Preservationist and film maker Michael Miner, who has a nonprofit called the Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative based in Palm City, Florida, announced this week he had bought the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Pappas House in St. Louis with plans to restore it and turn it into a museum and multi-use facility. Pappas family members and Miner closed on the deal Thursday, with the selling price not immediately available.
The house had been put up for sale in spring 2018 after owner Bette Pappas died at age 91. It had an asking price of $1.95 million and was later formally listed at $1.2 million. Pappas and her husband, Ted, had the house designed by Wright and built most of it themselves, completing it in 1964. They were the only owners.
The couple’s three grown daughters had wanted someone to preserve the house but struggled to find a buyer. A different local group formed a nonprofit foundation with the intent to raise about $2 million to buy and refurbish it.
Miner said in a statement that in the long term his group wants the house to become an overnight and event rental venue, corporate retreat, education center, and house museum. “We plan to keep it a very busy place, with access for everyone,” he said.
The house sits on more than 3 acres of rolling, wooded land at Mason Road and Interstate 64 (Highway 40). The Usonian Automatic home has four bedrooms and is 3,000 square feet. Read more here.
The National Park Service has announced the addition of five more properties to the National Register of Historic Properties. Two houses of particular interest to organic architecture fans in Fayetteville, Arkansas, were named to the register: The Joe Marsh and Maxine Clark House (built 1959-61), designed by E. Fay Jones and the John G. Williams House No. 2 (1969-70), designed by Williams.
The Joe Marsh and Maxine Clark House was designed and built by architect E. Fay Jones between 1959 and 1961 for the couple who had retired to Fayetteville, Arkansas. The design of the house reflects the philosophy and principles of organic design that characterized Fay Jones’s architectural career. The design also reflects his focus on details that fit within the overall design aesthetic of each project and the beauty of native natural materials nestled within the Arkansas landscape, a consideration especially important for the Clarks, who were passionate about understanding and preserving the right natural heritage of the Ozarks. Read about the other properties and see the photos here.
Preservationists can breathe a little sigh of relief: The new owner of the Wright-designed Sondern-Adler House, George Martin, has revealed last week that his plan is to keep the Kansas City, MO house nearly unchanged. He will redo what needs to be updated, such as the home’s already previously renovated bathrooms and the kitchen. Heating, cooling, some plumbing and electricity need upgrades as well. But Martin plans to keep intact Wright’s exterior and its cypress wood interior and expansive windows. For him, he said, the home will serve as a personal retreat. He still plans to keep it on occasional public home tours, as it has been in the past. Read more here
The exterior restoration of the historic Sullivan Building in Newark, OH has taken longer than expected, but should be completed by the end of May, Licking County Foundation director Connie Hawk told Newark Rotary on Tuesday. The $7.9 million project will return the downtown Newark corner of North Third and West Main streets to 1915, when famous architect Louis Sullivan's jewel box bank building opened to the public. The interior should be completed in 2021 and Explore Licking County tourism bureau will move into the space in 2022. More here.
WTTW host and producer Geoffrey Baer has done TV travelogues highlighting Chicago’s geography, history, and culture by various modes, including “Bicycling the Boulevards” and “The Chicago River Tour.” Now he’s highlighting our storied rapid transit system and its importance to local communities as a convenient and affordable way to get around, in the new documentary “Chicago by ‘L’,” debuting on Wednesday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. on WTTW.
Near the Oak Park Avenue Green Line station, the crew explored the history of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio, Unity Temple, and other local houses he designed. More here.
The Darwin D. Martin House is pleased to partner with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Public Art Initiative to present an exciting installation featuring artist Jun Kaneko's monumental ceramic sculptures from May 22, 2020 until October 3, 2021. The installation will comprise seven of the artist’s enormous, freestanding ceramic works for outdoor display on the newly restored grounds of the Martin House estate, as well as a series of smaller works on view indoors.
Born in Japan in 1942, Kaneko is an internationally renowned artist primarily known for his pioneering work in ceramic materials. His large pieces, called dangos, are the result of a complex traditional Japanese raku firing and glazing process that produces unique geometric shapes and vibrant color combinations.
“We are proud to partner with the Albright-Knox, and it will be a joy to collaboratively present this playful artwork that will engage and inspire visitors of all ages,” said Mary Roberts, Martin House Executive Director. “Much like Frank Lloyd Wright, Kaneko is a pioneer in his field of artistic design, pushing the boundaries of materials and their use.” Find out more details on the exhibit here.
The Dallas Theater Center announced that distinguished New York interdisciplinary design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro – whose work includes the redesign of the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts Campus and the Museum of Modern Art – will develop plans leading to renovation of Dallas’ famed Kalita Humphreys Theater, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The building has been home to DTC since its opening in 1959, and the renovation efforts aim to preserve the theater’s distinct architecture while equipping it to inspire a new generation. A steering committee made up of diverse community stakeholders selected Diller Scofidio + Renfro after a thorough selection process, and the firm – with DTC – will develop a master plan for the theater and the nine-acre Kalita Humphreys site, which will include new theater spaces and a connection to the Katy Trail.
Hillwood Urban will be the project manager, overseeing the drive to restore the theater to its historic period of significance, while improving its ability to function as a modern working theater.
In keeping with Wright’s organic, nature-inspired vision, the master plan will connect the Katy Trail, Dean Park and the surrounding neighborhoods of Uptown, Turtle Creek and Oak Lawn to the Kalita Humphreys Campus, making the entire site an accessible public space for all.
The Kalita Humphreys Theater is unique among Wright’s distinguished body of work as the only free-standing theater he designed that was built during his lifetime. Its most notable internal feature is a revolving stage which exemplifies Wright’s Organic Theory of architecture, which stressed the unification of the building’s form and function, the harmony of the building’s structure with its natural setting, and the aesthetically pleasing manipulation of space. Like all of Wright’s projects, the theater’s design was considered bold and innovative for its time. Wright also stressed integration with nature, and the theater was built into a limestone bluff overlooking Turtle Creek. More here.