Bob Vila has given us a list of "The Coolest House You Can Tour in Every State." Scroll through for the most architecturally and historically significant homes in each state that open their doors to the public. No surprise that there are many Frank Lloyd Wright sites included. Did your favorite make the list? Check them out here and then schedule a tour of the one nearest you.
At Taliesin and Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright locally sourced materials for the buildings. At Taliesin West, Wright used a technique known as desert masonry, where apprentices would collect stones and rocks from the surrounding desert, as well as sand and soil from the local washes.
Today, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation continues this legacy in their preservation work, by sourcing local materials and partnering with local contractors whenever possible. In this edition of Living with Nature: Sustainable Practices from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, they are focusing on the benefits to the environment and the economy when choosing local options. Read more here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy notes that historic preservation has increasingly come to rely on visitor centers and public education programs as integral aspects of its mission. With the introduction of new digital technologies, public education programs are undergoing a revolution. At the same time, visitor centers continue to function in traditional ways: as ticketing and staging areas, gift shops and bookstores, cafeterias and even restaurants. Their intention has always been to introduce visitors to the relevant historical context while also serving as significant sources of income for the site’s maintenance.
In light of the extraordinary success of Toshiko Mori’s visitor center at the Martin House in Buffalo, the 2020 conference, Interpreting Wright: Visitor Centers and Public Education Programs, will focus on the form and function of visitor centers and their associated educational programs. They are looking most specifically for papers that examine existing, projected, or rejected visitor centers at Frank Lloyd Wright sites. These assessments need not be limited to physical structures but might examine a wide range of interpretation strategies, such as docent training and tour programs that help to shape the visitor’s experience of the building and site. More general studies of the history of visitor centers are also welcome. Read more about submitting proposals here.
Dion Neutra, the son of the 20th century architect Richard Neutra, who also waged a decades-long war to save his father’s iconic buildings from the ravages of time, remodeling, and demolition, has died.
As the scion of an architecture practice synonymous with International Style modernism, Neutra was a link to the generation of 20th century architectural titans that included his father, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, Louis Kahn and Rudolph Schindler.
Richard Neutra, a Viennese émigré who came to the United States in 1923 to work with Frank Lloyd Wright, arrived in Los Angeles in 1925, the year before his son was born, and began building.
The father and son, individually and in collaboration, executed hundreds of houses and civic projects. Many of them received laurels from the American Institute of Architects, were designated as landmarks, and made alluring motion-picture cameos — as Richard Neutra’s 1929 Lovell Health House (the first steel-frame dwelling in the United States) did in the 1997 movie “Hollywood Confidential.”
Between them, Richard and Dion Neutra exerted their influence upon the built environment and visual aesthetics of Los Angeles for nearly a century. The lithe and airy structures were executed in a palette of no-nonsense glass, steel, concrete and wood — gleaming and seemingly machine-made. At once elegant and breezy, and articulating Southern Californians’ desire for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle, Neutra architecture achieved global renown as a symbol of Los Angeles. Read more about Dion Neutra's life here.
The home of preeminent architect Sanford Goldman is for now for sale in St. Petersburg, Florida. Goldman, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, is responsible for the Hernando County government center, numerous schools throughout Florida, and quite a few impressive mid-century modern homes in the Tampa Bay area.
Asking $1,100,000, the 3,114 square-foot home comes with four bedrooms and four bathrooms. It also features 145-feet of waterfront, a courtyard with a fountain, a sailboat dock, raised decks, a vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom, two fireplaces, a mother-in-law suite, and stunning views of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Goldman studied under Wright for two years in the late 1950s at the Taliesin fellowship in Wisconsin, and practiced architecture in Tampa Bay for over 50 years. In that time, Goldman was known for his skill at "blurring the lines between exterior and interior," and his use of glass walls and courtyards. See the listing here.
Broadly characterizing the American suburb (and suburbanite) is problematic because each is geographically and historically unique. Author Amanda Kolson Hurley presents case studies in Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City that range from anarchist communes to bourgeois utopias. Hidden in the achievements and failures of suburbia, Hurley argues, is a roadmap to future sustainable and equitable housing.
Suburbs were built coast to coast. Walter Gropius, chair of architecture at Harvard University, and his Bauhaus colleague Marcel Breuer, created a curriculum that continued the Bauhaus spirit of designing for the masses. Simple materials and efficient utilization of space were emphasized in these extraordinary residential projects. Even Frank Lloyd Wright was attracted to this concept in designing his Usonian homes. Read Kealey Boyd's critic of Hurley's book here.
Classic Rug Collection unveiled three lines of rugs and floorcloths inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Classic Rug President Barbara Barran said the company signed an agreement with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation earlier this year to design and sell Wright-inspired products at a range of price points. Wright had a comprehensive vision for his architectural projects, including the interior aesthetics, and in many cases proposed rugs to coordinate with his furniture designs. While some of these rugs have become iconic, not all of Wright’s rug designs came to fruition. In creating the Signature Series, Barran drew upon the full range of Wright’s productive output: motifs for ceilings, windows, perforated wooden panels, concrete blocks and various geometric drawings. Some of the pieces incorporate cut or looped pile, hand-carving, or a range of pile heights for interest and textural variation.
The Signature Series will be marketed to the A&D community and can be ordered in any size and in custom colors. The rugs, made from New Zealand wool and natural silk, are hand-knotted in Nepal and hand-tufted in Thailand at GoodWeave-approved facilities. The moderately priced Usonian lines of floorcloths and handwoven flat-weaves will be sold at Wright venues and museum stores, and through catalogs. The U.S.-made floorcloths are available in six patterns, many derived from Wright’s window designs. The six flat-weave patterns are hand-loomed in India of sturdy, washable cotton. More here.
Crain's Chicago Business reports that the architect who saved the John S. Van Bergen-designed Irving House by moving it from Wilmette to Evanston and restoring it has it back on the market at a reduced asking price.
The house was built in 1928 on Isabella Street in Wilmette, designed by John Van Bergen, an architect who worked for three iconic practitioners of the Prairie School—Walter Burley Griffin, Frank Lloyd Wright, and William Drummond—before launching his own practice and designing numerous homes in the style on the North Shore and in other areas.
Chris Enck, who had been renting out the house since 2016 when it didn’t land a buyer at $625,000, listed it Dec. 2 for $599,500. While his listing agent, Eileen Campbell of Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, previously told Crain's the home is now priced below Enck’s total investment in it, Enck said in an email Tuesday that Campbell’s statement was incorrect.
“The goal was and still is to at least break even on the project,” Enck wrote. “I would hate to have people take away the message that the project was not worthwhile.” Read more about it here.