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Willey House Stories Part 9: Hucksters, Charlatans, And Petty Criminals
Steve Sikora, Co-owner of the Malcom Willey House, continues his exploration of the home and its influence on architecture and society in the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's The Whirling Arrow. The emphasis in this chapter focuses on Frank Lloyd Wright and Nancy Willey's discussion of local resources such as golden hued Minnesota stone, white oak and birch, but ultimately, settling on two types of regional, common red brick, and red tidewater cypress as the palette of materials for her new home.
Cypress was a wood that Wright possessed a personal affinity for. The nature of materials is key to Wright’s organic philosophy. His palette always includes undisguised natural materials that serve to ground the physicality of the design. But his material choices often bear an immaterial quality as well – a kind of spirituality. Consequently, after Willey, cypress became the specification of choice for many of his Usonian homes. Read about it here.
New Apartments May Tower Over Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple
Curbed Chicago shares the news that Oak Park, IL could get a new tallest building: a 28-story rental high-rise situated just steps Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Unity Temple.
Although developers have yet to publicly unveil their plan for the U.S. Bank branch drive-thru at 835 Lake Street, they did meet privately with nearby condo owners, reported the Wednesday Journal on Monday. The publication also shared a pair of photos from the meeting showing a ground-level rendering and a floor stacking diagram. There is immediate concern how such a monolithically tall structure next to Unity Temple could detrimentally effect the iconic Wright building.
The Lake Street project is led by Chicago-based developer Golub & Company, which is the same group that built the 21-story, 270-unit Vantage Oak Park in 2016. The new building will require approval by the Oak Park Board of Trustees to move forward in its current form. More here.
A Complete Work Of Art
“To thus make of a dwelling place a complete work of art. . . lending itself freely and suitably to the individual needs of the dwellers, a harmonious entity, fitting in color, pattern, and nature—this is the modern American opportunity. . . An organic entity. . . a higher and more intimate working out of the expression of one’s life in one’s environment. One thing instead of many things; a great thing instead of a collection of smaller ones.” — Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910
Margo Stipe writes in The Whirling Arrow that nowhere is Wright’s genius more in evidence than at Taliesin, his home for five decades. Nestled around the brow of the hill, it embodies Wright’s quest for sanctuary amidst beauty and is the summation of what he believed architecture should be: a complete work of art. Wright wove together multiple works of art to ensure his Taliesin Estate was an organic, harmonious entity. Read more here.
Explore The Diverse Concrete Architecture Of Los Angeles In A New Map
The seventh North American architecture and design map from Blue Crow Media takes us to the West Coast city of Los Angeles—celebrating the famously sprawling metropolis as a city of distinctive concrete architecture and, in a departure from previous guides, one certainly to be explored by road.
Concrete Los Angeles Map, compiled by architecture critic Deane Madsen, gives an insight into modernist, brutalist and contemporary architecture in the city, suggesting over 50 constructions by architects such as Frank LLoyd Wright, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Edward Durell, and John Lautner. Read about it here.
His Passion For Frank Lloyd Wright Houses Leads To 3 Dinners – 18 years In The Making
In 2000, Manchester, New Hampshire's Steve Freeman sent 14 letters to 14 private owners of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes in the Milwaukee area. He wanted invitations to visit their homes. In exchange, he would cook them a meal. He finally got an invite, nearly two decades later.
Mark Hertzberg, a Racine, WI photojournalist and author, came across one of Freeman’s letters while researching a book on all the letters sent to one owner of a Wright home.
“All Frank Lloyd Wright homes get inundated with letters, peepers and people knocking on the door,” said Freeman, a native of Manchester’s West Side. Hertzberg told him, “Yours is by far the most interesting letter because you offered something. Everyone else just wants to get in the house.”
In September, with Hertzberg’s help, Freeman’s dream came true as he traveled from his home in Manchester to Racine where he stayed in three Wright homes and lovingly prepared meals for their owners. More here.
Modern Long Grove Home Designed By Wright Protege Sells In 1 Day
NBC Chicago features a story on a modern Long Grove home designed by a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright that was on the market for only a single day before it was reportedly purchased for $1.15 million this month. The home, which sits on the edge of a 50-acre forest preserve, closed on Nov. 1.
Dennis Blair, architect, apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright, and during the years of 1944-45 he worked on the Guggenheim Museum model. The home in Long Grove, Illinois, dubbed the "Schell House," was built in the late 1950s, and designed for Mr. and Mrs. Bert Schell. The walls are made of glass, stone or cedar, showcasing the gorgeous woods surrounding it. See the amazing photos here.
Backyard Shed Actually A Piece Of 1893 World’s Fair History
A shed over a century old stands in the backyard of Wright's Hills-DeCaro House on Forest Avenue in Oak Park. While not a Frank Lloyd Wright-design itself, it's still an important piece of history.
It was moved to Oak Park from the World’s Fair as an original ticket booth from the Columbian Exposition of 1893. After the fair ended in October of 1893, attorney Nathan Moore purchased it for his Frank Lloyd Wright estate in Oak Park. Moore had built a home for his daughter on the land, now owned by Mark Smylie. Smylie has spent his own money bringing the ticket booth back to life. More here.
Applicants Sought For 2019 Visser Historical Preservation Award
March 15, 2019 is the deadline for applications for the 2019 Kristin Visser Historical Preservation Award. The award, given by the directors of the Seth Peterson Cottage Conservancy, is presented every other year to an individual or organization in recognition of past work in historical preservation of a Frank Lloyd Wright or Prairie School building in Wisconsin or a contiguous state.
In general, buildings constructed between 1900 and 1925 are given preference, and the restoration work shall have been substantially completed within the two calendar years previous to the year of application. The 2019 award in the amount of $5,000 will be given for work done during 2017 and 2018. Applicants are asked to support their applications with a statement fully describing the restoration project, including its state of completion, a supporting statement from the building contractor and/or architect, a letter or letters of support from scholars and/or working professionals familiar with the project, photographic evidence of work completed, and any other supporting materials. Applications will be judged by a panel of members of the Seth Peterson Cottage Conservancy, along with several outside experts/scholars.
The award recipient will be announced on April 15, 2019 and the award presented at the Seth Peterson Cottage on June 9, 2019. The award is named in honor of Kristin Visser, who was one of the people instrumental in the restoration of the Seth Peterson Cottage and a tireless worker in its behalf. She is the author of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie School in Wisconsin, and, with John Eifler, A.I.A., Frank Lloyd Wright’s Seth Peterson Cottage: Rescuing a Lost Masterwork. Visser, who was a planner for the Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources, died in 1998 at the age of 48.
The Seth Peterson Cottage, located in Mirror Lake State Park, near Wisconsin Dells, is Frank Lloyd Wright’s final Wisconsin commission (1958) and, at only 880 square feet, one of his smallest. It was rescued from ruin by the concerted efforts of a local group of lakeshore property owners, spearheaded by Audrey Laatsch, and restored through a public/private partnership effort. Dedicated in 1992, it serves today as a unique rental cottage, managed by the Seth Peterson Cottage Conservancy.
The inaugural award was given in 2007 to Steve Sikora and Lynette Erickson-Sikora, for their work in restoring the Willey House, in Minneapolis. The 2009 award was granted to Paul A. Harding and Cheryl Harding, for their work in restoring the Davenport House, in River Forest, Illinois. The 2011 award was presented to Mary Arnold and Henry St. Maurice for their work on the E. Clarke Arnold Residence in Columbus, Wisconsin. The 2013 award was presented to Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin for the restoration of the B-1 ASBH in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 2015 award was given to John Eifler and Bonnie Phoenix for the restoration of the Ross house in Glencoe, Illinois. And the 2017 award was given to Gene Szymczak posthumously for his restoration of the Thomas P. Hardy House in Racine, Wisconsin.
Send applications to: Seth Peterson Cottage Conservancy, 400 Viking Drive, Reedsburg, WI 53959-1466. Questions? SethPetersonCottage@gmail.com.
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