Wallpaper magazine provides a window into the efforts by LA-based designer and developer Xorin Balbes to bring Lloyd Wright's iconic Los Angeles 1926 concrete block design, the Sowden House, into the 21st Century. While many of the updates to the interior would likely make Lloyd queasy, I guess we can be happy the house wasn't torn down. Read more here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation informs us that newly installed Kiosks offer Taliesin West visitors a new way to explore the great architect’s history, impact, and legacy. Visitors are invited to scroll through three interactive kiosks to gain a deeper understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, the Taliesin Fellowship, and Wright’s homes Taliesin and Taliesin West.
The outdoor kiosks and 19” screens are built to withstand the harsh desert environment with integrated temperature controls, an optically bonded screen with built in IR protection, and waterproof audio inputs and speakers. To blend into the surrounding landscape, custom desert masonry posts were constructed to house each kiosk. One of the kiosks is ADA accessible.
The kiosks are located on the patio, just outside the Frank Lloyd Wright Store. Essential seed money for the kiosk project was awarded by American Express Corporate Social Responsibility, which allowed us to custom-design the three monitors. Creation of the interactive content materials was supported by the Donaldson Charitable Trust. The project was funded in part by a grant from the Bonderman Southwest Intervention Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. More here.
More than 200 people from all over North America, Canada, and Japan attended the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s conference in Madison, Oct. 10-14. There were educational presentations, tours of more than 20 buildings, special events, and more. Among many highlights were a tour of both the Jacobs I and Jacobs II Houses following an impassioned presentation on the restoration of Jacobs I by owner and 2018 Wright Spirit Award honoree James Dennis. Everyone enjoyed a full afternoon to freely roam the grounds and buildings of Taliesin followed by Benefit dinner in the house at sunset and an evening concert in the theater. Read more.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy welcomed four honorees to the October conference in Madison: Rebecca Hagen, Registrar, Fallingwater (Masters in Museum Studies, Johns Hopkins University, 2013); Kristi Jamrisko Gross, Museum Guide, Pope-Leighey House, (M.A. in Art History and Archaeology, University of Maryland, College Park, 2015); Allison Semrad, Robert Silman Fellow for Preservation Engineering at National Trust for Historic Preservation (MS in Historic Preservation, Columbia University 2017); and Ashley Williams, Graduate Student (M.A., History of Art and Architecture: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2018).
Read each of the honorees reflections on their first Conservancy conference here.
So many important Wright sites are addressed in the latest Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy report. We hear about the Pope-Leighey House; the Euchtman House in Baltimore; the Elizabeth and Robert Llewellyn Wright House in Bethesda, Maryland; the Clifton and George Lewis House, Spring House; and the Lindholm House at Polymath Park in Acme, Pennsylvania.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church was notified in October that they have been accepted into the National Fund for Sacred Places program, run through Partners for Sacred Places. This program will provide donor capacity building and grant money for restoration work. The church will soon announce their selection of a preservation architect who will work with them to provide a road map for future restoration.
The Conservancy has been working throughout the past year with the National Park Service and representatives of the Frank Lloyd Wright World Heritage Council to revise our 2015 nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List to address comments on the initial draft of the nomination by international reviewers. At the end of September, the nomination writing team completed revisions to all of the nomination’s components and sent it for review by the National Park Service for additional analysis and comment. After a final review in October, the Conservancy will submit the nomination package to the World Heritage Centre before Thanksgiving for consideration at the World Heritage Committee’s summer 2019 meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The Conservancy is also asking for assistance in helping to draw attention to the urgency of the situation of the David and Gladys Wright House. Unless a preservation-minded buyer comes forward who can meet the seller’s asking price and finalize the application for landmark designation, or donate a preservation easement, this important Wright-designed house is a prime candidate for being torn down so the valuable land can be redeveloped into multiple new-construction homes. The destruction of the David and Gladys Wright House would result in an irreversible and devastating loss to the canon of American architecture—comparable to the demolition in 1950 of Wright’s groundbreaking Larkin Building. Serious purchase inquiries can be directed to bgordon[at]savewright.org. Read the report here.
The Bay Area Television Archive recently shared a "kinescope" recording that was originally made in 1953 by filming the picture from a live video monitor. KPIX-TV and the San Francisco Museum of Art present an episode in the "Discovery" series about the philosophy and work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). Wright is interviewed in the studio by Dr. Lloyd Luckmann and discusses: the influence of Louis Sullivan (skyscrapers); "organic" architecture; what distinguishes his own work; his V.C. Morris Building on San Francisco's Maiden Lane and the responsibility of modern architects: "I don't think that architects have lived up to their duty. As well as their privilege."
The recording also includes a message from Virginia Arnold about how the San Francisco Museum of Art has changed and scenes of Wright explaining the design of his "Butterfly Wing" Bridge to Luckmann, which is being proposed as another span across San Francisco Bay (it was never built). See it here.
Global Construction Review (GCR) reports that a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), which covers the history of art and design, has been announced for Stratford, east London in the United Kingdom.
“V&A East” will be located on two sites at the former Olympic Park. One will be a five-story building, designed by Dublin architect O’Donnell + Tuomey that will contain two galleries, and the other will be a collection and research centre, designed by New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Britain’s Austin-Smith:Lord.
Of particular note is the fact that one of the new museum site's permanent features will include Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1930s plywood office for American businessman Edgar Kaufmann. Read more here.