The preservation assessment of Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower began this month thanks to a $75,000 grant awarded by the Getty Foundation. Built in Bartlesville, OK from 1953 to 1956, the Price Tower is one of 12 buildings in the world to receive the 2017 "Keeping It Modern" grant. The money is used to preserve mid-century architecture. More here.
Midway Gardens—a concert garden designed by Wright in Chicago with space for year-round dining, drinking, and performances—opened to the public on June 27, 1914. Although its existence was brief (it was demolished in 1929) Midway Gardens hosted several notable performances, and was, in all aspects down to the napkin rings, a Frank Lloyd Wright design.
The Whirling Arrow gives us an excerpt from “The Tale of the Midway Gardens” of Book Three of “An Autobiography.” In it Frank Lloyd Wright details the imaginative creation of Midway Gardens. Read it here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy is highlighting the Avery and Queene Coonley House in Riverside, Illinois, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built between 1908 and 1912, and considered one of the most elaborate Prairie School houses ever constructed. Sited on the banks of the Des Plaines River, the house is a part of an estate that originally consisted of the large main house, a separate coach house and a gardener’s cottage. After the Coonleys sold the estate, the coach house and gardener’s cottage became independent residences, and the bedroom wing of the house was converted into a separate residence from the living wing.
In 2000 the Coonley House living wing was bought by Ella Mae and the late Dean Eastman, who led what FLWBC Executive Director Barbara Gordon calls “the gold standard of restoration.” Today, thanks to the meticulous work by the Eastmans, the house beautifully and accurately reflects Wright and the Coonleys’ vision, while providing state-of-the-art amenities in such areas as the kitchen and bathrooms.
At 6,000 square feet, the generously sized living wing retains the signature spaces for which the house is famous, including its living room, dining room and stunning west terrace, as well as four bedrooms, a den and a large family room. Recently listed with Catherine Simon-Vobornik of Baird & Warner for $1.299 million, the living wing offers an unmatched opportunity to enjoy a Wright masterpiece surrounded by lush outdoor spaces. Read more.
Curbed Chicago tells us about an unusual midcentury modern home set on a tree-lined lot overlooking Wildwood Nature Center’s Forest Lake in Park Ridge, Illinois. Designed by Don Erickson, who worked as an apprentice under Frank Lloyd Wright from 1948 to 1951, this four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom home is sure to appeal to lovers of unique midcentury architecture.
The 4,000-square-foot residence was constructed in 1968 for an ophthalmologist who remained the home’s only sole occupant until passing away last year. It features stone privacy walls and a curved, pagoda-like roof.
Inside, the natural stone motif continues and is found in several rooms along with heavy timber beams. The interior is also is full of light thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass in its double-height great room topped by a series of domed skylights that span the ridge of the roofline and a lofted master suite. See it here.
The destruction of historic Prentice Women's Hospital by Bertrand Goldberg, Michael Reese Hospital by Walter Gropius, and the desecration of Soldier Field give us pause. (In 2001, the Chicago Park District announced a $660M reconstruction of the stadium that preserved Soldier Field's historic colonnades while constructing a new stadium inside. The new stadium debuted two years later and critics immediately called it the "Mistake on the Lake." The National Park Service agreed and stripped Soldier Field of its National Historic Landmark status in 2006.)
One of the saddest stories of loss involves the Dakmar Adler and Louis Sullivan-designed Stock Exchange Building, which opened in 1894 at LaSalle and Washington streets. By the 1960s, Mayor Richard J. Daley's efforts to demolish the building mobilized preservationists, the most notable among them Richard Nickel.
Nickel, a photographer and Sullivan enthusiast, spent most of his life photographing classic architecture and fighting for the survival of architecturally significant buildings. When the final decision was made to demolish the Stock Exchange Building, Nickel led a team to catalog and salvage some of Sullivan's most significant ornamental designs.
Nickel lost his life in an accident inside the crumbling building in April 1972. His body was found 26 days later. Nickel's death helped galvanize Chicago's modern preservationist movement. The Stock Exchange's arched entrance survives outside the Art Institute, at Columbus Drive and Monroe Street. The Stock Exchange's trading floor was preserved and moved inside the Art Institute. Read more.
A new exhibition coming to the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) and Denver Art Museum (DAM) will explore how the spirit of play has become a serious part of design conversation. Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America will open on September 28 at the MAM and will move to the DAM on May 5 next year. The exhibition will include over 200 works in different media, from paper crafts, to mid-century favorites like plywood and composite boards. It will revolve around three themes: the American home, child’s play, and corporate approaches to design. Items such as Irving Harper-designed clocks, the Eames Storage Units, and videography of Ray and Charles Eames will be featured.
Arthur Carrara’s toy design is a highlight. The Chicago architect and designer created magnetic toys inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Houses and the modern movement. First sold in a yellow cardboard box, the set includes metal plates with magnetic joints, and children were encouraged to explore their creativity by building three-dimensional sculptures. Read more.
Curbed informs us that a preservation battle is under way in Scarsdale, New York, located about 25 miles north of Manhattan. The building is question is a 1950 home designed by Edgar Tafel, a noted Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice, architect, and author. The highlight of the 3,300-square-foot residence has to be its open living room with a vaulted ceiling, statement brick fireplace, and wall of glass overlooking the grounds.
Restored in the late 1990s, the home was listed on the market for $2.7 million in February and sold in May for $2.97 million. However, it appears that the new owner was moving towards tearing down the property. An application to Scarsdale’s Committee for Historic Preservation to demolish all or part of the home was denied in late May, and that’s how the property found its way back on the market in late June at $2.99M. Take a look here.
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind evening at Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater as the sun sets over Pennsylvania’s mountains during the 23rd Annual Twilight Tour on Saturday, August 25. You’ll have wine and hors-d'oeuvres at a welcome reception in the Visitor Center, and then enjoy a light supper as you explore the house during twilight. The evening ends in the meadow where you will enjoy dessert and live jazz from Pittsburgh’s own Etta Cox and the Al Dowe Quartet.
Reservations are accepted by calling Fallingwater Visitor Services at 724-329-8501 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or online here.
"Out of the Ground" marks the beginning of the Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly’s return back to its regular format, following the four-issue collector’s set. "Out of the Ground"—guest-edited by Jennifer Gray, co-curator of last year’s exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, “Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive,” and curator of drawings and archives at Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University—explores Frank Lloyd Wright’s relationship with landscape.
Of special note in this issue: PrairieMod and Wright Society co-founder, Eric M. O'Malley, contributes an article on the Second Jacobs "Hemicycle" House and Wright's connection to sustainable architecture.
Get more info and become a member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to get this and future issues of the Quarterly. More here.