Start the New Year out Wright. Plan to take a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Spring House in Leon County on the outskirts of Tallahassee, Florida. 2nd Sunday public tours take place anytime between 2-4pm. Spring House board members and volunteers tell the story of the house and there's time to ask questions and tour the grounds. Please visit and help support this historic and important project. It is one of the most recent Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes to be opened to the public on specific dates. Read more.
A curvaceous cliff-top home by Taliesin apprentice Wallace Cunningham is for sale on California’s Monterey Peninsula for $11.4M. Cunningham's extraordinary house, dubbed "Serenity," is said to be inspired by the wings of a butterfly. It "hovers" above a private cove in Carmel Highlands. Read more.
Mark Lamster, the architecture critic of the Dallas News, has written a piece about the perilous condition of Frank Lloyd Wright's Kalita Humphreys Theater. As stated in the article:
"Whereas most buildings are planned on a square grid, Wright designed the theater on a diamond plan, resulting in spaces that pulled you along their angles, there being nary a squared corner in sight. The compressed space of the entry and foyer was released within the auditorium, an almost magical fan-shaped jewel-box entirely in gold. The seats were raked gently, and placed so that the audience was on eye level with the actors, to promote connection. The seats themselves were individually cantilevered, which left plenty of room for handbags and coats and made for easy maintenance. The acoustics, as Wright promised, were outstanding."
"The Kalita, which became a city landmark in 2005, is an iconic late work by America's most singular architect; a masterpiece of structural daring wedged with care into a verdant landscape; and an enveloping jewel that promotes innovative theatrical productions. ...This is an unacceptable waste of a civic treasure, though not one that is irredeemable. After years of stalling, a recently formed nonprofit group, the Kalita Humphreys Theater at Turtle Creek Conservancy, is working to move forward on a 2010 master plan the city commissioned for the theater's rehabilitation, but never formally adopted. The conservancy aims to implement that plan on behalf of the city, to raise funds for the project, and to oversee the maintenance and administration of the theater going forward." Read more.
The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded $12.8M in grants to 253 different projects. The funds—a mix of outright and matching grants—will go toward a broad range of projects, including $6,000 for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to install temperature and humidity monitoring instruments at Wright’s Taliesin and Taliesin West houses.
The current administration has called for the federal agency’s elimination in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. For now, the NEH — like the National Endowment for the Arts, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and other agencies — is waiting for Congress to pass a federal budget for fiscal year 2018 to know the fate of its funding. Read more.
Blair Kamin, architecture critic of The Chicago Tribune, has listed some of the highlights of a remarkable year for architecture. Among those listed was the triumphant restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, "the Oak Park landmark that is the finest public building of Wright’s Chicago years and home to one of the most beautiful rooms in America." Read more.
Elizabeth Fazzare of Architectural Digest highlights a new research website by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation that gives 50 women in architecture from Florence Knoll to Ada Louise Huxtable their proper credit.
"Perhaps you’ve heard of Ray Eames and Denise Scott Brown, but how about Natalie Griffin de Blois, Mary Jane Colter, or Isabel Roberts? All are architects born before 1940 and pioneering women in their field—De Blois was a senior designer at SOM; Colter’s structures grace the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona; and Isabel Roberts was one of two women at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park, Illinois studio. None are household names taught in architecture school." Read more.
Palm Beach Daily News reminds us that with the anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday this year, it’s the “Wright” time to visit Florida Southern College's campus in Lakeland, Florida, home to a collection of over a dozen Wright designs. As stated in the article:
"He took on this project in 1938 when he was almost 70 years old and launching his career for the fourth time. Florida Southern’s campus is his largest and longest single-site commission. It’s his only campus, and includes his last stained-glass window, his only planetarium, his largest water feature and his only theater-in-the-round. He worked on it until 1958, a year before his death in 1959 at age 91." Read more.
On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, the Village of River Forest Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) voted to deny a Certificate of Appropriateness for the demolition of the property located at 747 William Street. The house is part of a rare grouping of Prairie School homes (with a hazy architectural pedigree) that has remained mostly intact as a block for the better part of a century. When a developer put forward a request to tear down one of the houses, it raised major concern among preservationists.
Although the River Forest HPC issued a demolition delay of six months dating back from the receipt of the application which will conclude on April 25, 2018 (providing time for the Commission to seek alternative buyers for the property) the delay may be reduced if the developer agrees to certain conditions that help protect the integrity of the architecture on this block. Read more.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's blog "The Whirrling Arrow" recently posted the second part of a series of articles on the Willey House in Minneapolis, Minnesota, written by owner Steve Sikora. Read more.
WTTW's Chicago Tonight recently featured a discussion with author Robert Sharoff and photographer William Zbaren on their new illustrated biography “John Vinci: Life and Landmarks,” which takes a close look at the life of the Chicago architect, preservationist, and restorer of architectural masterpieces. Read more.