Unity Temple, Frank Lloyd Wright’s first public building, may come under new ownership as part of a $10 million deal to help restore the 105-year-old national landmark. Local nonprofit Alphawood Foundation Chicago and longtime owners the Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation announced Tuesday a joint fundraising campaign aimed at fixing water damage that, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “urgently requires a multi-million-dollar rescue effort.” If the Oak Park church’s current restoration campaign raises 80 percent of the funds needed for repairs and provides an endowment for future restoration, the ownership transfer could go through. Alphawood's money counts toward that but, as Lee Bey reports, the total amount "is likely to be substantially more than the combined total of the proposed Alphawood gift and any contribution the Congregation makes." Alphawood could then oversee the restoration or create a new preservation organization to preside over the project. Unity Temple is currently presenting a series of events called Break::the::Box, which recently brought 99% Invisible podcast host Roman Mars to Oak Park.
Posts tagged with "Frank Lloyd Wright":
“What if we decided we needed a little more Guggenheim?” asked New York- and Athens-based group Oiio Architecture Office. In a shocking announcement on its Facebook page, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum today disclosed that it will be expanding—vertically: "We are pleased to announce that beginning today, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will begin construction to expand the original Frank Lloyd Wright design by an additional 13 floors." The museum has always faced spatial limitations,and as the Whitney has taken to expanding over the High Line, renderings for Oiio Architecture Office show the Guggenheim rising vertically from its Fifth Avenue site, continuing the building's signature spiral form. While this expansion is sure to garner criticism from preservationists, as the buildings is currently listed with both the National Register of Historic Places and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, representatives from the museum have stated that the proposed addition will respond respectfully Wright’s original design.
The story goes like this: In 1949 an engineer named A.K. Chahroudi commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home on Petra Island in Lake Mahopac, New York, which Chahroudi owned. But the $50,000 price tag on the 5,000 square foot house was more than Chahroudi could afford, so Wright designed him a smaller, more affordable cottage elsewhere on the island. Fast forward to 1996 when Joseph Massaro, a sheet metal contractor, bought the island for $700,000, a sale that also included Wright's original yet unfinished plans. Though he says he only intended to spruce up the existing cottage and not build anything new, one can hardly fault Massaro for wanting to follow through on a home Wright once said would eclipse Falling Water. In 2000 Massaro sold his business and hired Thomas A. Heinz, an architect and Wright historian, to complete and update the design, a move that incensed the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, who promptly sued him, stating he couldn't claim the house was a true Wright, but was only "inspired" by him. Massaro was able to complete the house in 2004, fending off lawsuits by stating his intent not to sell. Now, however, he's ruffled the Wright Foundation's feathers once again by putting the house on the market for $19.9 million, 11-acre island included. Even though the house is not recognized by the Foundation, that hasn't stopped Massaro from listing it as a true Wright. In a statement to the Los Angeles Times he said, “You hear these purists that talk about how no unbuilt Frank Lloyd Wright house should ever be built because Frank Lloyd Wright isn’t here anymore. And then you take a look at this masterpiece of his—I’m sure Frank would rather have it built than not built at all." That may be true, but those purists are an outspoken bunch, citing four details in Massaro's house that Wright would never have approved of had he been alive to see its construction. First, the decorative "rubblestone," a Wright trademark, is not flush in Massaro's home, but protrude from the wall—a major Wright no-no. Second, the home's 26 skylights are domed, not flat, a choice Massaro apparently made citing flat skylights' propensity to leak (sealants, anyone?). Third, an exterior stairway that appears in several of Wright's original drawings was nixed by Massaro, as it would have landed in three feet of water due to the island's changed coastline. Lastly, Wrightians claim that the copper fascia are too shallow, a seemingly petty point of contention, but as Wright house owner Rich Herber pointed out, "It's the small details we'll never know about." To be fair, Massaro seems to have tried to stay as true to Wright's original intentions as possible. When the late Walter Cronkite, who knew Wright personally, visited the property he said, "I feel Frank in this house." Whether or not it's technically authentic and officially condoned by the Foundation, or the result of a Wright/Heinz collaboration, the world is probably a better and more beautiful place for the existence of the Massaro House, which interested buyers can arrange to visit to through Ahahlife.com. All images courtesy Ahahlife.
After an anonymous buyer stepped in to save a threatened Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, it appears that the future the David & Gladys Wright House is not so sunny after all. AN previously noted that an anonymous buyer was throwing the iconic home a $2.4 million cash life line to save it from demolition, the real estate broker announced this week that the home would be placed back on the market after the purchase agreement fell through. The buyer cited “personal and business” reasons for rescinding the offer, according to The Phoenix Business Journal. After much urging and a petition by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the Phoenix City Council will vote on December 4 on whether or not to designate the home as a historic landmark, thus preventing its demolition. The house, built in 1952, is considered by some to be an architectural foreshadowing to the continuous circular movements seen in the spirals of Wright's Guggenheim Museum.
Great news! Frank Lloyd Wright's David & Gladys Wright house in Phoenix won't be reduced to rubble as developers had hoped. The house, designed for FLW's son David in 1952, had been threatened with demolition earlier this year, but an anonymous buyer ponied up nearly $2.4 million to save the house. The previous owner, developer 8081 Meridian, had proposed tearing down the house and building two new houses on the property. The spiral-planned, textile block home is one of Wright's most unusual designs, with an amazing spiral ramp that leads into and lifts the house above the desert. Check out the video walk-through of the home above or a photo slideshow over here. Way to go, anonymous!
The Formation of the Japanese Print Collection at the Art Institute: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School The Art Institute of Chicago 111 South Michigan Avenue Through November 4 Frank Lloyd Wright visited Japan for the first time in 1905, inspired by the country’s pavilion at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. He lived in the country while working on Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, soaking in Japanese art and culture. It had a lasting impact on his own work, especially the development of the Prairie Style as well as his renderings and presentation drawings. During his time in Japan, Wright became a pioneering collector of Japanese prints, and often supported himself as an art dealer. Clarence Buckingham purchased numerous prints from Wright in 1911 (including Utagawa Hiroshige’s Sparrows and Camillia in Snow from 1831, above), which became the foundation of the Art Institute’s print collection. This exhibition is composed of prints purchased by Wright, photos of an exhibition of his collection he staged in 1908 at the Art Institute, and drawings from Wright’s studio.
A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian House and Pavilion Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Avenue Through February 13, 2013 In the years just before Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum forever altered the face Fifth Avenue, the directors of the museum went on a charm offensive. In 1953, they presented the exhibition Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The show introduced Wright’s Usonian House to New Yorkers by building the Prairie-style home on the construction site of where the architect’s tour de force museum would soon rise. Now through February 13 the museum presents a scaled-down version of the exhibition, which originally included the Usonian and a dramatic Wright-designed pavilion holding models, drawings, and watercolors by the master. This exhibition, A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian House and Pavilion, celebrates the two structures that won over a somewhat skeptical New York audience to the work of America’s modern master.
This morning AN reported that a massive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural drawings, photographs, models, and more are heading to a new home at New York's Museum of Modern Art and Columbia University's Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, opening up the archive to academic and scholarly research. For your enjoyment, below is a sampling of the treasures encompassed in the collection and a video about the news. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives/Avery/MoMA unless noted otherwise.
Just a couple months ago, a house by Frank Lloyd Wright's son Lloyd—the Moore House—was destroyed in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. AN called its loss the "archi-crime of the year," but now developers in Phoenix, Arizona could one-up the razing with the demolition of an original Frank Lloyd Wright designed for another of his sons, David. The threatened David Wright House is a spiral-planned textile block masterpiece that predates the Guggenheim (the most famous Wright spiral), and an effort is underway to save the property. A petition from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy urges the City of Phoenix to designate the structure as a historic landmark, preventing its destruction. According to the conservancy, no Wright house has been willingly destroyed in nearly 40 years. At press time, just under 800 names are still needed on the petition to reach its goal of 5,000 names. The conservancy has already helped the house receive a temporary stay of demolition while the city desides what to do, but time is running out. You can sign on with your support here. According to the FLLW Building Conservancy, developers hope to demolish the home as soon as possible and build two luxury mansions on the site. You can stay up to date with the preservation process and read more about the conservancy's efforts on their website. [h/t ArchDaily]
The invitation billed it as an exclusive conversation about “the potential of architecture for urban, economic, and political change.” But when Frank Gehry and Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim Museum, sat down before the mics after one and half hours of benefit chow at a new Wall Street steakhouse and just 15 minutes before the event was to end, the talk, like the $200/plate mashed potatoes and pureed spinach, was noticeably soft. With a game intro by the restaurateur of The Capital Grille referencing Gehry’s Experience Music Project in Seattle and his new project in “Abu Dhabi Dubai,” the chatter was off to an equally idiosyncratic start. Armstrong asked the famed architect about Frank Lloyd Wright. “Mostly, I stayed away from him, like everyone at Harvard and because I was a liberal do-gooder, and Wright was antithetical to all that,” Gehry said, adding that he went out of his away to avoid Wright when he came to give a lecture, citing his “totalitarian humanism.” Gehry explained that he evenutally gave in and drove off to Taliesin with his wife and two daughters all packed into the VW. They arrived and the flag was up the mast, indicating that the master was in residence. Driving up to the gatehouse, Gehry was informed that the entry fee was a dollar each for himself, his wife, and his two children. “I told them to shove off, and drove away,” Gehry said.