An architectural historian and historic preservation expert, Justin Gunther became director of Fallingwater in 2018, succeeding Lynda Waggoner, who retired after more than 40 years. Two months after Fallingwater and seven other Frank Lloyd Wright buildings were designated a World Heritage site, the news is still settling in.
Gunther, who now lives in Pittsburgh, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia Commonwealth and a master’s in historic preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design where he most recently taught preservation and was program administrator. Gunther has also worked as preservation manager at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
“What we think it’ll probably do for us and the region is to generate more international tourism,’’ said Gunther. “And the fact we have more Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in Kentuck Knob (in Chalk Hill) and Polymath Park (in Acme) – not only can you come to Laurel Highlands to see Fallingwater, but you can explore the legacy of Wright’s architecture even more.’’
Gunther noted the three Wright sites are working together to develop a campaign that will be called “Wright in the Laurel Highlands.’’ More here.
The Dr. George and Eleanor Stockman House and Robert E. McCoy Architectural Interpretive Center in Mason City, Iowa, are open to visitors during the week.
The prairie school-style house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was saved from demolition and moved a few blocks to its present location in 1989. It later opened as a popular tourist attraction and noted architectural landmark.
A gift shop with Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired merchandise, including furniture, jewelry, and learning materials can also be found at the center. More here.
The Beaufort County Open Land Trust’s 2019 Auldbrass Tours will be held 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 and Saturday, Nov. 2. The last tour will be at 5:30 p.m. and the gates will close at 6 p.m.
Auldbrass Plantation is located on a 4,000-acre tract of land along the Combahee River. The large house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1939 for C. Leigh Stevens, a Michigan industrialist.Auldbrass Plantation remains privately owned by Hollywood producer Joel Silver.
Visitors can purchase morning tickets or afternoon tickets, which correspond to when they can tour the main house. Ticket holders can arrive early and stay late and enjoy the property at their leisure.
The tours are restricted to visitors 12 and older and will be conducted rain or shine. No coolers, pets or smoking are allowed.
Tickets are $175 and may be purchased online at https://bit.ly/2kHMa9N. Proceeds benefit the Beaufort County Open Land Trust. Hurry, the tours typically sell out. More.
Here is a reminder to go see the small but important exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that explores a little-explored facet of Frank Lloyd Wright's creations: his line of wallpapers, printed and woven textiles, and other home goods designed for the public.
"Frank Lloyd Wright Textiles: The Taliesin Line, 1955-60" remains on view through Apr. 5, 2020. It reveals how, in 1954, Wright entered into his first commercial venture, designing a line of affordable home products aimed at the average consumer. The designs were based on Wright's architectural designs and inspired by his buildings. The line was named Taliesin, after his homes and studios in Wisconsin and Arizona, and was available only through authorized dealers.
Wright entered into the venture at the urging of his friend Elizabeth Gordon, editor of House Beautiful magazine. To publicize the Taliesin Line of products, the November 1955 issue of House Beautiful was devoted to Wright's work, presenting the entire collection. Ultimately, though, only the textiles, wallpaper, paint and furniture were produced.
The exhibit features an enormous original sample book, one of only 100 copies of "Schumacher's Taliesin Line of Decorative Fabrics and Wallpapers Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright" (1955). The works were a collaboration between Wright, his apprentices and Schumacher, but Wright had final approval. More information here.
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation 2018-2019 Graphic Design Fellow, Meagan Vanderhill, has been exploring the concept of learning by doing at the Whirling Arrow blog. In this article, she challenges herself to find inspiration in her everyday routine by seeing things through a more creative lens.
"I’m exploring the role of creativity and inspiration in the Taliesin Fellowship. The Fellowship sought to create well-rounded, creative individuals and teach them, not just skills, but a way of living. Frank Lloyd Wright believed that everything was part of the whole. Unity played a huge role in the philosophy of organic architecture and life at Taliesin. The Fellowship taught the inter-relatedness of all things. Learning by doing was essential to this lesson because every opportunity at Taliesin converged in order to teach that creativity, art, design, and organic architecture are influential and applicable in every sphere of life. Taliesin Life, a guidebook created by the Taliesin community that outlines different aspects of Wright’s Fellowship, shares this list of where inspiration can be found at Taliesin."
Read the entire article here.
A Sherman Oaks, California home designed in 1958 for trailblazing “Steamboat Willie” animator Ub Iwerks by architects John Lautner and James Charlton is on the market.
Lautner, the maverick modernist whose designs have appeared on film, did the initial drawings. He then turned the project over to Charlton to finish. Like Lautner, Charlton apprenticed under Frank Lloyd Wright before he arrived in Los Angeles.
Dubbed the Ubbe (Ub) E. and Mildred Iwerks House, the modernist creation sits tucked between gardens and trees with 3,132 square feet of living space. The asking price is $2.279 million. See the photos here.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s connection to Arizona, the location of his winter Home and Studio Taliesin West, runs deep with his architectural influence seen all over the Valley. In this The Whirling Arrow article, PhD student David R. Richardson gives a brief overview of several of Wright’s most notable projects in the "Grand Canyon State," including the now lost Ocatilla Desert Camp and more. Read the entire article here.
In a last-minute rescue, a Pennsylvania-based preservation group has swooped in to save a distinctive modern house in Minnetonka, Minnesota from teardown.
The house, which was designed in the 1960s by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr., architect and son of Frank Lloyd Wright, sits on 12 prime acres of land that are being developed into 13 luxury home sites. The city had already approved the demolition when a preservationist learned of the house and its pending fate.
Thomas Papinchak, CEO of Polymath Park, a Wright preservation destination in Acme, PA, said he contacted the builder, Zehnder Homes, and arranged an immediate visit to see the house, "Birdwing."
The spacious 6,500-square-foot home has many distinctive features, including expansive views of nature from every room, walls of stone, carved woodwork, massive fireplaces, a copper roof, and a copper hood in the kitchen.
“I scrambled,” Papinchak said, and was “impressed. It’s a mesmerizing structure, with so many traits of Frank Lloyd Wright — the large prows, angles, and overall plan.” Within days Papinchak had struck a deal to save Birdwing from the wrecking ball. The builder agreed to donate the house to the nonprofit organization that oversees the park, and a crew is currently engaged in “architectural surgery,” Papinchak said. Birdwing will be dismantled, packed into shipping containers and reassembled at the park where eventually it will be open for touring and overnight lodging.
At Polymath Park, it will join four other vintage homes with Wright connections. Two were designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice, a third was designed by Wright for a site in Illinois, and the most recent addition is another house with Minnesota origins — "Mäntylä," designed by Wright for the Lindholm family in Cloquet, MN, which was reassembled at Polymath Park and opened to the public earlier this year.
When "Birdwing" is reassembled and opened at the park, “This will be the only public site offering tours of work by the father and the son,” said Papinchak. “It’s about preserving a legacy and educating the next generation of students.” More here.
Architectural Digest spotlights one of the most spectacular examples of organic architecture: a house in Joshua Tree that was designed in the 1980s by Frank Lloyd Wright disciple Kendrick Bangs Kellogg for artist Bev Doolittle and her husband Jay. It took roughly 20 years to complete. The house was designed to sit on the rocky landscape and rise out of it like a desert plant.
While the big, dramatic statement of the architecture first drew the attention of writer Kristopher Dukes and her Facebook executive husband Matt Jacobson, it was the micro level of custom detail that retained it. “The first time I experienced the house, I was blown away by all of the uncompromising details,” says Dukes. Dukes and Jacobson chose not to interfere with the magic when they acquired the property from the Doolittles. “Keeping the house and its furnishings as they were intended was an obvious decision for us—how many pieces of architecture are built completely to the architect’s spec and preserved that way?” See the photos here.