The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy recently announced its list of Wright Spirit Award honorees for 2020. These annual awards recognize owners and stewards of Wright buildings and others who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to preserving and restoring the remaining built works designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and enhancing appreciation of Wright’s legacy.
This year’s Wright Spirit Awards will be presented on Saturday, November 14 during the Conservancy’s first-ever virtual conference. The awards ceremony, underwritten by Ron and Jan Scherubel, will stream live online beginning at 7:00 p.m. Central time as a part of the closing Gala event. The stream will be free to access and open to the public. Conference details and registration are available here.
“There are so many different people who make an impact in the Wright world, from private homeowners who spend great amounts of time and money restoring Wright houses, to those who help facilitate the rescue of buildings that might otherwise be lost, to government officials who prioritize historic preservation in their planning and budgeting,” says Barbara Gordon, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. “There are always far more people and organizations who’ve made a difference than we can honor in a year. This year we celebrate the completion of the restoration of Martin House through several awards in the Public, Professional and Special Honors Categories. In the Private Category, the diverse projects honor not only building restoration, but also leadership in landscape stewardship and thoughtful succession planning. An additional Special Honors honoree uses the latest technology to bring lost and unbuilt Wright works to life.”
David and Joyce McArdle
Owners, Fredrick House, Barrington Hills, Illinois
For restoration of the Fredrick House
Michael Pinkus and Julie Wilsker
Owners, Serlin House, Pleasantville, New York
For restoration of the Serlin House and leadership in the stewardship of the Usonia landscape
Susan and Jack Turben
Owners, Staley House, North Madison, Ohio
For stewardship and succession planning for the Staley House
The Office of the Governor, State of New York
The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, State of New York
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
For leadership and funding of the restoration of Martin House, Buffalo
Matthew W. Meier, AIA, Partner
As architects for the Martin House restoration
Bayer Landscape Architecture
Mark H. Bayer, ASLA, Principal
As landscape architects for the Martin House landscape restoration
Toshiko Mori Architect
Toshiko Mori, FAIA, Principal
As architect of the Martin House Visitor Center
University of Victoria (British Columbia) Legacy Art Galleries
For the return of seven art glass windows in their collection to their original location in Martin House
For his meticulous and evocative computer recreations of lost and unbuilt Wright buildings
For a complete list of Wright Spirit Award winners please visit the Conservancy’s website here.
The Elmhurst History Museum announces the opening of “Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior,” an exhibition exploring the interior design of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses, often considered his greatest architectural accomplishment. Through reproduction drawings, photographs, and photographic murals, the exhibit illustrates the myriad ways—both obvious and subtle—in which Wright created the visual character of interior space and objects within it, each an essential detail of the larger whole.
Organized and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC, in cooperation with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in Scottsdale, AZ, the exhibit will be on view at the Elmhurst History Museum, located at 120 E. Park Ave. in Elmhurst, Illinois from October 23 through December 20, 2020. The exhibit is sponsored locally by Feze Roofing and York Theatre/Classic Cinemas.
House plans in the exhibit reveal the heart of Wright houses as a single, expansive space from which subordinate spaces extended outward in multiple directions, like spokes radiating outward from the hub of a wheel. Porches and terraces, wings of bedrooms, and floor-to-ceiling walls of glass expanded the central hearth space to adjacent interior spaces, and to infinite space in the natural world beyond. By organizing the interior in this way, Wright increased the sense of generous living space anchored by the central core.
Drawings and photographs of interiors show the ingenious ways Wright maximized the feeling of open space while accommodating the various functions for daily living. This concept is exemplified in Wright’s Robie House, located on the University of Chicago’s campus in Hyde Park, where a single sight line extends from one end of the house to the other to visually connect all of the areas. Functional furnishings were built into the structure in order to free floor space, as evidenced by a photograph of a very small bedroom in the Mossberg House in South Bend, IN.
Wright’s rejection of past styles led him to the contemporary visual language of abstraction and geometry. For Wright, this language had a deeper source as the structure and ornament of all forms in nature. Just as a living form is one entity in structure and ornament, so the house was to be a single whole in structure and expression. Wright used the term “organic” to convey his belief that structure, interior, furnishings and ornament should be as one. He conceived every feature of the house as a part expressing a single idea—from the structure, to the interior, to the smallest details.
Wright’s objects are not decorated, but rather the character of the structure engages the viewer’s senses of sight and touch by color, texture, pattern, contour, light and shadow. The works in “Architecture of the Interior” reveal how all elements in Wright’s design express the overarching abstract geometric order of the house.
In addition to the Elmhurst History Museum’s fall exhibit, the nearby Elmhurst Art Museum, located at 150 Cottage Hill Ave., will host a related exhibition, “Wright Before the ‘Lloyd,’” from September 10- February 14, 2021. This exhibit is curated by Chicago’s cultural historian, Tim Samuelson, and will feature architectural artifacts and images to weave together the story of Wright’s early life and career before he made his indelible imprint on the world of architecture. For more information, visit www.elmhurstartmuseum.org.
“We are fortunate that the timing worked out so that we can present two Wright-themed exhibitions concurrently in Elmhurst this fall,” said Dave Oberg, Elmhurst History Museum’s Executive Director. “Wright’s influence is so strong in the western suburbs and throughout the Chicago area, and we hope this will provide a very special opportunity for visitors to experience two different perspectives on Wright—one from the interior and one from the exterior. We are grateful to partner with our neighbors at the Elmhurst Art Museum to make Elmhurst a destination for Wright enthusiasts this fall.”
To acknowledge the significance of the dual exhibits and to encourage visitors to experience both museum displays, the City of Elmhurst will designate Saturday, October 24, 2020 as “Frank Lloyd Wright Day in Elmhurst.”
In alignment with “Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior” and current COVID-19 restrictions, the Elmhurst History Museum has planned a number of virtual programs to build on the exhibit’s themes.
• November 1: John Waters, Preservation Programs Manager at the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, will share images and insights into the spaces that Wright created, and discuss the importance of preserving the architect’s buildings for future generations. The link to this pre- recorded lecture will be available at elmhursthistory.org (in the Programs section) starting at 9:00 a.m. on November 1 through December 20, 2020.
• November 5: The Elmhurst Public Library will partner with the Elmhurst History Museum to present a virtual family workshop on Zoom, “Art Glass Made Wright,” on Thursday, November 5 at 4:30-5:30 p.m. The program is appropriate for children in grades 3 to 8 and will be facilitated by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Registration is required and available at elmlib.org starting on October 17.
• November 15: Dave Oberg will present a free Facebook Live Gallery Talk from the Elmhurst History Museum on Sunday, November 15 at 12:00 p.m. Oberg will share in-depth details about Wright and the exhibit, and participants are encouraged to submit questions during the talk.
More information on these programs can be found at elmhursthistory.org in the Programs section.
“Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior” will be open from October 23 through December 20, 2020, at the Elmhurst History Museum, located at 120 E. Park Ave. in downtown Elmhurst. Admission is free, and limited free parking is available. Reservations are required and visits are limited to one hour with a maximum of 15 patrons. Face masks are mandatory for entry. For reservations and more information, call 630-833-1457 or visit the Museum’s web site at www.elmhursthistory.org.
One of Wichita, Kansas architectural wonders is hiding in plain sight. You can hardly call the Allen-Lambe house hidden. The intriguing structure, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has been standing at the corner of 2nd and Roosevelt in College Hill — in the heart of Wichita — since 1918. But many people in town don’t know it’s there, even if they drive by it every day. Or, if they do know, they don’t realize what a treasure it is.
The Allen House was built in 1918 for former Kansas Gov. Henry Justin Allen and his wife, Elsie. It was one of the last houses that Wright built in the “Prairie School style” that emphasized horizontal lines and the blending of the exterior and interior, bringing nature and landscape details into the house.
The house has been restored back to the way it was in 1923, when Gov. Allen’s term ended and the family returned from Topeka. There were construction changes to be made and layers of paint to be removed and replaced. Photos of the house from that time period helped. Much of the furniture was built-in, but other pieces have been recovered, and most of Elsie Allen’s art collection has been donated by her descendants or is on loan.
The Allen House tours by appointment are now limited to four people due to the pandemic. More here.
Graycliff’s annual fundraising dinner has been creatively pivoted into a virtual format — Celebrate Graycliff From Our Home to Yours is now live at one.bidpal.net/celebrategraycliff and culminates on Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 with an online program. The one-hour event program, which will begin via Zoom at 6pm onOctober 22nd, will be available to those who have made any purchase through the event website (including dinner tickets, “wine pull” tickets, merchandise, or a general donation). The program will be a mixture of pre-filmed and live footage featuring an exciting private concert of a trio of musicians from Buffalo’s Historic Colored Musicians Club performing original music on Graycliff’s esplanade. Graycliff has also partnered with two restaurants to offer delicious meal options. Pre-order, heat-and-eat meal packages for one to four diners will be available for pick-up from both The Roycroft Inn in East Aurora and 100 Acres: The Kitchens at Hotel Henry in Buffalo on that Thursday afternoon between 3:30 and 5:30pm. The event will also feature an online silent auction (which opens on October 17th and closes on the 22nd at 7:30pm) with a focus on exciting experiential lots the star of which is a private reception at the privately-owned, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Walter V. Davidson House in Buffalo. There is also a virtual “wine pull,” Oxford Pennant-designed merchandise and more! Please visit one.bidpal.net/celebrategraycliff for more information and to purchase tickets (the last day to purchase dinner tickets is October 15th) and bid on auction items (auction opens on October 17th).
Graycliff’s Executive Director, Anna Kaplan, explains:
“Though, of course, we’d love to be able to gather in person, we are thrilled to host a virtual event with the potential to engage more people than we ever have through past in-person events. We’re very excited to share with you, not only the wonderful performance of the musicians from The Colored Musicians Club, but be able to highlight The Club’s history—an important history which is contemporaneous with Graycliff’s history. Celebrate Graycliff is an exciting opportunity to support and recognize Graycliff during what has been an extraordinary season in more ways than one. Our organization, like countless others, has had to significantly adjust operations and strategy in order to mitigate the enormous impact of the loss of budgeted revenue due to the pandemic. The result of which is creative and fun events like Celebrate Graycliff where you can enjoy a delicious meal, watch an interesting and entertaining program, and have the opportunity to bid on a host of quality silent auction items and experiences, from the comfort and safety of your own home— and all to strengthen Graycliff’s mission to protect, restore, and promote this incredibly special place.”
Completed in 1910, the house Wright designed for Frederick C. Robie is the consummate expression of his Prairie style. The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust recently completed a comprehensive restoration of the building, revealing Wright’s extraordinary original vision. On October 15 from 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM EST, The United States component of ICOMOS, an organization that advises UNESCO on historic buildings for inclusion as World Heritage Sites, is hosting a virtual webinar on Robie House. The virtual visit will be hosted by the architect who led the work and the architectural historian who served as Scholar-in-Residence in 2003.
Kathryn Smith will provide the history of the commission and explain the reasons why the Robie House became “the cornerstone of modernism” influencing the early development of “modern architecture” in Europe in the first half of the 1900s. T. Gunny Harboe, FAIA, will show that architecture and explain some of the critical processes and details that went into the recently completed work.
The webinar is free to all, but you do have to register. Find out more here.](https://usicomos.org/webinars/)