Curbed Chicago features Frank Lloyd Wright's Coonley Playhouse (1912) that is now back on the market. The historic property recently received additional renovations and returns with a lower asking price.The unusual school-turned-home is seeking $750,000, down from its 2018 asking price of $800,000.
Located on the grounds of the Avery Coonley Estate in Riverside, Illinois, the former kindergarten reflects many of Wright's trademark concepts such as a projecting slab roof and contrasting horizontal and vertical elements.
In 1917, architect William Drummond expanded the structure and converted it into a home. Over the following decades, the playhouse underwent multiple modifications, additions, and—more recently—restorations that are respectful of Wright’s original vision. The reproduction art glass windows with their playful, almost confetti-like designs remain the stand-out feature.
The Avery Coonley Playhouse listed last summer for the first time in almost four decades. It now returns with additional modifications. “The current owners spent the last few months working to make the house more move-in ready,” according to listing agent Mike McCurry . See it here.
In Willey House Stories Part 15, Steve Sikora, co-owner of the Malcolm Willey House, continues his exploration of the home and its influence on architecture and society.
"Frank Lloyd Wright wrote and lectured extensively about poetry in architecture. His poetry described an economy of form and eloquence of expression that exposed the deepest natural truths as profound beauty. Evidently the concept of poetry was a topic of discussion when it came to the design of Nancy Willey’s future home as well. Willey House scheme one was a two story design that reluctant, Twin Cities builders estimated at nearly double Nancy’s budget, unaffordable, even in the stagnant economy of the Great Depression." Read the entire article here.
Mid-Century Modern Midland, a project of the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio, was recognized by Docomomo US, as one of 10 winners of the 2019 Modernism in America Awards.
Craig McDonald, director of the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio and MCMM, and Carol Neff, coordinator of MCMM, accepted the award during a ceremony June 19 at Design Within Reach in New York City. McDonald said, "To be among a list of 10 honorees which included the works of Eero Saarinen, Philip Johnson, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, affirms the national significance of Midland's unique architectural heritage." More here.
The Wayfarers Chapel, otherwise known as “The Glass Church” is a stunning architectural jewel nestled into the Californian redwoods of Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles, California. This stone and glass chapel, built between 1949-1951, sits above Abalone cove and overlooks the scenic Palos Verdes peninsula. Here Elizabeth Schellenberg, a member of the Swedenborgian Church, dreamed of having a chapel where travelers could stop, reset, and give thanks to God.
Southern California architect Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, was asked to head Elizabeth’s dream after World War II. Lloyd Wright incorporated geometric elements and the natural surroundings of the redwood trees to give nature a centerpiece in the chapel’s design.
The chapel itself features modern architecture complete with cathedral-sized windows granting its visitors to be bathed in sunlight glimpsing between the trees and a panoramic view of both Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean. Another breathtaking natural element perfectly displayed is the ever-in-bloom rose garden, often captured in dreamy wedding photos, taken by photographers who work closely with the chapel staff. Years after the chapel was completed, extensions including a tower and a visitor center were added. While the original visitor’s center was lost in a landslide, the current visitor’s center is open daily and to the public. See the “The Glass Church” here.
As the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation embraces more sustainable, innovative practices in their preservation work and beyond, The Whirling Arrow is sharing some of these methods, and providing some tips on how you can incorporate these practices into your own home and life. In this article, they discuss the topic of geothermal energy and share how they have harnessed it from the Earth to cool and heat Taliesin. Read about this interesting subject here.
On this list of important buildings in Sarasota, Florida, is Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, designed in 1967 by Taliesin Associated Architects, the successor firm of Frank Lloyd Wright's. Although not technically a "Sarasota school of architecture" building, the structure is a lasting statement about the importance the community has long placed on quality design.
Before the Van Wezel, which was completed in late 1969, the cultural scene was confined to the Municipal Auditorium. It remains a fine building in its own right, but the Van Wezel brought Sarasota into the cultural big leagues. Acclaimed for its architecture and its acoustics, the VW has welcomed big-name orchestras, entertainers, musical productions, guest speakers — and countless graduates. It has been voted the No. 1 performing-arts hall in the United States on several occasions by Venues Today magazine. See the photo and the rest of the list here.
I recently finished reading the new book Wright and New York by Anthony Alofsin, FAIA and found it an engaging, enjoyable, and enlightening read. The book details Wright's complex relationship with the country's largest metropolis and how it impacted his life and work during the tumultuous middle decades of his long career.
I especially enjoyed the detailed exploration of Wright's friendship and working relationship with William Norman Guthrie, which lead to the unbuilt designs for Wright's St. Mark's-in-the-Bouwerie and the "Modern Cathedral." Guthrie turns out to be as interesting a personality as Wright himself and the importance of their relationship on Wright's career was something that I was not very familiar with before reading Alofsin's book.
This is just one facet of the fascinating narrative that Alofsin weaves about Wright and New York City that you'll discover in this book. I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about this aspect in the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Read more and find out how to get a copy of the book here.