The long-anticipated new museum bridging Chandler, Arizona's history with its future had it's grand opening on Dec. 8. The new Chandler Museum already has lined up a number of exhibits for the coming year. Of special interest is Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior, Jan. 13 through March 17, 2019. In this exhibit experience the creativity and concepts of spaces used by Frank Lloyd Wright, and explore the design of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses, often considered his greatest architectural accomplishment.
Through 19 reproduction drawings, eight photographs, and four photographic murals, the exhibition illustrates the myriad (both obvious and subtle) ways Wright created the visual character of interior space and objects within it, each an essential detail of the larger whole. Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior is organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC, in cooperation with The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ. Read more.
David L. Ulin is the author of Sidewalking: Coming to Terms With Los Angeles. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he is the former book editor and book critic of The Times. In this article Ulin shares his view of the David Gebhard and Robert Winter’s An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles, which offers a complicated, and at times contradictory, engagement with the city. Originally published in 1965 by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, it has just been reissued in a sixth edition that is significantly revised.
“Many professionals simply call it The Bible,” Nathan Masters notes in a foreword that traces the book’s history. Developed for the 1964 annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians. It’s no surprise that Winter and Inman focus on Los Angeles’s signature architects: the Wrights (Frank and Lloyd), Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Gregory Ain. Read more.
David Kipen weaves letters, diary entries, and blog posts from the mid-18th century to the 21st into a stunning narrative. Here is an excerpt from Los Angeles magazine contributor David Kipen’s new book Dear Los Angeles.
"Well—[Hollyhock House] stands. Your home. It is yours for what it has cost you. It is mine for what it has cost me.… Faithfully yours, maimed as it is." —Frank Lloyd Wright, letter to Aline Barnsdall. Read more.
A full-blown resurgence of everything Mid-Century Modern has erupted, perhaps influenced by a TV show: Mad Men. One of the prevailing themes of Mid-Century Modern architecture is a nearly equal emphasis on function and form. The style itself originated—and came to be extremely popular—for both practical and aesthetic reasons.
When it comes to Mid-Century Modern architecture, it's referring to the wave of new homes built in this style between the end of World War II (1945) and the mid-1970s. For the first time, instead of opting for two- or three-story homes full of smaller rooms that fit on in-town lots, Americans were moving to larger plots of land in the suburbs and building relatively sprawling, open-concept homes on a single level. All of this, along with inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright’s innovative designs, the boom of the Space Age, and a desire to reconvene with nature were the key elements that influenced the Mid-Century Modern movement.
"One of the central ideas of these production homes was to build them in a modular fashion in order to simplify construction and keep the costs low," explains John Klopf, a San Francisco-based architect who specializes in Mid-Century Modern homes. "Builders needed the cost-effective construction type in order to provide better amenities and an architect-design production home to their customers at a competitive price." More here.
In 1939, Dr. & Mrs. Clarence Sondern commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build a 900-square-foot home in the heart of Kansas City. Almost ten years later, the second owners asked the famous architect to expand the home to its current 2,965 square feet. Now, Curbed informs us that the property—which is one of only two Wright homes in Kansas City—is on the market for $1.6 million.
The three-bedroom, three-bath Sondern-Adler house uses a combination of cypress and brick for the exterior and boasts interior in-floor heating. The Usonian home was originally designed as an L-shaped building with two wings connected by three squares that included a workspace, laundry and heater room, and bathroom. The 1948 addition added another bedroom, living spaces, and a carport, but maintained the home’s large windows and doors that open out onto three vast stone terrace. Other architectural attributes are classic Usonian, including the home’s flat roof, cantilevered overhang, and clerestory windows. See the pictures here.
Frank Lloyd Wright loved his home state of Wisconsin and greatly appreciated the natural landscape of rolling lush green hills in the Driftless Area. As an ode to this unique landscape, Wright created an abstraction of the area surrounding his home, Taliesin. This abstraction was then made into a colorful curtain for the Hillside Theatre.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's Whirling Arrow invites us to use Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hillside Theatre curtain to inspire an abstraction of one of your favorite landscapes! More here.
Lloyd Wright’s Samuel-Novarro House is still looking for a buyer appreciative of its unconventional design. Nestled into a hillside lot in the Los Feliz Oaks, the home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, with a total of 2,690 square feet of living space. Ornamented with lines of copper siding, the home’s exterior consists of smooth white concrete walls and geometrically arranged window panels.
Inside are concrete and hardwood floors, walls of glass, built-in shelving, and a frosted glass entryway. Balconies and patios run along the sides of the house and a swimming pool is framed by copper-lined walls and fed by a fan-shaped fountain. The home is asking $4.295 million. More about the home's history here.
Seattle may not have many Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes, but he still left a pretty huge mark on the local architecture through Milton Stricker, a Taliesin Fellow and prolific architect in the Northwest. Stricker joined Wright’s Fellowship in 1951, and eventually became known geometrically-complex modern homes that hold space for the surrounding natural world.
A typical Stricker home is usually on a larger, quiet, single-family lot near the water. For this one, Stricker went denser, with a three-bedroom townhouse—designed in 1979 and built in 1981 just as the townhouse was starting to emerge as an option in Seattle—a block from downtown Columbia City. See it here.
When a Portland, OR-based artist needed help last spring constructing an exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR, museum officials called upon the University of Arkansas. To the rescue, UA art students cut hundreds of fern fronds out of emerald paper using a laser cutter, forming the backdrop for “Unfading Flowers,” a dimensional piece based on Emily Dickinson’s poem, “There is Another Sky.”
Collaboration between the museum and the university is becoming more common. Sometimes it’s spontaneous, but it’s highly intentional, and they’ve only begun to explore possibilities. A university 3D printer was called for to create furniture for the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit and a reproduction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Origami chair. Architecture students helped design and build the welcoming pavilion for Wright's Bachman-Wilson House, which was disassembled in New Jersey and reassembled in its entirety at Crystal Bridges in 2014.
Last year’s visionary gift from the Walton Charitable Support Foundation, which established the UA School of Art, encourages the alliance, with the aim of propelling the school as a center of excellence in art education, art history, graphic design and studio art curriculum. Read more.
Matthew Pera of the Marin Independent Journal gives an update on the roof renovation of the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, Calif.
The effort is a boon for Marin County, said Mark Schatz, a local architect and member of a committee that advises the Board of Supervisors on maintenance of the Civic Center. The county, he said, was lucky to commission the fabled architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design its government headquarters and should do everything it can to sustain the historic building. The 470,168-square-foot Civic Center building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Workers preparing for the project took great care in matching the color of the new roof with the original hue, dubbed “Marin Blue." The story behind the blue roof is a legend that’s been muddled over time. Wright, who died before the building was constructed, had chosen a gold color for the crown of his creation to match the shade of the surrounding hills.
“The story I heard and loved was that Wright’s widow came in one day and said his ghost came to her in the middle of the night and told her the roof should be blue,” Schatz said. “So they had to change it.”
But the commonly accepted explanation is that gold paint made to withstand winter weather was unavailable when the building was being constructed, so designers pivoted to blue as an alternative. More here.