Frank Lloyd Wright played with Froebel blocks as a child and the walls of his nursery were decorated with engravings of buildings. He went on to become one of the most iconic architects in American and world history, and perhaps it was his early exploration of structures that determined his life’s trajectory.
Today youngsters may be setting their own constructive career path thanks to MoLab, Inc. This nonprofit organization hosts Camp Spark – Igniting Knowledge! which focuses on different themes throughout the summer. The architecture and design session has proven to be popular with campers. This year campers also got an opportunity to build interiors and exteriors in the virtual world using SketchUp. “It’s what real architects use,” said Aimee Hills, camp director and co-founder of MoLab, Inc. “It’s education software so it’s free and user friendly, even for beginners.” In addition to making models and renderings, campers also learned about Frank Lloyd Wright and his contributions to architecture and design.
Led by the camp’s instructor Michael Mezich, participants studied Wright’s spaces and learned that he often designed complementary furniture to occupy his interiors. Campers took inspiration from that practice and, using only cardboard, created a chair in two hours that could hold their body weight. “All of them accomplished it and one group even did a toilet,” laughed Hills.
The pinnacle of the camp was a tour of Lewis Spring House, the only private residence Wright designed that was built in Florida. In 1950, George and Clifton Lewis asked Wright to design a home for them. They chose an idyllic, five-acre parcel in Leon County that featured a natural spring. Construction on the home was completed in 1954 and the Lewis family moved in. The guiding philosophy of Spring House Institute, Inc. is a continuation of Clifton and George Lewis’ original vision. With help from individuals and organizations like MoLab, Inc., young people can continue to learn about the buildings that make their communities unique. By doing so, the next generation is empowered to take care of their architectural treasures like Lewis Spring House.
You can tour Lewis Spring House every second Sunday of the month from 2- 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 and children under 12 can tour for free. For more details and to learn about personal tours available by appointment, visit www.preservespringhouse.org. Read more here.
Everyone will be able to get a glimpse inside Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Hollyhock House from the comfort of their own homes, thanks to virtual reality tours planned to begin this fall. The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) in collaboration with the Department on Disability (DOD) and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation announced the planned virtual accessibility experience in a press release August 13th.
According to the press release, the tour will use “the most appropriate, emerging technologies to create elegant, user-centered, and inclusive experiences for visitors of all abilities.” Los Angeles-based firm AVA Inclusivity was selected to create the virtual simulation, which is intended to provide a lifelike experience for users with disabilities, living across the globe, or who otherwise are not able to see the home in person.
“Everyone should be able to experience L.A.’s cultural landmarks,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Hollyhock House is a remarkable piece of architecture, and virtual reality will allow people with disabilities and the elderly to explore a location with deep history in our city.” Read more.
Taliesin West, Wright's winter home and studio in Scottsdale, Arizona hopes to get some upgrades with the help of a $176,106 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, so long at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation can raise about a half million dollars in matching funds or in-kind donations.
The money will help fix decaying electrical, water and sewage systems, said Stuart Graff, president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The money will also help make Taliesin West more accessible to those who can't climb steps or traverse gravel walkways to get to certain areas, he said. "Because of the nature of the architecture, there are issues for a lot of visitors with mobility challenges to navigate this site, which is terraced into the foothills of the McDowells," Graff said. The foundation has tried to combat this issue with the Taliesin West Digital Experience, a virtual tour of the site that lets visitors view the building with 3-D goggles and through an interactive computer screen.
The site also contains aging and unreliable electrical panels from the 1950s, as well as theatrical systems that don’t meet current safety standards, according to the National Endowment for the Humanities.The Foundation is reaching out to other organizations, including those focused on addressing accessibility challenges, as well as visitors for donations to obtain the matching grant. More here.
Frank Lloyd Wright, recognized as the American Institute of Architects’ “greatest American architect of all time,” was embraced by bicyclists this weekend in Oak Park, IL. The Oak Park Cycle Club’s 12th annual Wright Ride took place Sunday, Aug. 19. The Wright Ride consisted of four different routes, varying in length at 10, 30, 50, and 72 miles, all of which started in Oak Park.
“I think it’s fantastic that it continues in Oak Park,” said Mike Stewart, co-chair for the Wright Ride committee. “It showcases all of Oak Park and the surrounding areas, as well as gives facts and history of Oak Park and its houses built by Frank Lloyd Wright. It brings richness to the ride,” he said. Even those who live in Oak Park might not know of Frank Lloyd Wright and the details behind the houses and their architecture.
Benefactors include the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust and several not-for-profit bike organizations. The event raised $10,000 last year. This time around, the goal was the same. Read more.
The School of Architecture at Taliesin presents an invitation to a 2018 house concert series featuring some of the most exquisite Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the Chicago area. The next event will be September 16, 2018, at one of the most picturesque houses Wright designed in his Prairie years, the Glasner House. This remarkable home makes full use of its dramatic setting on the edge of the ravines in Glencoe to make you perch at the very edge of design. Featuring adjoining public rooms that move out into nature while inviting the setting deep into the home, the Glasner House (1905) has now been meticulously restored and never looked better.
The Avanti Guitar Trio will fill the house with equally beautiful music. All concert proceeds will be directed to the School of Architecture at Taliesin for student scholarships that are merit and need based. The School of Architecture at Taliesin is a three-year Master of Architecture (M. Arch) program that continues the Fellowship program founded by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1932. The School is based at the Wright-designed campuses of Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. Evolving from Frank Lloyd Wright’s precepts of organic architecture, their design process unfolds out of existing cultural and physical conditions, materials, and landscapes into well-crafted structures for human activities. At Taliesin, the mission is to change the world through architecture.
Your help is needed to meet current operating needs and to build an endowment that will support student scholarships. SOAT is asking donors to support the School and help them succeed in this exciting new chapter. Funds raised from the concert series will help to provide annual scholarships to current and incoming students that are merit and need based with additional specific focus on individuals who excel in the interdisciplinary principles at Taliesin.
There is limited seating, so advanced reservations are required. All Concert Times are 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM. Tickets are $150 for each concert and can be purchased online or by phone. Read more.
WGN Radio features the John Williams Full Show Podcast with Williams interviewing David Bagnall, curator at the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, about the architect’s legacy. Listen to it here.
John Waters, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s preservation programs manager, recently wrote about the preservation issues at the Freeman House for the FLWBC website.
The last of Wright’s Los Angeles textile block houses, the Freeman House has a complicated history. Waters states, "Soon after occupying the house, the Freemans brought in another major figure of 20th-century architecture, Rudolph Schindler, to make alterations, which he continued to do until his death in 1953. These modifications included built-in furniture, cabinetry and the altering of certain walls, as the Freemans adjusted the house to their lifestyles. Schindler’s interventions make for a complex site with a layered history, where preservation concepts, such as “period of significance” are not easily addressed. Additionally, the experimental nature of Wright’s textile blocks made them a challenging material from the beginning. Last, but certainly not least, the house suffered significant damage during the 1994 Northridge earthquake." Read more.
Michael Desmond, a Frank Lloyd Wright scholar and member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s Board of Trustees, highlights the influence of Japanese art on Wright’s understanding of the world around him by pairing the art with Wright’s writing on the topic. Read it here.
The Arizona works of Frank Lloyd Wright will be celebrated Saturday, Sept. 15, through the end of the year at the Gallery @ the Library, Scottsdale Civic Center, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Scottsdale Public Art, in cooperation with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the Arizona Heritage Center, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will present Footprints on the Desert: Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona. The exhibition features notable Wright-designed buildings in Arizona, including Wright’s winter home, studio and school: Taliesin West, which is in Scottsdale. Other projects featured through images and artifacts include the David Wright House and the Harold C. Price House. The exhibit also offers the chance to see additional Wright designs that were never built, according to a release.
An opening reception will be 6:30-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, and feature a talk by Scottsdale architect Vernon Swaback, a Wright apprentice and former director of planning for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Scottsdale Arts Education & Outreach will offer four free workshops at the library throughout the exhibition’s run. Read more here.