Pre-Order Landmark Publication On Imperial Hotel
The winter 2018 issue of the Journal of Organic Architecture + Design (Volume 6, Number 3) will be a special double-sized issue dedicated to the Imperial Hotel and is scheduled to start shipping at the end of December.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s account in his autobiography of the building of the Imperial Hotel (1913-1923, demolished 1968) provides essential information from the architect’s own perspective. Valuable as this has proven to be, Wright did not concern himself with the dates and details necessary to weave together an historical sequence of events. The story of the Imperial Hotel is a dramatic one and when the complete outline of events is revealed, the complexity of the building emerges as even more remarkable than has formerly been known.
This landmark issue not only contains new information and never-before-published photographs in an essay by historian and leading expert on Wright's Imperial Hotel, Kathryn A. Smith, it also reproduces in its totality for the first time in the United States the little known 1923 Japanese portfolio of photographic plates of the Hotel prior to the Great Kanto Earthquake.
If you are not already an annual subscriber you'll want to make sure you become one or renew your subscription soon. OA+D Journals are selling out on a regular basis, so don't miss this issue — PRE-ORDER today by following the link.
As Unity Temple Crafts Message, Activists Send Their Own
The 28-story tower proposed by Golub & Company hit a roadblock with pronouncements by Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb and most of the board of trustees opposing the height of the structure and its potential negative impact on Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple.
The proposed development prompted a group called Oak Park Call to Action to project images onto the Lake Street façade of Unity Temple over the weekend, quoting its famed architect.
Those Wright quotes state:
"Respect the masterpiece. It is true reverence to man. There is no quality so great, none so much needed now."
"Maybe we can show government how to operate better as a result of better architecture."
Both Rev. Alan Taylor, senior minister at Unity Temple, and Heidi Ruehle-May, executive director of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation, said they had nothing to do with the projections. Taylor said in a telephone interview that he and the leadership at Unity Temple were "taken aback that another group was using our building for their own agenda."
"I am disappointed that a group outside of Unity Temple would have an action like this claiming to be defending Unity Temple while not contacting the leadership of either the congregation or the Restoration Foundation," he said.
Meanwhile, the church's congregation, the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy are conferring with their respective boards and members on how to respond to the proposed tower development.
Arguments have largely centered around the shadow the proposed building by Golub will cast on Unity Temple, blocking sunlight into the building for part of the day, which was one of the key design elements of the building. Unity Temple features stained-glass skylights and clerestory windows located above eye level around the sanctuary to allow natural sunlight into the building.
The building also just underwent a $25 million restoration, which rehabbed much of the interior and exterior of the building. Opponents of the project worry that construction could cause vibrations that could damage the newly renovated structure.
Unity Temple is also included in a collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings across the country in the process of being nominated as a World Heritage Site, a designation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its cultural significance."Unity Temple is the first house of worship to have stained glass both in the ceiling and around all four sides of the sanctuary," Taylor wrote. "Its architectural design provides for a composition of light within the sanctuary that sometimes makes worship magical. Read more.
History Abounds In Ebsworth Park
Only two of the approximately 60 Usonian-style homes that were designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright can be found in the St. Louis, Missouri metro area – the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park being the only one open to the public. Thankfully for area residents, the FLWHEP sits in their own backyard and it’s open for public tours year-round. The site, located in Kirkwood, is a local treasure that continues to reveal the history of its famed architect and the family who lived in the home for four decades. The house traces its roots to 1951, when Wright designed the home for St. Louis artist Russell Kraus and his wife, Ruth. The couple moved into the 1,900-square-foot house when it was completed in 1956 and lived there together until Ruth Kraus died in 1992.
“I have both the privilege and responsibility to find the balance between preservation of the house and making it available to the public,” says FLWHEP executive director Kathryn Feldt. “The fear was that we’d lose this house completely,” Feldt says. “Joanne Kohn, our current chairman emeritus, was the one who was able to organize and raise the money to save the house.”
The FLWHEP nonprofit organization was founded to rescue the property from being sold and razed by developers. By 2001, FLWHEP had raised enough money to purchase the home and surrounding 10½-acre grounds, which were then deeded to St. Louis County for the formation of a public park. Preservation is key with a historic home like the Kraus house. The organization goes to great lengths to balance preservation of the architecture and original furnishings – with its commitment to welcoming more than 3,500 visitors each year.
The move turned out to be a boon for historians and fans of Wright’s work. Much of the personal correspondence between the architect and the Krauses was preserved with the purchase, leading to a better understanding of Wright’s intention and the Krauses’ desire to fulfill that intention.Read more.
Auditorium Theatre Restores Original Louis Sullivan Stencils
The Auditorium Theatre, a National Historic Landmark that celebrated its 129th birthday on December 9, 2018, recently restored intricate, Louis Sullivan-designed stencils in the theatre's north Dress Circle inglenook according to Broadwayworld.com.
Sullivan, considered the father of modernism and a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, is known for his ornate designs and painstaking attention to detail. In the theatre's earliest days, his designs covered the arches, ceilings, and columns of the Auditorium Theatre lobby spaces. The Auditorium Theatre will continue this restoration work in the south inglenook and the ceiling arches of the Dress Circle lobby, beginning in January.
"We are committed to the restoration and preservation of our landmark theatre," says Rachel Freund, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Auditorium Theatre. "By restoring these original stencils, designed by Louis Sullivan himself, we stay true to this mission and get another step closer to returning the theatre to its original splendor. We look forward to continuing this important work."
On Wednesday, December 12, Chicago cultural historian and director of the Chicago Architectural Preservation Archive Tim Samuelson discussed the significance of this work with Anthony Kartsonas of the art restoration firm Historic Surfaces, who oversaw the stenciling and painting process, and Matthew McNicholas, Auditorium Theatre board member and co-founder of MGLM Architects.
"Putting these stencils back really calls into play what made Sullivan a special architect and also what makes this one of the greatest buildings on the planet," Samuelson said. Visitors can see the stencil restoration during performances and events at the Auditorium Theatre or on a historic theatre tour, offered on Mondays at 10:30AM and noon, Tuesdays at 5:30PM, and Thursdays at 10:30AM. More here.
The Legacy Of Bruce Goff Lives On In Exhibit At The University Of Oklahoma
“Do not try to remember,” Bruce Goff cautioned his students at the University of Oklahoma (OU). As chairman of its school of architecture, Goff oversaw drastic change in the architectural teaching emphasis during his 1947–55 tenure, moving away from the Beaux Arts emphasis on copying precedent. Goff and his staff advocated an egalitarian, individualistic practice, rooted in a belief in personal creative potential. This disruptive model is the focus of the exhibition Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture at Bizzell, open now through July 29, 2019, at the school’s Bizzell Memorial Library.
In curating the show, Luca Guido, an OU visiting professor, pulled from the university’s American School Archive to illustrate this narrative, showcasing wild, imaginative student renderings among other treasures from this unique period. “During the ‘50s, when architects referred to a ‘modern’ way to consider architecture in the U.S., they were referring to Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, and the Bauhaus legacy,” explains Guido. “Goff’s work and teaching demonstrates that another way to modern architecture was possible.” Rather than looking to European forebears, OU intended to create an independent American vernacular, influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s principles, according to Guido.
Populating the exhibition are OU students’ otherworldly, hand-drawn renderings, like an atomic power station dreamed up by John Casper; a proposed presidential residence by Ebun Faturoti (who, later, would become a successful architect in his native Nigeria); and an elevation drawing for a Norman, OK flower shop by Ernest Burden—more circus tent than Haus am Horn. All reveal the individualistic, creative styles put forth by Goff and his American School. Skyline Ink, an Oklahoma City–based animation studio, has also re-created Goff’s demolished Bavinger House and his never-built Crystal Chapel using virtual reality. Taken together, Renegades presents a uniquely inventive period of American architectural education. Read more.
Moby’s Midcentury Home In Upstate New York Sells For Charity
Recording artist Moby has sold a house in New York’s Westchester County for $1.1 million, according to the Redfin listing updated Thursday. In July, he put the home on the market for $1.3 million, announcing that he’d donate the money made on the sale to charity.
"It’s one of the most beautiful houses I’ve seen, but to be honest, I’m rarely there," he wrote on his Instagram on July 24. "So I’m going to sell it and take the money to support progressive political candidates, support my animal rights foundation, produce documentaries, and fund scholarships."
Near the New York-Connecticut border and 50 miles from New York City, Moby’s former abode stands on two acres. The two-bedroom, three-bathroom house was built in 1956 and designed by David Henken, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright who was prolific in the lower Hudson Valley.
Emulating Wright’s signature style of blending a house into its surroundings, the 2,562-square-foot house has open-living spaces with floor-to-ceiling windows, bringing the woods into the home. The house has two fireplaces, stone accents and warm wood paneling, images of the home show. The property also has a swimming pool and a detached garage with mahogany paneling. More here.
Olfelt House Being Significantly Altered
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy released this notification: "In mid-December, members of the Advocacy Committee of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s board of directors were concerned to learn of the extent of the changes underway at the Paul and Helen Olfelt House in St Louis Park, Minnesota (1958). It is with profound disappointment that the Conservancy confirms that the Olfelt House is currently undergoing extensive remodeling and construction of an addition. While we take heart that the new addition will be in the same architectural syntax as the existing late-Usonian house, we are saddened to report the architectural plans call for significant changes to a major portion of the original interior fabric of the house."
Unfortunately, the City of St. Louis Park (a first-ring Minneapolis suburb, built largely after WWII) has no historic preservation commission, nor landmark policy whatsoever. Thus, no protection at all. Read more.
10 Little Known Facts About Frank Lloyd Wright's Winter Home
Every winter, from 1938 until his death in 1959, Wright would pack up his family and team of apprentices to escape the harsh Wisconsin weather, and head west to the desert foothills of Arizona where the temperatures were balmy and there was no lack of sunshine. This year marks 80 years since Wright staked his claim in Scottsdale, thus creating his Arizona legacy.
Every piece of Taliesin West has a story, and with each visit, there’s an opportunity to make a new discovery. Whether it’s a first or tenth visit, there is always something new to discover at one of Arizona’s most unique and fascinating historical sites.
The Whirling Arrow shares their insider’s guide, so read more here.
8 Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings Nominated To World Heritage List
Eight major works designed by Frank Lloyd Wright have been nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List by the United States. The U.S. previously submitted a collection of Wright buildings to the World Heritage List in 2015; the revised nomination will be considered by the World Heritage Committee in July 2019.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, a private nonprofit preservation organization based in Chicago, coordinated the nomination. Wright is widely considered to be the greatest American architect of the 20th century. Read more here.
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