Posts tagged with "Prairie School":

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Research Tower opening to public tours for first time

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.
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Frank Lloyd Wright to open balcony for home studio tours

Frank Lloyd Wright fans have had plenty to celebrate lately. In December the Prairie School architect's first independent commission, the William Winslow House, went up for sale. Now there’s more good news, reports Blair Kamin for the Chicago Tribune: the balcony over Wright’s studio in Oak Park, Ill. will be open to the public during tours for the first time in 40 years. The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust will give two guided home and studio tours each day starting March 21, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. An installation on the balcony at 951 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park will celebrate Wright’s work and that of his colleagues Marion Mahony Griffin, Walter Burley Griffin, and William Drummond. Wright, 22 at the time, designed the home studio for his family in 1889.
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Quick Clicks> Prairie Preserved, Library Voyeur, Mapping Riots, & a Culver City Compromise

Prairie Hotel. After a 2-year, $18 million renovation, Frank Lloyd Wright's last standing hotel has reopened in Mason City, Iowa. The Historic Park Inn Hotel is a premier example of the Wright's Prairie style, and features deep hanging eaves and a terra-cotta façade. A massive art-glass skylight drenches the lobby in multi-colored light. More at ArtInfo. Library of Glass. Although Philip Johnson's Glass House library is transparent, Birch Books Conservation will soon offer the public a view the architect’s library without a trip to New Canaan. The non-profit publisher hopes “to preserve the professional libraries of artists, architects, authors, and important public figures through publishing photographic and written research,” with an inside look at Johnson’s personal collection, reported Unbeige. Mapping Poverty and Rebellion. The Guardian opened up the recent London riots for debate. Journalist Matt Stiles mapped the newspaper’s accumulated data of riot hot spots on a plan of London’s neighborhoods. Deep red stands for the British capital’s poorest regions, while blue represents the wealthiest communities. Metro In-The-Middle. The long-awaited Culver City Expo Line station was delayed by a disagreement between Culver City and construction authorities. Now, the two parties have agreed to the $7 million budget increase, which will fund a pedestrian plaza, bike lanes, parking facilities and pavement improvements. More at Curbed LA.
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Feel Wright at Home in Chicago's Riverside

A sprawling Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece could be yours for a cool three mil.  Curbed Chicago digs up the listing for Chi-town's Coonley House in the historic Riverside neighborhood.  The original clients apparently buttered up Wright, who, flattered, gave the house extra attention to detail. With five bedrooms and five baths spread out over 6,000 square feet, the prairie-style Coonley House is a far cry from Wright's Usonian houses.  The grounds are lavishly landscaped and include lilly-padded-pond overlooked by original leaded-glass windows. The Coonley House, 1908-1912, has been lovingly restored including a 50-foot mural in the living room and the original Jens Jensen landscape. Call this Frank Lloyd Wright classic home for just $2.89 million.
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T.C. Boyle’s Frank Lloyd Wright Obsession Is More Novel Than We Thought

We were already anxious to get the word on T.C. Boyle's new book The Women since it's all about the sexploits of that infamous philanderer Frank Lloyd Wright. (The women the title is named for would be Kitty, Mamah, Miriam and Olgivanna, in that order.) But little did we know the origins of Boyle's influence when it came to writing this novel in the first place...his muse, if you will. Boyle and his family actually live in the first Wright-designed house built in California! According to a 2003 Los Angeles Times article, Boyle lives in the 1910 George C. Stewart house, the only Prairie style house on the West Coast, located in Montecito. In 1993 his wife Karen called him in tears, begging him to buy the house, which was a steal at only $2 million. At first, Boyle was unimpressed. After all, according to the article, the house had some design issues:

First, there's the floor plan. Laid out on a cruciform pattern with the fireplace at the center -- the living room flanked by the dining room and parlor -- there are no interior walls. Upstairs, the shape is slightly condensed; the bedrooms and baths are small, and there's hardly any closet space. (Wright disdained rooms where you closed your eyes to sleep or stored things you didn't need.)

Second, there is a certain tension -- a purposeful discomfort -- built into the design. To begin with, you can't see the front door, and when you get there, you're standing beneath an overhang that -- with a 6-foot, 5-inch clearance -- is more of a cave than an entry. Then you step inside, and the space is no better. Wright breaks the tension gloriously with an adjacent two-story ceiling, but for some people that might not be enough. And if you're looking for a grand staircase, a garage or a family room per se, forget it.
But after meticulously restoring the house, Boyle came to love the place, calling it, affectionately, his "treehouse." The couple even raised their three children amongst the Stickley furniture. As for the book, early reviews wonder if the parallels between Boyle and his subject might have made him overly sympathetic:  One reviewer asks if Boyle's residential bias might make him "see the architect as something of a hero, even a kindred spirit?" As for Wright, he never seemed to care much about this particular house; he sent along the plans without viewing the site and never visited the finished product until 50 years later, just before his death. All photos by Anacleto Rapping/Los Angeles Times.