In 1957, Frank Lloyd Wright appeared on the Mike Wallace Interview, a well-known television program of the late 1950s. In this article, The Whirling Arrow shares excerpts from the interview, which gives insight into Wright’s still-influential thoughts and feelings on a wide variety of topics. Read the entire article here.
Preservation Buffalo Niagara has announced that it will hold a Modernism Week in Buffalo. This is very exciting news, because it will hopefully draw attention to the plight of some of the city’s at risk modernist structures including architect Paul Rudolph’s Shoreline Apartments, a number of which have already been torn down and replaced with uninspired residential units. Then there’s Willert Park Courts, which was recently announced as one of the 11 most endangered historic places in the US.
When it comes to modernist architecture, Buffalo has a handful of real beauts, including Kleinhans Music Hall, a number of Frank Lloyd Wright structures (minus his Administration Building), One M&T Plaza, Temple Beth Zion… and these buildings need to be recognized and celebrated. Modernism Week will also draw attention to greater Buffalo’s design, art, and culture. The event, featuring tours, lectures, and events, will be held from September 6 to September 12, 2019. More information here.
An hour’s drive north of Phoenix, you’ll find a 1970's experimental community that remains active today. Many people are intrigued by the idea of a prototype for urban design in the middle of the desert—especially one that has been in continuous operation for nearly 50 years. It was the vision of Paolo Soleri, an architect and student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Today, about 80 people live at Arcosanti, according to Tim Bell, the project’s director of community engagement. Read more.
Curbed LA has an informative article on the humble, but decorative "Breeze Block." The name refers to a perforated concrete wall made up of individual blocks, each pierced with the same shape, most commonly a cross or circle. Mounted together, they form a striking pattern that hearkens back to block designs by Frank Lloyd Wright and other architects from the 1920s.
"Breeze blocks caused a sensation in the 1950s and ’60s. In those two decades, Americans shunned classical designs in favor of simple lines and experimented with concrete and prefabricated building techniques. Breeze blocks were the perfect companion to modernist buildings. One of the hallmarks of the style—floor-to-ceiling glass windows and walls that blurred indoor and outdoor living—were terrible insulators. But a barrier of breeze blocks could be placed in front of the glass, filtering sun without hindering ventilation. The blocks were cheap, and local manufacturers, who organized a big publicity blitz, created hundreds of patterns."
See the examples and read the article here.
Located outside of Chicago in suburban Barrington Hills, a home by architect Dennis Blair built in 1972 has decent curb appeal for buyers with more modern tastes. But, step inside to see an impressive skylight atrium with a two-story ficus tree.
The home centers around the landscaped interior space in spiral arrangement with each room rising a few steps above the last. The layout is no coincidence given that Blair studied at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin school and worked under the legendary designer on New York’s Guggenheim Museum. Blair went on to create dozens of Chicago-area homes in places such as Long Grove, Lake Bluff, and North Barrington.
According to Baird & Warner listing agent Lou Zucaro, the current owners preserved Blair’s vision for the home while bringing it into the 21st Century. Improvements include expanding and updating the 1970s-era kitchen and replacing the floors, windows, doors, and roof. The spiraling atrium home is currently asking $770,000. See the photos here.
This article on touring West Michigan includes a stop at Frank Lloyd Wright's Meyer May House, 45 minutes southeast in Grand Rapids' landmarked Heritage Hill neighborhood. Though completed in 1909, this luminous home feels of-the-moment. One of Wright's last Prairie-style projects, it was built to echo the wide expanse of America's plains, with recessed horizontal mortar lines and hedges cut to parallel the building. Steelcase, which now owns the house, offers tours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Read about the rest of the itinerary here.
This is the story behind Spring House, a Florida residence designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Spring House isn’t merely a dwelling, it’s a sculpture, a work of art by one of America’s great artists, imbued with the generous Florida souls of Clifton and George Lewis.
The Lewises wanted a life imbued with a more progressive, more egalitarian, more ecologically aware set of values. They thought their house should reflect their ideas. In 1950, Clifton and George attended a reception in Lakeland in honor of Frank Lloyd Wright’s design of the “Child of the Sun” buildings at Florida Southern College. The Lewises admired Wright, having read his autobiography and his architectural manifestos. Egged on by George, Clifton walked up to the most important architect in America and said, “Mr. Wright, we’re the Lewises from Tallahassee. We have many children and not much money and we want you to do a home for us.” Read the rest of the story here.