The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has introduced Taliesin Talks, weekly live-streamed discussions featured on Facebook. From preservation to space exploration and beyond, this hour-long conversational series offers digital audiences a new way to engage with the work of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Wright legacy of architecture and design.
As many sites have recently had to close their doors to the public due to COVID-19, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation hopes that new virtual initiatives will connect us and invite more people to experience the Wright community. The Taliesin Talks series was conceived to be more interactive and cover a wider array of topics that demonstrate the vast scope of the Frank Lloyd Wright legacy. They hope you’ll join them weekly on Facebook for a Taliesin Talk to chat, learn, and share ideas. And, if you miss the live broadcast, though you won’t be able to interact, each Taliesin Talk will be saved for viewing later on their website.
The first Taliesin Talks was "Values-Based Preservation: An Introduction," and it aired Thursday, May 14, 2020. Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s Arizona and Wisconsin Preservation staff was joined by Professor Michael Desmond and architect Gunny Harboe to discuss what Values-Based Preservation really means and why it’s important when caring for living historic sites like Taliesin and Taliesin West.
Tune in for the next episode, "Theatre in Historic Spaces", Thursday, May 19, 2020 | 4:00 pm MST. Find out what it’s like to perform in a historic space and what history means to theatre. A Shakespearean theatre company director along with a Shakespeare festival founder and a professor who directed Death of Kings chat about being in historic spaces influences those performances. The hosts will expound on how historic spaces can be intimate and very different from working in a standard theatre.
Viewers will have a chance to see previous performances that took place at Taliesin West inside the Cabaret Theatre and a glimpse at what the future might look like. For more information about this series click here.
An early house designed by architect Arthur Dyson and located in Sanger, CA has recently come on the market for $599,000. Dyson, an apprentice to three iconic 20th Century architects—Frank Lloyd Wright, William Gray Purcell, and Bruce Goff—has earned distinction for himself as one of the most important and exciting organic architects working today. You can learn more about his work here and see more images of this particular house for sale here.
Looking for ways to be creative and pass the time? Join the Westcott House coloring contest and show us how you would paint Frank Lloyd Wright’s Westcott House. This contest is open to all ages. Favorite entries will be periodically posted on Facebook and Instagram, as well as the winners on June 8 — Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday! Each winner will receive a $50 gift card to the Westcott Store (redeemable online or in person). Information on how to enter the contest can be found here.
Grinnell is known as the "Jewel of the Prairie," a popular Iowa college town that offers visitors a peaceful, quiet visit with some interesting things to see. It's the home to Grinnell College, which adds to the comfortable and inviting feel of this city of just over 9,000 residents. It is a place where visitors can walk the streets, shop, eat and enjoy the friendly, laid-back atmosphere.
A visit must include spending some time admiring the Merchants’ National Bank building, one of the eight Midwestern “jewel box” banks designed by Louis Sullivan.
Under normal circumstances, the building is open to the public and is currently the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce and visitors center. It is open year-round Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call ahead for a weekend visit. Docents are often available to answer questions. More about Grinnell here.
The Chicago Tribune has an article by Frank Vaisvilas about the suburb of Flossmoor. With easy access to championship golf courses via the Illinois Central rail line from Chicago, Flossmoor started out as a resort town of sorts.
“The development of Flossmoor Country Club at the turn of the century brought wealthy investors into the area to develop summer cottages and permanent residences,” said resident Scott Ford. “Prominent architects followed.”
But Ford and Myron Graham realized how little was known outside the area about Flossmoor’s historic neighborhoods and architecturally significant buildings. One of those architects was none other than Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the Nichols house, built in 1906. Frederick Nichols, who was the superintendent of the Bitter Root Valley Irrigation Company, according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.
“Flossmoor continued with strict zoning, and some of the earliest building codes in the Chicagoland area throughout the ‘20s and ‘30s,” Ford said. “Excellent examples of English Tudor, Georgian, Spanish and American colonials were developed throughout the village.”
Another architecturally significant home is the mid century modernist ranch designed by noted architect brothers William and George Fred Keck.
Ford and Graham started collecting information about Flossmoor’s architectural wealth, and brought their findings to village officials, including assistant village manager Allison Matson. Soon after, a plan was developed to survey and catalog the village’s historic homes after researching similar programs in other communities. Village officials commissioned the historic housing inventory and enlisted a licensed architect who specializes in preservation.
Ford and Graham also launched the Flossmoor History Project at flossmoorhistoryproject.org and recruited volunteers interested in helping to survey the historic homes. The volunteers fanned across the neighborhoods mostly taking photos of the homes so the architect can later determine their style and significance.
The project started last fall, but Ford hopes to have all the photos of the about 1,000 homes completed by June. Read more here.
The Westcott House Foundation, Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, and Wright sites across the nation are teaming up with PechaKucha to present a live online global event in celebration of Wright's work and legacy.
The event, entitled “Wright Sites x PechaKucha,” will feature presentations in the highly-visual and efficient PechaKucha style, which consists of 20 image-based slides that automatically advance after 20 seconds, with each talk lasting only 400 seconds. The free virtual event, scheduled for Monday, June 8, 2020 at 9:00 p.m. EST, will feature curators and speakers from the following public Frank Lloyd Wright sites:
Fallingwater (Mill Run, Pennsylvania)
Taliesin (Iowa County, Wisconsin)
Taliesin West (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Martin House (Buffalo, New York)
Graycliff (Derby, New York)
Unity Temple (Oak Park, Illinois)
Westcott House (Springfield, Ohio)
“Our Frank Lloyd Wright community has rallied together since day one of the pandemic, which forced the closings of Wright sites across the country,” says Marta Wojcik, Executive Director & Curator of the Westcott House. “This special live-stream PechaKucha event will connect and delight Frank Lloyd Wright fans, architects, and design aficionados across the globe with highly unique stories and perspectives.”
The owners of two private Wright homes, Tonkens House (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Brandes House (Sammamish, Washington) will also give presentations. Both serve on the Board of Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.
Additional speakers include Mark Dytham, MBE, co-founder of PechaKucha; photographer Andrew Pielage, who will share his quest to photograph every Frank Lloyd Wright structure ever built; Bill James, a designer with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, who will share his career journey studying and designing Wright-related projects; and Karen Severns and Koichi Mori, a couple dedicated to raising awareness of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural legacy in Japan.
“Wright was at the forefront of technology and innovation, which is why his legacy continues to inspire,” says Mark Dytham MBE, principal of Klein Dytham architecture and co-founder of PechaKucha. “There’s no better moment to visit Wright sites than now for fresh insight as we face a new world.” Presentations will be available to view within 24 hours after the event. Attendees can find the live-stream event online here.
Following the recent announcement of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker's 5-Phase plan for the state, the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust has made the decision to postpone the Wright Plus Housewalk until Saturday, May 22, 2021. The lineup of Oak Park and River Forest houses will remain as originally announced. The Trust will honor all previously purchased tickets for the event's new date. More info here.