Unity Temple Wins Historic Preservation Award
Just months after being honored with a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple can add another feather to its cap. The Unitarian Universalist church received a 2019 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the organization announced Wednesday.
The annual Driehaus awards are selected using a juried competition process. Reserved for projects that “demonstrate excellence in execution and a positive impact on the vitality of their towns and cities,” the award is considered one of the most coveted and prestigious accolades for historic preservation.
Although the 1908 building is considered to be one of Wright’s most significant designs, the Oak Park building had suffered decades of deterioration and even earned a spot on the Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Places in America list in 2009. A $25 million restoration effort painstakingly repaired the building’s concrete exterior as well as the sanctuary’s plaster, paint, woodwork, and art glass skylights. “It was phenomenal before, but it’s even more amazing now,” Gunny Harboe, the Chicago-based architect who led the restoration, told Curbed Chicago. More here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Introduces Revamped K-12 Field Trip Program
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is rolling out a revamped K-12 field trip program this fall at Taliesin West in Scottsdale with the introduction of two new tours as well as corresponding education labs. Frank Lloyd Wright’s revolutionary design concepts and buildings at Taliesin West, a newly designated UNESCO World Heritage site, are used to educate and inspire people of all ages.
Considered America’s greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright changed the way we build and live. Utilizing the principles of Mr. Wright’s organic architecture, the field trip program’s curricula provides students opportunities to learn by doing, through dynamic, applied science and art projects.
The new expanded programming will include the Architectural Historic Core Tour (grades K-12). Created and led by educators, this tour leverages STEAM elements to discuss architecture, building techniques, environment, and Mr. Wright’s idea of “learning by doing.” Patterns and Design in the Sonoran Desert Tour (grades K-12) at Taliesin West explores how the Sonoran Desert inspired Frank Lloyd Wright through engagement with nature, art, and organic design. More information about these tours and other offerings here.
Chicago's South Side Story Told Through Homes Selected In Lee Bey's New Book
In "Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side," published this month by Northwestern University Press, longtime Chicago architecture writer Lee Bey highlights 60 standout buildings that together illustrate the layered, sometimes forgotten history and beauty of the city’s South Side. Bey, who grew up in the Avalon Park neighborhood, writes about and shows his photos of an assortment of places built from the late 19th Century through the early 21st.
One in particular will appeal to Wrightians. Originally constructed in 1900, the house and stable on South Harvard Avenue is not your typical Prairie style home. Instead, this one features a Japanese-influenced flair and steeply pitched rooflines—something that is not exactly common in Frank Lloyd Wright designs. The house was designed for Stephen Foster, a real estate attorney who worked with developers around the West Pullman neighborhood. Frank Lloyd Wright design this home for him as a weekend and vacation home in the then-remote neighborhood. “It doesn’t look like anything else Wright designed,” Bey said, “but you can see a little Japanese influence in the way the roof tips up.” In 1996, the house was declared a Chicago Landmark. More here.
Wright's Foster House The Cheapest Wright Listing In America
Speaking of the Foster House: At an asking price of $175,000, Frank Lloyd Wright's Foster House and Stable in the West Pullman neighborhood of Chicago is the cheapest house on the market by the famed architect. If you've always wanted to live in a Wright home, this may be your chance to get a deal. More here.
Rediscovering A Forgotten John Lautner In Echo Park
A once-forgotten John Lautner designed home in Echo Park, California, has been re-born thanks to it's new owner, fashion designer Trina Turk.
Built in 1948, on an ocean-view acre in Echo Park, with glass walls and a floating V-shaped roof, the 1,100-square-foot, two-bedroom home was designed and built for developer Jules Salkin between the time Lautner apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1930s and the time he got his architecture license in 1952.
Turk and her late husband, Jonathan Skow — the force behind the eye-catching Mr. Turk men’s fashion line, who died last year after a body-surfing accident in Hawaii — became aware of the home when it came up for sale in 2014. The couple was shocked because, as members of the Los Angeles Conservancy and connoisseurs of Midcentury homes (they have purchased and restored versions in Silver Lake and Palm Springs), they had never heard of it. As it happened, the house was somehow not included in the ledger of Lautner-designed homes, which can fetch great sums.
When the longtime owner died, her children decided to sell. By that time, the home had been a rental for years and suffered water damage — the soaring roof design, the unmaintained glass walls and doors, and the slab-on-grade foundation that had settled all allowed flooding during rains.
At the broker’s open house, Turk and Skow imagined the fun of restoring the home, while others in their earshot deemed it a disaster — even with an asking price of $999,000. The couple offered $1.2 million, along with a letter to the heirs describing their plans to restore Lautner’s original intent, and won the bid.
They hired contractor Marshall Knoll of Knoll Design Build and architect Barbara Bestor, who had designed showrooms for the couple and who led the restoration of the famed Lautner Silvertop home in Silver Lake. Skow oversaw the Echo Park project with input from Turk, a methodical process that took two years. The diligence paid off, though, with the L.A. Conservancy bestowing a Preservation Award in 2018, saying the finished product “exemplifies great stewardship; it’s preservation done right,” and a Historic Preservation Citation the same year from the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles chapter. See it here.
Michael P. Johnson Circular Home For Sale
Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s love of radial designs, this circular lodge-style house in East Troy, Wisconsin, is now for sale.
The 6,312 square foot home was designed in 1974 by Michael P. Johnson, a longtime professor at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. With four-bedrooms and four-baths, the 1974-built home sits low to the ground, and its main feature is its circular design, propped up by 100-year-old beams that fan out from the center of the house. Timber permeates the house, with wood-paneled ceilings and walls that envelops the space a cozy, cabin-like atmosphere.
Inside, the radial design creates a truly unusual layout. The entryway leads into an open-plan first floor, where a curved kitchen looks out onto the main living room. Other notable features include multiple wood-burning stoves and bathrooms with curved walls. The entire second floor is dedicated to the master suite, which features a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and triangular skylights.
Sitting on more than 15 acres of woodlands, it is asking $789,000. See it here.
A Rare St. Pete Home Designed By Blanchard Jolly For Sale
A rare Tampa Bay gem designed by Blanchard Jolly is on the market for $1,799,900. Located on the shores of Boca Ciega Bay, this two-bedroom, two-bathroom estate is an absolute stunner. Built in 1982, the near 4,200 square-foot home still retains Jolly's original vision, and features a double-sided fireplace, a library, a sauna, an oversized kitchen, a dock, and wall-to-ceiling windows that overlook a multi-level endless pool.
Jolly, who was one half of the Harvard Jolly architecture firm and was a pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright, died in 2017. But the famed architect left behind a massive amount of recognizable structures in the Central Florida region. Jolly's work can be seen at the Sunken Gardens in St. Pete, the terminal building at the Albert Whitted Airport, Booker High School in Sarasota, and many others local spots. See the home here.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Famed Minnesota Gas Station Sold For First Time
Cloquet, Minnesota's landmark R.W. Lindholm Service Station, more commonly known as "The Frank Lloyd Wright Gas Station," has been sold for the first time since its construction. The service station was completed in 1958 for local Wright clients, the Linholm's, who also build a home designed by the architect. The gas station stayed in the family when Joyce (Lindholm) McKinney passed it down to their sons. The sons reached retirement age and sold off parts of their businesses, including the gas station last year.
The building is topped by a large and distinctive cantilevered roof that is covered with copper shingles, which turned to a green patina decades ago.It includes a glass-enclosed observation deck over the main office. At one time, it sported custom-made furniture, a table and egg shell-shaped chairs designed by Wright. Someone stole the table years ago and the previous owners kept the chairs.
Chris Chartier is happy to continue working out of the four garage bays he has occupied since 1982. “People come from around the world to take photos,” Chartier said.
Besides being a tourist destination for Wright architecture admirers, the building has also been the site of music videos, an insurance commercial and an episode of “My North” with Minnesota native Louie Anderson. More here.
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