Open House Chicago's 10 Must-See Buildings
Open House Chicago, now in its eighth year, offers free access to a wide array of buildings in Chicago, Oak Park, and Evanston, IL. This year’s version, which will be held Oct. 13 and 14, has more than 250 sites, with the Chicago neighborhoods of Beverly, Morgan Park, and Austin taking part for the first time.
Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune gives us a list of must-see buildings that includes the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (951 Chicago Ave., Oak Park, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1889 and 1898), saying, "No Chicago tour would be complete without sampling an interior by Wright, the master of space. The home and studio were his laboratory — small in scale, but dazzling in effect." Read the list here.
A Video Tour Of The Weltzheimer/Johnson House
Fox 8 Cleveland gives us a video tour of the 1949 Weltzheimer/Johnson House at Oberlin College, a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian House that sits on a lot several blocks from campus. The Weltzheimer/Johnson House is open to the public the first Sunday of each month, from April through November. Hours are 12pm until 5pm. Presentations on the architecture and history of the house begin on the hour (12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm) and are limited to 50 participants per hour. Advance registration is required. See it here.
Exceptional John Randal McDonald House in Princeton, NJ For Sale
An absolutely stunning home in Princeton, NJ designed by John Randal McDonald has come to the market for a whopping $2.5 million. The house shows a mastery of someone who fully absorbed Wright's organic principles—and JRMcD did not even study at Taliesin with the master architect! See the listing with lots more photos here.
Plan To Build Usonian Home In The UK Rejected
An effort to build one of Wright's Usonian homes in Wraxel, UK has been rejected on appeal for second time. Dr. Pratt obtained the rights to the design from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in 2007, but his first application was dismissed by North Somerset Council in October 2014 to build a house with off-grid services, including a horizontal vortex hydro-electric turbine, which would provide renewable energy for the home.
Dr. Pratt told the North Somerset Times: “It is a shame since we wish to share our proposed home with free visits by architectural students from universities who study Frank Lloyd Wright as part of their course work, they can only visit his designs by going to America or Japan.” Read more.
Frank Lloyd Wright Estate Owner Defends Weddings
The contentious issue with the Maynard Buehler house, built in the late 1940s by Frank Lloyd Wright, has centered on weddings that have been hosted by Gerald Shmavonian, which he began to hold after a 2016 Vogue magazine article mentioned the estate on its short list of unique, unforgettable wedding venues. The homeowner defended holding weddings on the property, saying there have been “no citations for illegal parking, no DUIs, no fights, no loud quarrels, no excessive noise citations” and calling neighbors’ complaints baseless.“It’s true that there has been no criminal activity,” said Orinda Planning Director Drummond Buckley. But the Orinda official said Shmavonian was still in violation of the city’s zoning ordinance. Orinda bans commercial ventures in residential neighborhoods.
In 1948, Wright designed the house for inventor Maynard Buehler and his wife, Katherine Buehler of Orinda. In 2006, the estate was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. After the Buehlers died, the estate was put up for sale. In 2013, Shmavonian bought the estate for $3.3 million. In addition to Orinda’s ordinances, the estate also is subject to an easement set up by the Buehlers and held by the nonprofit Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy in Chicago. Under the easement’s terms, the homeowner is required to open the estate to public events four to ten days a year.
In 2015, Shmavonian sought a $30,000 annual tax break under the Mills Act. The Mills Act was enacted in 1972 by the state to enable local jurisdictions “to enter into contracts with property owners of qualified historic properties who actively participate in the restoration and maintenance of their historic properties while receiving property tax relief.” In a 2015 East Bay Times article, Shmavonian said maintenance of the property runs into the “tens of thousands” each year. Read more.
The Kalita Humphreys Needs You
The Frank Lloyd Wright designed Kalita Humphreys Theater (the Kalita) in Dallas, TX is nestled in the center of a park of rare natural beauty. The years have seen many alterations and unfulfilled intent to Wright's design.
More than a decade ago, Dallas taxpayers voted to pay for the creation of the Kalita Humphreys Theater/Dallas Theater Center Master Plan, a vision that represents the needs and desires of hundreds of people who voiced their ideas about how to raise the level of this cultural treasure to its highest and best use for theater, architecture, park, and community. The City Council is being asked to adopt a master plan, not a governance structure, and not funding. The simple broad strokes vision of the Master Plan will transform this campus into an enduring cultural asset by:
• Restoring Wright’s only theater and its relationship to its setting as an example of great modern architecture.
• Rehabilitating the theater to its original design with modern equipment and minor modifications for functionality.
• Creating a support building that fully supports the program.
• Restoring the landscape and enhancing and protecting the park.
• Increasing awareness of the cultural asset locally, nationally and internationally.
• Bringing together advocates and owners in a collective operation to ensure good stewardship for the future.
Read how you can help here.
Wright's Sondern-Adler House For Sale
The Sondern-Adler home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the Roanoke Park neighborhood of Kansas City, MO just hit the market for $1.6 million. This Frank Lloyd Wright treasure is located in the heart of the city in a spectacular treetop setting. The original 900 square foot home was commissioned by Dr. & Mrs. Clarence Sondern in 1939. Later, Mr. Wright was asked to expand the home to its current 2,965 square feet by Mr. & Mrs. Arnold Adler in 1948. The listing states that this home is Wright at his best: "stunning simplicity, brilliant planning, and execution.” See it here.
A Friendship In Photographs: Pedro E. Guerrero & Frank Lloyd Wright
In an article that originally appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of the Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly, “Section”, architectural and urban history scholar Emily Bills writes about how Pedro E. Guerrero, a young talented photographer, went on to capture some of the most iconic photos of Frank Lloyd Wright and his work, while forming a close bond with the architect. Read the article and see some amazing photographs here.
Goff's Garvey House For Sale
Bruce Goff's uniquely "round house" in Urbana, IL has hit the market for $179,900. The house was built in 1965 for John Garvey, who was a violinist and taught at nearby University of Illinois. He met Bruce Goff in Norman, OK while on tour with the Walden String Quartet and asked the architect to design a house for his family. The result is a round wonder. Now you can own this remarkable modern gem in Central Illinois for a pretty remarkable price. More here.
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