulfilling as visiting in person, their self-guided virtual tour offers insight into the museum's iconic architecture while letting you view some of its exhibitions and artworks. This isn't the first time Google Street View's engineers have added masterpieces 0f art and architecture. In fact, as a member of the Google Cultural Institute, the Guggenheim is one of almost 750 museums and collections available to explore online. Google also offers walkthroughs of famous world wonders such as the Taj Mahal. With the Guggenheim museum, online tourists can view 120 pieces of artwork on display and travel up and down the building's famed spiral ramps. Attempting to keep the virtual tour as realistic as possible, Google only allows you to click one step forward at a time, though it's also possible to jump from floor to floor. Because of Wright's layout of the museum, it wasn't easy for Google to create its virtual walkthrough. Drones, tripods, and Street View “trolleys” captured a patchwork of images to create 360-degree views. The experience is best accessed via the Google Cultural Center (available here) rather than entering from Google Street View (as shown in the image). Selecting the latter leaves you stuck halfway up the Museum. Exhibitions from the Guggenheim Foundation currently available online are No Country: Contemporary Art For South and Southeast Asia and Storylines: Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim. For architecture enthusiasts, Google is exhibiting Photography and Modern Architecture in Brazil at its online cultural center, available here.
Placeholder Alt Text

San Francisco seeking enhanced landmark protection for one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most significant works

A gestural ramp takes visitors to the upper stories, passing objets d'art nested into built-in niches. A bubbled skylight lets the sun's rays penetrate into an expansive atrium, even on cloudy days. The AIA says the landmarked building is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's 17 essential works. The Guggenheim? Not so much. Wright's only San Francisco building, a city landmark since 1974, sits on Maiden Lane, a quiet side street downtown. The last tenant, Xanadu Gallery, closed up shop last year. Before the next tenant moves in, preservationists are rallying to expand existing landmark protections to include parts of the interior that date to 1948, including the ceiling, a skylit plane comprised of 120 acrylic domes, mahogany display cabinets, and a brass hanging planter. Wright designed the project, one of his only renovations of an existing building, in 1948 for V.C. and Lillian Morris. The couple had a shop on the same street and had previously commissioned Wright to design four houses for them (none were built). The space became the home of the V.C. Morris Gift Shop. Although the exterior, whose arch could be a subtle tribute to Louis Sullivan, is elegant, Wright experts concede that the interior is more architecturally significant. 140 Maiden Lane was a real-world test for the Guggenheim, built in 1959, which Wright conceptualized sixteen years earlier. The skylight hints at Wright's later work, like the 1961 Marin County Civic Center. The Prairie-style homes Wright completed in the Chicago suburbs are echoed in the masonry cliff, muses John King, The San Francisco Chronicle’s urban design critic. When Xanadu Gallery moved into the space in 1997, the owners, Raymond and Marsha Handley, restored many of the interior details that were left to languish in the basement. They consulted preservation experts, including Aaron Green, who with Wright collaborated on the Marin Civic Center. Marsha feels confident that the new owner, a Hong Kong–based investor who also owns Los Angeles's Bradbury Building, will be mindful of this building's significance. It's rumored that the new tenant may be a restaurant, or a European clothing boutique. City Planners have broached the bid for elevated landmark status with the owner's representatives, as they intend to send the revised landmark designation to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in the next few months.
Placeholder Alt Text

Wright’s Sturges House up for auction in Los Angeles

It’s the beginning of a bad joke: Superman, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Andy Warhol walk into a bar…. The truth of their commonalities is more a consequence of history than humor. Wright’s 1939 Sturges House in Brentwood is up for auction and Jack Larson, the last owner of the residence, played cub reporter Jimmy Olsen on the TV series Adventures of Superman in the 1950s.Larson passed away in September and his partner James Bridges died in 1993, but in their heyday they supported budding artists in the Los Angeles art scene from the early 1960s through the 1980s. Their home was full of artworks from Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and David Hockney, which will also be auctioned off in February in support of the Bridges/Larson Foundation. The modest wood-sided home, perched dramatically on top of a Brentwood hill is estimated at $2.5–$3 million. Los Angeles Modern Auctions has teamed up with Sotheby’s International Realty on the February 21 auction. As if Wright, Hollywood, and art world pedigrees weren’t enough, the residence was supervised by quintessential L.A. architect John Lautner and it was his first project in the city. Distinguished by its economy, the 1,200-square-foot home considered a Southern California adaptation of Wright’s Usonian house. A cantilevered deck and expansive glass windows that overlook the view extend the small living spaces. Thomas S. Hines, in his book Architecture of the Sun, quotes a February 1939 letter that Wright sent Lautner along with some sketches. “It is one of the simplest things we’ve done and one of the best.”