Decades before the Americans With Disabilities Act, Frank Lloyd Wright designed an accessible home for a World War II veteran. Now Wright’s only home designed for a person with a disability will open to the public. Wright’s Kenneth & Phyllis Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois opens for tours on June 6, two days before what would have been its architect’s 147th birthday. When Phyllis Laurent in 1948 urged her husband, who used a wheelchair, to contact Wright about designing a home for him, the architect reportedly responded, “Dear Laurent: We are interested but don’t guarantee costs. Who knows what they are today - ?” The brick and cypress structure’s design is a celebrated example of Wright’s “Usonian” single-story homes. It features an overhang sheltering a carport and a “solar hemicycle” shape typical of the style. The State of Illinois bought the house in 2012 and added it to the National Register of Historic Places. Wright himself referred to it as a “little gem.” Several other Wright buildings have opened to the public lately, including the Emil Bach House in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, the SC Johnson Research Tower in Racine, Wisconsin, and the architect's home studio in Oak Park, Illinois.
Posts tagged with "National Register of Historic Places":
A recently restored Frank Lloyd Wright house on Chicago’s far North Side will be open for weekly tours this summer, starting May 7. The Emil Bach House, 7415 North Sheridan Road, is a Chicago Landmark and an entry on the National Register of Historic Places. As a vacation rental, the carefully crafted private dwelling invites Wright enthusiasts to stay a while. Its fortress-like street frontage conveys a verticality unusual to Wright’s work, offering deep, inset windows and brick columns on the lower floors instead of the more typically expansive Prairie-style planes that protrude from the upper bedroom level. Built in 1915 when its location set back from the eastern edge of Sheridan Road would have given it uninterrupted views of Lake Michigan, the house was first a private home for Bach, a brick company president whose brother had a Wright-designed house just a few blocks north. That building was demolished in the 1960s. The house was open to the public briefly during last year’s Open House Chicago, while it was still undergoing restoration work by Harboe Architects, but May 7 marks the start of the rehabilitated building’s weekly guided tours. Wright’s custom built-in furniture, which divides the common floor into intimate areas around a central fireplace, was replicated based on original plans. Previous owners had removed most of the wooden benches and even a dining table budding off the hearth that runs parallel to the bevy of front windows. To enter the building, visitors take eight turns along a rising, winding approach leading to a front door that actually faces toward the back yard—a somewhat forceful division of public and private space that is classic Wright. Natural light abounds throughout the upper floor, which houses two bedrooms, a guest room / study, and two bathrooms. Wright specified “sunshine yellow” paint for the walls—a detail that was restored along with built-in desks proportioned to Wright’s diminutive frame. Evanston-based Morgante Wilson Architects furnished the interiors with space modern furniture to update the vibe without corrupting its historical significance. Now a vacation rental, the Emil Bach house is managed by the owners of the Lang House—a 1919 bed-and-breakfast next door. Guided tours of Bach House will be offered on Wednesdays, May 7 through September 24. Tickets are $12 general public, $10 students/seniors/military, and free for members of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Tickets and information are available at www.flwright.org and 312-994-4000. For rental information and further inquiries on the historic Emil Bach House, please visit www.emilbachhouse.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An unusually vertical Frank Lloyd Wright building in Wisconsin will open its doors to the public for the first time since its construction in 1950. The Research Tower in Racine, Wisconsin has housed SC Johnson for 32 years, anchoring its 153-foot tall mass with a distinctive “taproot” foundation. Its tree-like core and wrap-around windows will now be open to visitors, beginning on May 2. Tours will run on Fridays and Saturdays through September 27. SC Johnson’s Wright-designed corporate campus is a glimpse of what the architect’s ambitious urban planning vision might have looked like had it taken root beyond a few scattered examples such as the site of the 15-story Research Tower. That building, as well as the company's 1939 Administration Building, are now on the National Register of Historic Places. The Museum of Modern Art in New York is mounting an exhibition on Wright's radical approach to urbanism, which included seemingly contradictory bids for a sprawling “Broadacre City” and mile-high skyscrapers that pushed density to the brink of absurdity. The show is called Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal. Research Tower is not the only bit of Wright’s portfolio to see some sunshine lately. In December the architect’s first independent commission—the William Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois—went on the market. Weeks later the balcony over Wright's studio in Oak Park announced it would open for public tours for the first time in decades.
The Village of Cold Spring, New York is set within a beautiful landscape along the Hudson River. Strewn about the bucolic landscape are the ruins of the West Point Foundry, begun by President James Madison for metal and brass production after the War of 1812. The 87-acre site housing the foundry was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the spring of 2011 and now, with partial funding assistance from a Preserve America grant and in collaboration with Scenic Hudson, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects has enhanced the historic locale as a sustainably-designed preservation park. Last week, the West Point Foundry Preserve Park officially opened to the public. Famous for its development and manufacture of Parrott guns, the Union army and navy’s weapon of choice during the Civil War, and for its role in the United States’ Industrial Revolution, the West Point Foundry helped unite and progress America from 1817 to 1960, more than a century and a half. The site is home to housing and machine ruins, bridges, dams, paths, roadbeds, rail tracks, and a dock from the original foundry. However, the natural forest and marsh wetlands in which they stand are also of preservation significance. In the design of the Foundry Preserve Park, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects took care to “respect the site’s history and ecology.” Combining existing pathways and rail lines to create a walking narrative among the ruins and placing educational displays near important sites, the landscape architecture attempts the least intrusive path for visitors. Exhibitions at the park’s Foundry Cove illuminate on marsh renewal and the natural wildlife. Working with the Michigan Technological University’s Industrial History and Archeology Program, the firm researched for a design that allowed sustainability of the industrial history and of the valley environment. “Good design is often a matter of working with, not competing with, nature," Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects said in a statement. "The historic Village of Cold Spring marks one of the most stunning geologic expanses of the Hudson River. When Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects designed the West Point Foundry Preserve, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, we let the landscape be our guide.”
After a thorough search to identify a live/work project site in New York City, Artspace selected the former Public School 109 in East Harlem, a distinctive five-story building with copper-clad cupolas and decorative terrace cotta designed by Charles B.J. Snyder in 1898. The newly renovated building will include 90 units of affordable housing for artists and their families and 10,000 square feet of non-residential space for non-profits and community organizations. The Gothic Revival-style building is listed on both the National and State Register of Historic Places, and as part of the $52 million live/work project Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects and Victor Morales Architects plan to restore much of the terra cotta and reinstall original gargoyles and a large spire. Apartments range from 480 to 980 square feet with 100 to 150 extra square feet for artists to use as studio spaces, and feature large windows, high ceilings, and wide doorways. The project consists of common spaces such as galleries, meeting rooms and green space that promote community involvement. Applications will be available in Spring 2014. To assist the area in preserving its traditional Latino culture, at least half of the units will be reserved for current East Harlem residents.
Thanks to the efforts of the Los Angeles Conservancy's Modern Committee, ten homes from Southern California's Case Study House program have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Launched by Arts + Architecture magazine in 1945, the Case Study program emphasized experiment and affordability, and produced some of the most famous houses in U.S. history, including the Eames House (Case Study #8), and Pierre Koenig's Stahl House (Case Study #22). Overall, 35 plans were published, and 25 homes were built. The National Parks Service listed the ten residences on the National Register in late July. (One more home was deemed eligible but its owners objected.) While not completely safe, all will be granted preservation protections under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). While the Eames House had already been listed, those added to the list include Case Study #1, 9, 10, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23A, 23C, and 28. The move is especially important because several Case Study homes have been demolished, and others have been altered beyond recognition. “With so few Case Study Houses in existence, and a few owners who do not appreciate the homes’ cultural and architectural significance, we need to stay vigilant,” said Regina O’Brien, chair of the LA Conservancy's Modern Committee, in a statement.