Palm Springs’ most exclusive hillside neighborhood has been rumbling with the sound of power tools and construction trucks for well over a year, as more than a hundred craftsmen from across the Coachella Valley have worked to bring the city’s most famous house back to life. Many refer to it as a John Lautner house, in reference to the celebrated Los Angeles architect who designed it, but locally it’s known to many as the Bob Hope House, a circular 24,000-square-foot residence built 40-plus years ago for the entertainer and his family.
Observers have said the structure, with its sweeping, gravity-defying roof and 60-foot-wide oculus, looks like a spaceship parked on a rugged hill — and when Hope first saw Lautner’s architectural model, he quipped: “Well, at least when they come down from Mars they’ll know where to go.”
Lautner envisioned a residence that blended in with the surrounding rocky landscape. The interior design would be defined by the extraordinary play of desert light throughout the home — and the breathtaking views of the desert and the mountains.
Bob and Dolores Hope wanted a home to reflect their status. Eventually, they hired a Beverly Hills society decorator to do the interiors. When the house was completed in 1980, Lautner walked away dismayed. The desert residence was considered as a footnote, rather than a highlight, in a distinguished career.
Now, thanks to the deep pockets of venture capitalist Ron Burkle, the house is being remade to reflect the architect’s original vision. Lautner protégé Helena Arahuete, who worked with him for 23 years, has stripped the interiors and rebuilt the inside with natural materials. Swan faucets, wallpaper and carpet are out. Quartzite flooring, African mahogany and Brazilian granite are in — as is the shape-shifting light that transforms the house during the course of the day.
With the project now in its final stages, the house is almost ready for its relaunch. See the photos and read the entire interesting article here.
Justin Davidson of Intelligencer has written an interesting piece on the conservation of two priceless works of architecture, Charles and Ray Eames’s Case Study House No. 8 in Pacific Palisades, and John Lautner’s "Silvertop" in Silver Lake, California. In this article Davidson came away excited and reassured that another generation is working to preserve those architectural experiments and at the same time keep their improvisational spirit alive. Read his article here.
Frank Lloyd Wright student Sim Bruce Richards Usonian home, originally built in 1946-7, is for sale in the Wooded area of Point Loma, CA. A large heavily wooded lot, with authentic zen-inspired Japanese landscaping completes the indoor/outdoor living in this classic home. Much of the original design is intact, including the original kitchen and brick hearth at the heart of the home, a common Richards feature. Sim Bruce Richards is becoming more widely recognized for his body of work in southern California, and this home is a Mills Act candidate, as other SBR examples have received historic designation. See the photos here.
This year’s Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy conference marks the orgnaization's 30th anniversary. Wright’s Influence in Postwar Southern California, Oct. 2-6 in Los Angeles, picks up where the 2005 L.A. conference (focused on the period 1917-1941) left off. Education sessions will explore Wright’s influence on John Lautner, Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler and others whose postwar work in California became highly influential in its own right. Join us for tours of fantastic private houses, a special dinner at Hollyhock House, the annual Homeowners and Public Sites Dinner, and more! Get more info and sign-up for this exciting event here.
Young professionals in the first five years of their careers in architecture or historic preservation, and graduate students in architecture or historic preservation (full-time or part-time) currently enrolled at the time of application, are eligible to apply for the 2019 John G. Thorpe Young Professionals and Students Fellowship. This program was established in 2016 to honor John Garrett Thorpe, prominent restoration architect and longtime Conservancy board member. Recipients will receive one regular general conference registration to attend the Conservancy’s 2019 conference in Los Angeles, Wright’s Influence in Postwar Southern California, Oct. 2-6 (which just opened for registrants). Two or more awards will be made in 2019. More information here.
On June 8, 2019 – the 152nd anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth—hundreds of community members enjoyed a day of celebration and exploration during the first-ever "Discovery Day," a free, all-ages open house event at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. Read more about this and upcoming events here.
Hidden from public gaze for five years, one of the jewels in Melbourne, Australia's architectural crown, "The Capitol" — a 1920s design triumph of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin — has reopened its doors. The RMIT University-owned theatre underwent a three-year $20m+ restoration after it was mothballed in 2014 after falling into disrepair.
One of the earliest examples of the art deco architecture, The Capitol originally opened in 1924 and was the first large picture palace in Victoria. It was designed to evoke a crystalline cave with its geometric ceiling concealing more than 4,000 coloured lamps.
The Griffins, a husband and wife team, had worked for Frank Lloyd Wright, one of America’s greatest architects in Chicago, before they came to Australia. Marion Mahony was a pioneer and had been the first woman to obtain an architecture licence in Illinois, but she remained in the shadows of Wright and her better-known husband.
Architect Peter Malatt from Six Degrees, which oversaw the The Capitol refurbishment, said the project was a double-edged sword to work on. “You have to pay a lot of respect to what came before,” Malatt said. Read more here.
Curbed New Orleans says it’s always newsworthy when a distinctive, Albert Ledner-designed home hits the market—and this Uptown abode just off Audubon Park is no exception. The five-bedroom home covers 6,508 square feet and has five bathrooms, five full bathrooms, and three half-baths.
A follower of Frank Lloyd Wright, architect Albert Ledner (1924-2017) left his fingerprint all over New Orleans. The modernist’s most recognizable buildings include the “ashtray house,” the former National Maritime Union building, and his star-shaped personal residence.
This home's open living area displays the strong horizontal lines and indoor-outdoor continuity (thanks to glass doors and walls connecting the living room and courtyard) that are Ledner’s hallmarks. It’s asking $2,880,000. See the pictures here.
The Hagerman Valley Historical Society is having a fundraiser tour through Archie Teater's studio, which is also the only building in Idaho designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Teater died in 1978. Today he is kept alive with his magnificent paintings that offer detailed pictures of the place he called home.
Society director Jan Lemcke said it’s an opportunity to view Teater’s varied work. Teater was born in 1901 in Boise and was raised in Hagerman. He is remembered for his landscape work, particularly his paintings of the Grand Tetons. Lemcke said that his portrait work was underrated.
Teater's Knoll is the only building in Idaho designed by prolific architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Lemcke said. The building is an elaborate one-room structure that is like a parallelogram following an intricate diamond grid pattern. It is high above the Snake River in the Hagerman Valley; Wright was known for finding a balance between environment and man-made structures. Hagerman Historical Society board member Darlene Nemnick said the owner of the studio, Henry Whiting, and Archie Teater collector Lester Taylor will be available for questions during the tour. Food will be provided with the tour, she said.
“For me, the combination of an Idaho artist and a world-renowned architect is incredible,” Nemnick said. “It’s a beautiful little oasis.”
The money raised by the fundraiser will go to building a new museum in Hagerman. Tours take place at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. June 15. Check-in is at the Hagerman Valley Senior Center, 140 E Lake St., Hagerman. Transportation for the tours will be provided by the Hagerman Senior Center.
Tickets can be purchased the day of the tour but reservations are recommended. Tickets can be purchased at hagermanmuseum.org. Tickets are $75 for the general public and $65 for members of Hagerman Valley Historical Society. More here.
Steve Sikora, co-owner of the Willey House in Minneapolis, MN, continues his fascinating series delving into the history of the Wright-designed home at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's Whirling Arrow blog. This installment covers his detective work tracking down the story behind and current whereabouts of a beautiful Korean folding screen photographed at the Willey House in the 1930s. Read the whole story here.