2020 is set to be the year of architectural tours, and the best one by far will be Travel Wright, a series of tours around the world based on the work and social impact of Frank Lloyd Wright. Set to begin in February of 2020, Travel Wright was developed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. This series of four different tours will explore America’s most iconic architect, places that influenced him, and his impact on the rest of the world. Each location will only be visited once during the year, and tours have been carefully planned out so as not to overlap. Meaning if you are a Wright fanatic, you could potentially go on each trip — a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get up close and personal with some of his most exciting works. More information here.
Taliesin West in Scottsdale, along with Taliesin in Wisconsin, has seen a bump in visitors since garnering UNESCO World Heritage status, a trend the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation anticipates to continue in the future.
To ensure Mr. Wright’s two personal homes are accurately preserved, Foundation Vice President of Preservation Fred Prozzillo has taken a contemporary approach to the historic preservation of both sites. Through the work of the preservation teams, Mr. Prozzillo seeks to extend the legacy of Mr. Wright’s innovation by showcasing unique design and sustainable practices.
“The preservation of Taliesin West and Taliesin is both unique and challenging. Often people think of historic preservation as picking a point in time and preserving a site to a specific date so people can study it, learn from it and experience it as it was in that moment. Wright meant both of these sites to be ever-changing laboratories. He’d split his time between the two and upon his return, he would see the property with a new eye and make changes to the sites season after season. Our challenge is thinking about how we preserve these living sites and accommodate 140,000 visitors per year, while working to preserve the concept of constant change. Our preservation teams maintain a respect for the history of the sites while evolving to fit the changing needs of the properties,” Mr. Prozzillo said in a prepared statement.
One area the team’s will look to improve is accessibility. Ensuring the sites are accessible to individuals with disabilities is essential to achieving its mission, a release claims. Also, Taliesin West’s water and electrical infrastructure is at the end of its serviceable life and the foundation needs to identify how to replace it in a way that doesn’t compromise the buildings. Another identified issue are the roofs at Taliesin West that were once canvas and over time have changed to acrylic. The preservation team is investigating a way to get back to a fabric roof material. Read more about how the Foundation intends to accomplish these goals here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation welcoming two new board members to its Board of Trustees. Diana Smith and David E. Gross both bring a great amount of expertise, experience, and passion to the Foundation.
Smith has been a resident of Scottsdale since 1986, and has been a force in the arts community for decades. Throughout her life, she has served in a variety of roles at significant cultural, art, and historic preservation organizations around the Valley.
Gross is a practicing architect from New York who serves as executive and Co-Founding Partner of GF55 Partners: Architecture and Interior Design. His projects and renovation work are award-winning, and have been recognized by the AIA. He has been a visiting design juror at Yale College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Pratt Institute.
Read more here to learn about their backgrounds, their connection to Wright, and the importance of continuing Wright’s legacy.
The life and philosophy of the American furniture maker, George Nakashima, who applied "a thousand skills to… shape wood and realize its true potential" is illustrated with stunning pieces offered at Christie’s for auction.
Nakashima first studied forestry at the University of Washington, but quickly switched to architecture. He later completed a Master’s degree in architecture from MIT. In 1934, Nakashima joined the architecture firm of Antonin Raymond, a protégé of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Nakashima became increasingly disillusioned with architecture. He wanted to champion traditional philosophies and craftsmanship, not industrialization and modernity. That year, Nakashima decided to pursue a new career as a furniture designer.
"Instead of a long-running and bloody battle with Nature to dominate her," he wrote, "we can walk in step with a tree to release the joy in her grains, to join with her to realize her potentials, to enhance the environments of man."
Read more about this interesting man and see some of his beautiful creations here.
Curbed Chicago has an article by Elizabeth Blasius with illustrations by Morgan Ramberg defining Chicago’s architectural styles and types—and how to identify them. Blasius notes, "Chicago is the ever-beating architectural heart of America: From developing the modest balloon-frame home to creating the skyscraper, Chicago is the birthplace of some of the most iconic and groundbreaking buildings the country has ever seen."
While no list can include everything, there is a sample of many iconic architectural schools. For example, #8 is the Prairie School:
"While Daniel Burnham and Edward H. Bennett were looking toward the classical architecture and harmonious public spaces of European cities to create their Plan of Chicago in 1909, Frank Lloyd Wright was designing a dramatically cantilevered new home for Frederick C. Robie in Hyde Park. Wright’s designs created a radical 'New School of the Middle West' that historians would later christen the 'Prairie School,' defined by broad, low eaves, horizontal lines, and a rejection of historical styles. Architecture firms like Wright’s, George W. Maher, Dwight Perkins, and Schmidt, Garden & Martin designed residencies, schools, and park buildings that mimicked the flat planes of the Midwest prairie — foreshadowing the modern movement to come."
Read the entire article and see the interesting illustrations here.
The village of Glencoe, Illinois, is working with a couple of organizations to try to save a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building from being demolished. The one-story Booth cottage is currently located in the 200 block of Franklin Road. Its new owners want it removed in order to build a new house on the property.
Glencoe village manager Phil Kiraly said Wednesday the village is trying to keep the house intact and move it elsewhere in the village but adds the village would not be picking up the tab. The village has been talking with the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy and the Glencoe Historical Society.
Barbara Gordon, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy, said the cottage was originally owned by Wright’s lawyer, Sherman Booth, and Booth’s wife, Elizabeth. "It’s really such an important part of the Glencoe story."
Village manager Kiraly hopes a solution is worked out in the next few weeks. If things don't work out toward keeping the building in Glencoe, he said people outside Glencoe have contacted the village in the hopes of moving the cottage elsewhere in Illinois. Still, he's hoping the end result is that it remains in Glencoe.
When the new homeowners applied for a demolition permit, there was a 180-day waiting period. That period ended last Saturday, but Kiraly say that does not mean the small house could be torn down soon. He says that, in Glencoe, demolition cannot begin until a construction permit is approved. That has not been done yet. More here.