Steve Sikora, co-owner of the Malcom Willey House in Minneapolis, MN, continues his exploration of the home and its influence on architecture and society. In the newest article, he delves into the origins of Frank Lloyd Wright's signature color: Cherokee Red.
Sikora informs us that Cherokee Red is less a specific hue than it is a quality of color. Wright's earliest reds were rich, vibrant hues. A brilliant Chinese red was the color of Wright’s signature square in the title blocks of his drawings, the glazed tiles he assigned to the completed buildings he deemed a total work of art, and the innumerable versions of the Taliesin letterhead. The red painted signature square on the Willey House fireplace armature was drawn directly from the Taliesin letterhead circa in 1934, as specified by Wright.
Though Frank Lloyd Wright was nearly 70 years old before “discovering” Cherokee Red, Sikora notes that ironically, a hue approaching that color may have been lingering in Wright’s subconscious from his earliest years. His first exposure to what he later called Cherokee Red would have been part and parcel of the experience of visiting the Lloyd Jones’ farmsteads as a child, the simple visceral impression of standing before a Wisconsin barn.
"The takeaway is something quite marvelous. Wright makes us see and appreciate a color we may not have noticed before. Like his approach to organic architecture, where mundane building materials are arranged to create spaces of extraordinary beauty, this commonest of earth elements, in pigment form is elevated to an exalted hue. He draws it, literally out of the ground and into the light. Its true beauty is its own simple, organic truth." Read the entire article here.
Dora Mekouar of VOA writes that the architecture of American homes is a lot like America itself — our homes, like our people, draw from many sources. From Colonials to Victorians to Ranch-style houses and McMansions, the story of American residential architecture tends to be eclectic.
"The architect who most defined American residential architecture might well be Frank Lloyd Wright, who eschewed the idea of borrowing architecture from Europe or anywhere else," according to Jackie Craven, a journalist who specializes in architecture and fine arts.
In the first half of the 20th century, up until the 1950s, Wright's designs and philosophy brought a new American modernity to the single family home. He pioneered housing features — such as low horizontal lines and open floor plans — that can still be found in suburban America today.
"He was very interested in a relationship with the land…this idea of relating terraces and the gardens and the landscape into the house…the roof would extend out, blurring the boundaries between inside and out," says architect Susan Piedmont-Palladino, director of Virginia Tech's Washington Alexandria Architecture Center. "Wright really pioneered the unique architecture, and little bits of it do still show up. There's a little Frank Lloyd Wright DNA in split-level houses and ranch houses still." Read more.
Friends of the Bourbonnais Library in Bourbonnais, IL will present "Motoring West the Wright Way: Frank Lloyd Wright & Route 66" by highway historian, David Clark, on Tuesday, March 5, at 7:00 p.m. in the White Oak Room at the Bourbonnais Public Library, 250 W. John Casey Road.
Clark, the Windy City Road Warrior, will describe Wright's annual pilgrimage in his prized automobiles to Taliesen West, Wright's home and architectural school south of Scottsdale, Arizona. Attendees will also hear of the many structures designed by Wright that still exist along the route and can be enjoyed by today's travelers. This free program is open to all ages and registration is not required. More here.
American firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson has turned a garage close to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater into an education center for summer residency students. "High Meadow Studio" will be used as a hub for the Fallingwater Institute's architecture, art and design programs, which take place at the Pennsylvania landmark each year. The building is located a short walk from the cabins that accommodate participants, which Bohlin Cywinski Jackson completed in 2017. The team doubled the garage's existing footprint, adding spaces for fabrication, reviews, storage and other services. A new outdoor work area is intended to strengthen the connection to the rural setting.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson has completed several projects for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy that takes care of Fallingwater, including the adaptive reuse of an 1870s barn on the Fallingwater site in 2006 to create a space for lectures, exhibitions and other events.
Fallingwater is one of eight Wright buildings nominated for UNESCO's World Heritage List, along with the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Robie House in Illinois. See the photos here.
The Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum & The 1927 Buffalo Filling Station (by Frank Lloyd Wright) has announced its new extended “coming of spring” hours. Starting in March, the complex will be open weekends, from 11am to 4pm. The Museum is located at 201 Seneca at 263 Michigan in Downtown Buffalo, NY. $10 Adults – $5 Children (6 TO 15) with Free Parking for Museum Visitors. More.
The Racine Heritage Museum in Racine, WI is presenting “Blessings to Blenders” featuring the works of notable 20th century Italian-American designer, sculptor, and architect Alphonso Iannelli (1888-1965).
Iannelli, as a young artist and designer, was hired by Frank Lloyd Wright to create sculptures for his 1914 Midway Gardens project in Chicago. In later years, Iannelli also created numerous liturgical works, advertising, and industrial product designs—many for Racine-based groups including Horlick’s Malted Milk and St. Patrick’s Church.
This exhibit features a privately held collection that includes full-size charcoal studies for the stained-glass windows at Racine’s St. Patrick’s Church, original designs, promotional materials and products developed for Oster Manufacturing, and advertising material for Horlick’s Malted Milk Co.
The exhibit is guest curated by a team of Iannelli scholars from the Chicago area, including Tim Samuelson, Cultural Historian for the City of Chicago; David Jameson, author of “Alphonso Iannelli: Modern by Design” and “The Industrial Designs of Alphonso Iannelli;” and Eric M. O’Malley, designer and co-founder of Wright Society and the Organic Architecture + Design Archives.
“Blessings to Blenders” runs through October 31, 2019. The Racine Heritage Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. There is no admission fee. More here.
After graduating with a degree in English from the Northern Michigan University (then Northern State Teachers College), John Lautner became an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright for six years, joining one of the first groups of Taliesin Fellows. In 1937 he supervised the construction of two of Wright’s projects, and two years later established his own practice in Los Angeles. Many cite this formative experience as a major influence on Lautner, shaping his holistic approach to architecture, his passion for making, and his modernist sensibilities. Although Lautner left Taliesin in 1938 to establish his own firm in Los Angeles, he would later collaborate with his mentor on a number of Hollywood residences – Sturges, Bell, and Ennis among others – up until 1942.
Although he designed over 200 buildings, including schools, offices, churches and theaters — including his futuristic Mid-Century "Googie" space-age cafes and restaurants — Lautner also created three seminal works in and around Palm Springs, two of which have become landmark residences.
Lautner’s more famous Palm Springs projects were created some years later. The hillside Elrod Residence and the Hope Residence in Southridge, completed in 1968 and 1979 respectively, are more typical of the sculptural, organic architecture for which he became known. They both comprise circular structural elements, panoramic expanses of glass, interiors open to the sky – via generous lightwells or ceiling glazing – and a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding natural environment reinforced by the incorporation of existing rocky outcrops or boulders within the houses. More about Lautner and Palm Springs here.
The Arch Oboler Complex was a partial realization of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1940 design for “Eaglefeather,” a residence that included a gate cottage, stable, and a retreat for Mrs. Eleanor Oboler, both of which were built. “The materials are stone, fashioned in the same manner as Taliesin West, and wood siding,” Bruce Brooks Pfieffer wrote in volume II of Frank Lloyd Wright: The Complete Work. The Malibu, California, structures were unfortunately destroyed by the Woolsey fire.
In the 1940s, radio and television personality Arch Oboler and his wife Eleanor set out to create an estate called "Eaglefeather" on the 360-acre lot they owned in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. Their grand plans included a house, a film-processing studio, stables, and paddock, along with other structures. Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to do the design.
The Obolers lived in the gatehouse until 1987, and it has had a few owners since then. The gate house, originally made of two sections, consisted of a living room, workspace, bedroom, bathroom, stack room, carports, and stalls for horses. Later, the Obolers made this space their full-time residence, and additions— unsupervised by Wright — were built onto the space.
The other building on the complex, known as “Eleanor’s Retreat,” is a small, square getaway cottage, with detailing resembling that planned for "Eaglefeather."
The Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative sends word that the efforts to have the Oboler compound declared an historic structure by California authorities, thereby allowing the salvageable portions of the stone masonry to be granted a waiver from demolition, has been successful. As a result, the owners can now proceed with FEMA to begin the permitting process for rebuilding. The Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative is an organization dedicated to the re-building of demolished Frank Lloyd Wright designed structures on their original sites. More here.
Spanish Architect and 3D artist, David Romero, who is responsible for bringing some of Frank Lloyd Wright's lost and unbuilt masterpieces to life via 3D computer renderings, shares a new collaborative creation: The Spaulding Print Room.
William S. and John T. Spaulding commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright
in 1916 to design a room to store and display their incredible collection of Japanese prints. Assembled over many years, it consisted of over 6000 prints, all of the absolute highest quality and rarity. It was a collection that Wright was intimately familiar with. When Wright went to Japan in the first half of the 1910s, he acted as a buyer for the Spauldings, and acquired between a third and half of their collection for them. The exquisite Print Room Wright designed, unfortunately, was never built.
To carry out the effort of digitally creating this special room, David collaborated with Chad Solon. Chad became fascinated with Frank Lloyd Wright during an internship where he had the opportunity to work on the Burton Westcott House in Springfield, Ohio. He enjoys digitally recreating lost and unbuilt works of architecture and hopes to someday to complete his recreation of Wright’s Midway Gardens.
Learn more about the challenges in bringing Wright's Spaulding Print Room to virtual life and see more fabulous images of it here.