In 1907, George and Helle Fabyan hired none other than Frank Lloyd Wright to remodel and expand their existing building in Geneva, IL, transforming the charming farmhouse into a luxurious estate. Today the home is owned by the Kane County Forest Preserve District of Illinois. It has been converted into a park and museum that the public is welcome to explore. The museum is open to the public from May 15 to October 15. Private tours can be arranged throughout the year. Read more.
fox8.com has a tour of the Weltzheimer/Johnson House at Oberlin College. This a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian House that sits on a lot several blocks from campus. Designed in 1947 and completed in 1949, it is one of the first Usonian houses in Ohio and one of the few in the nation open to the public.
The Weltzheimer/Johnson House stands as another expression of Wright's answer to the demand for beautiful and affordable middle-class homes in the post WWII America. Pairing innovation with basic owner-builder construction materials and techniques, the concepts of organic architecture evolved into these Usonian characteristics: a flowing floor plan with distinct public and private wings; concrete, grid patterned, slab floor with radiant heat; flat roof and cantilevered carport; masonry fireplace mass; board and batten walls with simple built-in furniture; and tall glass walls and doors opening to the landscape.
The Weltzheimer/Johnson House uses brick masonry and redwood and has several distinctive features, including the hundreds of stained croquet balls forming the roof dentil ornamentation whose circular motif is echoed in the shadow panel screens of the clerestory and the interior brick columns that separate the workspace from the living room.
The Weltzheimer family lived in the house until 1963 when the property was sold to developers and "remodeling" efforts scarred the space. However, in 1968, Art History Professor Ellen H. Johnson purchased the home and began the restoration process. In 1992 at her death, the house was given to Oberlin College to serve as a guesthouse for the Art Department and the Allen Memorial Art Museum. The house is now open to the public for tours and programs. See it here.
On a quiet Rockford, IL street sits one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most unique designs. The Laurent House.
Ken Laurent was a disabled World War II veteran. He and his wife Phyllis commissioned Wright to design a home for them in 1948. It's the only building Wright created specifically for a client with a physical disability. At nearly 60 feet long, the home has one of the longest floor to ceiling window walls Wright ever designed. It even has a unique, forward thinking green design. The outside eves are set up in a way that the sun is allowed in in the winter time to warm the house. And the sun is kept out in the summertime to keep the house cool.
Ken lived in the house for 60 years until 2012. Laurent House Foundation President Jerry Heinzeroth relates, "He died at 92 which was unheard of for a paraplegic. And Ken said the only reason he lived a long and complete life was because of the gift Frank Lloyd Wright gave him."
The Laurent House has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. For tour information go to https://www.laurenthouse.com. More here.
Max Dalton is the artist behind several pop culture illustrations over the past 20 years that have drawn international attention with Wes Anderson films, Game of Thrones, The Beatles, and Breaking Bad inspiring his sketches. Today, Mr. Dalton has taken on a new muse: Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Buenos Aires-based illustrator has joined forces with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to create a limited-edition illustrated map of the famous architect’s personal estate in Wisconsin, Taliesin, and the home’s surrounding landmarks that span 800 acres, according to a press release. The illustration will appear in the Summer 2018 edition of the Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly, a printed magazine exclusively available to the Foundation’s members.
“I’m a big fan of modern design and early 20th-century architecture and, of course, Frank Lloyd Wright is one of my favorites,” Mr. Dalton notes. “Just having the opportunity to work on something related to his work and being involved is such a great honor to me. I’m proud to be contributing – in a very tiny way — with the preservation of Wright’s legacy.” Read more.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette informs us that Robert Silman, a structural engineer who rescued Frank Lloyd Wright’s cantilevered Fallingwater in Pennsylvania from the edge of collapse, and preserved dozens of other landmarks besides, died on July 31, 2018 at his home in Great Barrington, Mass. He was 83.
“In the mid-1990s we heard from an engineering student that his research showed Fallingwater might be in structural trouble,” said Lynda S. Waggoner, the director emerita of Fallingwater. “According to his calculations, the cantilevers were under-engineered and in danger of failure,” she continued. Ms. Waggoner telephoned Mr. Silman. “After what seemed like minutes but was likely seconds, he responded, ‘I will have someone down there this week.’ ”
By then, one cantilevered slab was tilting about seven inches downward from its original position, a condition known as deflection. Mr. Silman persuaded Fallingwater’s owner, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, to erect temporary steel shoring under the slab. In 2001, flagstone flooring and built-in furniture was removed from the slab to expose the concrete beams and perpendicular joists below.
Five cables — made of as many as 13 half-inch-diameter steel strands — were placed alongside three major beams, like tendons and bone, with six smaller cables placed alongside the joists. This steel network was anchored to the existing concrete piers under the house, then tautened to restore structural integrity to the cracked beams. (The operation has been likened to orthodontics.)
“Bob’s solution to the faltering cantilevers was elegant,” Ms. Waggoner said. “It preserved the material integrity of the building and minimized any incidental damage while preventing future deflections.”
The project, lasting six months, “ensured Fallingwater’s ability to continue to amaze visitors from the world over for generations to come,” she said. Read more about Robert Silman's interesting accomplishments here.
For $950, 000, you could own this mid-century modern house in Oakland, California's Montclair neighborhood designed by Mark Mills, who apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright. Built in the late 1950s, the home has been well-preserved to celebrate Mills' original aesthetic. The home's architectural uniqueness shines throughout: clean angles, beamed ceilings, large windows that flood the house with light, and smaller picture windows act as frames for the trees and sky outside.
There are 2,024 square feet here, with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. On the entry level is a master suite with its own secluded garden and walk-in closet. Also on this level is general access to the back terrace and gardens. The upstairs is an open floor plan merging living room, dining room and kitchen. See it here.
Curbed Philadelphia has a listing of a midcentury home by Frank Lloyd Wright’s pupil, Robert Bishop. Bishop was a notable Philly architect who was an apprentice at Taliesin and even worked on the famed architect’s plans for the oft-misunderstood Broadacre City.
Bishop designed the 3,000-square-foot ranch-style home currently for sale in 1956 for Dr. Peter Kirber, an ophthalmologist and survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, and his wife, Maria, who was a professor. The couple wanted Bishop to create a house inspired by Wright on a one-acre plot of land they had bought. During the design process, workers discovered the remains of a 200-year-old stone barn on the property, and Bishop immediately chose to incorporate it into the house. The stone walls now mark the home’s master bedroom. More here.
Michael Bridgeman sends word that University of Wisconsin art professor and author Narciso Menocal died earlier this month. Working as a professor for nearly 40 years, he retired in 2011. His research included American and European 19th and 20th Century architecture. Narciso was a leading scholar of the work of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, authoring three books. Read more.
Join the Martin House as they explore Frank Lloyd Wright in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas. A special tour will begin with a visit to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A highlight of the collection is Wright’s Usonian-era Bachman-Wilson House which was relocated to and reconstructed on the museum campus in an act of architectural preservation.
The trip will also feature excursions to the Allen House, the Corbin Education Center at Wichita State University, as well as an exclusive, group-only, one-night stay at Wright’s iconic Price Tower.
This special package includes transportation by motor coach, three group lunches, two group dinners, hotel accommodations, entrance fees, and gratuities.
Follow the link to learn more and make your reservations today by calling 716-856-3858. Space is limited. More here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy recently announced the winners of this year's "Wright Spirit Award," given out to recognize the efforts of extraordinary individuals and organizations that have preserved the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright through their tireless dedication and persistent efforts. Awards are presented in the categories Private, Public, Professional and Special Honors.
The complete list of 2018 Wright Spirit Award honorees is:
• James Dennis (Owner, Jacobs I House, Madison, WI)
• Lenhart and Ramsey Families (Owners, Harold Price Jr. House, Bartlesville, OK)
• Alphawood Foundation and UTP, LLC (for Unity Temple restoration)
• Stafford Norris III (Restoration of Willey House, Lamberson House, and others)
• Gaines and Sharon Hall (B. Harley Bradley House, Kankakee, IL)
We congratulate the winners and applaud their stupendous efforts to help save Wright's works. Read more.