The couple who bought Wright's Baker House house in Wilmette, IL this month plan to rehabilitate it extensively over several years, calling the effort just the kind of project they were looking for.
“It doesn’t scare us,” said Amy Bauer, who with her husband, Eric Bauer, bought the five-bedroom house on Lake Avenue from a family that had owned it since 1957. The 4,800-square-foot house, on about six-tenths of an acre, has exterior stucco damage, utilities that are more than half a century old, a somewhat awkward floorplan in the bedroom sections and other deficits, but “we have a sense of pride that we can be the ones who bring this house back up to where it should be,” she said.
The plans include overhauling all dated mechanicals, installing a new kitchen in the style of the house, and possibly re-creating a lost mural in the dining room. Read more here.
The Auditorium Theater in Chicago is inviting everyone to its 130th birthday party next month. The legendary venue is opening its doors to the public all day on December 9 for free tours and an open house.
What you might know about this architectural feat is that it’s a National Historic Landmark designed by the iconic architects of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan. Another famous architect worked on elements of the theater as well—Frank Lloyd Wright. At the time, he was a draftsman studying under Adler and Sullivan. He called the theater “the greatest room for music and opera in the world—bar none.”
In honor of its anniversary, Curbed Chicago takes a closer look at the theater and dives into other parts of the landmark’s history. Read more here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust is stepping up its suite of domestic and overseas excursions through its Travel Wright program. Most Wright fans will have visited at least one of his buildings, be it the Guggenheim Museum in New York or the newly restored Robie House in Chicago, but these curated trips offer a more immersive experience.
The packages don’t come cheap, but then neither does the cost of preserving Wright’s extraordinary and prolific legacy. “These excursions offer a benefit to our 2,500 members,” says trust president and CEO Celeste Adams. Members enjoy a reduced rate. Read more here.
Wright on the Park, the non-profit organization which owns the Historic Park Inn Hotel, offers guided tours of the famed hotel, as well as souvenirs, books, gifts, and artwork showcasing Mason City’s rich architectural history.
The building, which originally also included a bank and office space, was designed and by Frank Lloyd Wright, who also initiated construction, It is the last remaining Wright hotel in the world. Tours are given every Thursday through Sunday. For times and admission prices, visit here.
Last month, The Dollop—a popular American history podcast—went to Wisconsin. The Dollop is known to base live episodes on topics with at least some connection to the host cities, and Anthony (the historian and storyteller of the duo) did not disappoint.
The Madison episode is about Frank Lloyd Wright. Over the course of more than 90 minutes, the show chronicles the complicated life of the Richland Center, Wisconsin native and short-tenured University Of Wisconsin student. Though it gets a little explicit at times and it doesn’t exactly cast Wright in an altogether favorable light, it’s extremely informative and the steady diet of characters and bits Reynolds employs throughout the episode are hilarious. You can listen to it here.
Wright in Kankakee is offering the community’s first responders with a complimentary one-hour tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright B. Harley Bradley House at 701 S. Harrison, Kankakee, Illinois.
The tour will be free for individuals with a credential showing they are an active member of a police department, fire department, emergency medical certified first responder or a member of the military. The complimentary tour can also include one family member or friend.
November tours take place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m.
December tours take place Fridays, Saturday and Sunday at noon and 1 p.m.
Tours are limited. Reservations are requested by calling 815-936-9630 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Christie House is one of a handful of houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to be built in New Jersey. It has been beautifully preserved, with the original building elements of cypress, brick, and glass. Now realtor.com has an interesting video showing the house in all its glory. See it here.
Thanks to Mary Jane Hamilton for sending word about an upcoming auction on December 11 of a large house on 27 acres in Sauk County Wisconsin designed by Frank Lloyd wright apprentice, John H. Howe.
The home features 10,000 feet of formal and casual entertaining spaces including the voluminous Garden Room, five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, including its two-bedroom apartment for guests, family or a caretaker. Freedom Ridge Estate is filled with signature Wright touches, including triangles, built-in cabinetry, and shelving. The home was designed in “zones,” meaning spaces were grouped based on their function across its two levels.
The sealed bid auction has a minimum bid of $525,000 and will go from there. Check out more details here.
Speaking of Jack Howe: Steve Sikora, co-owner of the Willey House in Minneapolis, provides a review of the newly finished documentary by Rob Barros, John H. Howe, Architect — Frank Lloyd Wright’s Master of Perspective.
"The long anticipated release of this labor of love has finally arrived and it was worth the wait. Although a greater depth of detail can be found in the 2015 publication John H. Howe, Architect: From Taliesin Apprentice to Master of Organic Design by Jane King Hession and Tim Quigley, Barros’ documentary does what is best accomplished in cinema. It artfully weaves together Howe’s own words with those of his peers, scholars, wife and clients to tell the story of his long life and career with first person immediacy.
Individual commissions are not the focus here, instead, one is immersed in the sheer volume of his creative output, both while serving as “accomplice” to Wright at Taliesin and later in his personal practice after his departure from Taliesin.
The work Howe accomplishes while serving his term in Sandstone Prison, as conscientious objector during WWII is particularly astonishing. While incarcerated, he continued to submit “Box Projects” the traditional gifts given by the Fellowship to Frank Lloyd Wright at his birthday and Christmas. His ideas, developed in isolation, and the drawings themselves are extraordinary. Two of those submissions, the “Big Project” and an airport design, anticipate developments in architecture that were decades in the future.
The storytelling in this film is beautifully illustrated with a vast number of Howe’s singular renderings in color pencil. It even employs a presentation technique he used. The early years of the Taliesin Fellowship, of particular interest to me, are brought to life though John Howe’s personal photos and films made by fellow apprentice, Alden Dow. The well-crafted narrative is further supported with a music bed written by Rick Wakeman of the British progressive rock band Yes. The soundtrack is both entirely fresh and appropriate to the subject matter. The music, in support of the movie’s deft editing, seamlessly knits together and paces the film.
Although the tensions and darker corners of John Howe’s life are not on display here, nor in the aforementioned book by Hession and Quigley, we understand the love and admiration Howe earned from those surrounding him in his life. Also clear is that without Howe, the ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright would not have been so clearly delineated or as beautifully expressed. I highly recommend seeing this film."
Get your copy of this fantastic documentary here.
The Art Newspaper reports that the Currier Museum of Art says it has acquired a second house in Manchester, New Hampshire designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of just seven so-called Usonian Automatic glass-and-concrete houses sketched out by the architect.
The museum’s director, Alan Chong, says that an anonymous donor furnished $970,000 to purchase the 1957 home, which had been listed with an asking price of $850,000. The original owners, Dr Toufic Kalil and his wife, Mildred, had died in 1990 and passed it on to one of the doctor’s siblings, John Kalil, who died last year.
The museum director says that the impending sale had posed the risk that a new owner would enlarge the historic house or rip out the kitchen or bathrooms. Instead, the house will be preserved and opened for guided tours, like the other Wright home on the same street that the Currier also owns. Dr Isadore and Lucille Zimmerman left their house, built in 1951 with brick, a concrete floor mat and large windows in a “classic Usonian” style, to the museum in 1988 along with an operating endowment that finances its maintenance.
Chong plans to start raising funds for an endowment for the Kalil House—“That’s a problem we will solve,” he says—and anticipates that tours could begin next April. “We will continue to make adjustments, but it’s worth revealing now as a work in progress,” he says. “We’re 90% of the way there.” Read more here.