The Frank Lloyd Wright Sondern-Adler house in the heart of Kansas City just sold at auction for nearly $1 million this last Monday afternoon to a bidder from Nebraska. KMBC 9 got a last look inside. See it here.
The recent auction of one of the most architecturally distinctive homes in Kansas City — the Sondern-Adler house, designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright — has preservationists worried.
What if, following the sale on Monday, the stone, low-slung Wright house, by some twist of fate, goes to the wrong buyer, someone who one day, gulp, decides to tear down the 80-year-old home?
"This is not a protected site. There are no restrictions on the house, making changes or whatever. In this situation, they are completely free to do whatever they like,” according to Eric Bradley, spokesman for Heritage Auctions, which is selling the Wright house.
The hope among preservationists, of course, is whoever purchases the home will want to keep it as is.
“Buildings of this caliber should be considered in the same class as a Picasso or Renoir painting, or a Calder or Giacometti sculpture,” said architecture critic Alan Hess, a California author of four books on Wright including, Frank Lloyd Wright: Houses. “They can certainly be appreciated, and add to the quality of life of the owner and the public in the same way as a piece of fine art.”
Let's hope the new owner from Nebraska who won the auction will have the heart to love and preserve this architectural gem. Read more here:
Few architects have had so transformative an effect on how we live and think about home design as Frank Lloyd Wright. The things we take for granted today — open floor plans, natural materials, oversized windows, and seamless transitions to the outdoors — all arose from his singular and inventive vision. The evolution of that aesthetic can now be seen at the District Architecture Center, 421 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C., where “Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior” is on display until Sept. 6. The exhibition is curated by Virginia Terry Boyd, emerita professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Design Studies Department. More information here.
In 1927, architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed a fuel filling station intended for the corner of Michigan Avenue and Cherry Street. Frank Lloyd Wright called his filling station "an ornament to the pavement." Unfortunately, the station was never built.
In 2002, planning began to construct the filling station as a one-of-a-kind installation to complement automobiles, motorcycles and bicycles on display at the existing museum. Jim Sandoro and architect, Patrick Mahoney, traveled to Scottsdale, Arizona to the Frank Lloyd Wright archives to locate drawings related to the Buffalo design. Rights to build from drawings were secured and the stunning design can now be seen in Buffalo. A few pictures of the Frank Lloyd Wright Filling Station at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum can be seen here.
Much of Frank Lloyd Wright’s life and work has intrigued people all over the world, but the period of his life from 1903 to 1914 was especially tumultuous. In this time, Wright experienced a devastating fire, complex relationships, and other intense hardships. Over the years, these stories have inspired books and continue to fascinate Wright fans. The Whirling Arrow informs us that Wright’s life and work are taking the stage at the Arizona Opera in September 2019.
In the summer of 1989, composer Daron Hagen was approached by the Madison Opera in Wisconsin to create a musical interpretation of this fascinating period of Wright’s life. Over the next few years, Hagen partnered with Paul Muldoon, an Irish poet and librettist, to create “Shining Brow.” Named as a nod to Wright’s two Taliesins (Taliesin means "shining brow" in Welsh), the two-act opera is inspired by the events of Wright’s early life. Hagen and Muldoon thoroughly researched Wright’s life, and consulted with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation; Wright apprentice, Edgar Tafel; Wright’s close friend and personal photographer, Pedro Guerrero; and a number of other Taliesin Fellows and Wright experts.
The work debuted in April 1993, and received critical acclaim from the New York Times, calling it, “effective and stimulating,” and noting Hagen’s “gift for the big tune.” There was quick interest from other opera companies in putting on their own productions of “Shining Brow,” and the show was reproduced several times over the years—each time with a slightly different arrangement and location.
Hagen feels as though Wright’s story portrayed in “Shining Brow” continues to connect with audiences on an emotional level today because it deals with many basic human issues everyone can relate to. “The opera’s story contains all the elements of great lyric theatre: love, betrayal, great dreams dashed, murder, personal reinvention, and tragedy,” Hagen said. “The opera centers on these events and probes the all-important, secular humanistic struggle between art and life. This is not just a timeless story, it is the human existential question—what role does faith play, and what is faith in our time? Mr. Wright struggled with it, as we do today.”
The Arizona Opera will debut a new version of “Shining Brow,” which has been revived and reimagined. This version of “Shining Brow” will premiere at the Arizona Opera in Phoenix on September 27, 28, and 29, 2019. Additional shows will be held in Tucson on October 5 and 6, 2019. To learn more about “Shining Brow,” or to purchase tickets visit AzOpera.org. More here.
Eureka Springs, Arkansa is an incredibly popular place for destination weddings, and that’s due in part to Thorncrown Chapel. Designed by E. Fay Jones and constructed in 1980, the design recalls the Prairie School of architecture popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright, with whom Jones had apprenticed.
Thorncrown Chapel rises forty-eight feet into the Ozark sky. This magnificent wooden structure contains 425 windows and over 6,000 square feet of glass. It sits atop over 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone, making it blend perfectly with its setting. The only steel in the structure forms a diamond shaped pattern in its wooden trusses. The building has a native flagstone floor surrounded with a rock wall which gives the feeling that the chapel is part of its Ozark hillside. The inspiration for Thorncrown Chapel was Sainte Chappelle, Paris’ light filled gothic chapel. Fay affectionately labeled Thorncrown’s style as “Ozark Gothic." See it here.
"Birdwing," a large modernist house built in 1965 in Minnetonka, MN designed by Lloyd Wright, is slated for demolition; its parklike 12-acre estate, Birdsong, will be carved into lots for 13 single-family luxury homes. Unfortunately the house has suffered from changes and other indignities over the years and is now going to be lost without much fanfare by preservationists. In the wake of losing so many other architectural treasures in the Minnetonka area, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Second Little House, it's hardly a shock that junior's lesser work would not be safe. More here.