While Frank Lloyd Wright spent his career advocating for the development of a distinctly American architecture, his buildings are deeply indebted to Japanese art, architecture, landscape, and traditions. Join the Center for Collections and Research as they investigate Wright’s lifelong fascination with Japan, and how his passion impacted his work, his home, and even the lives of his clients. Frank Lloyd Wright And Japan: Influences, Imports, And Impact will be presented by Kevin Adkisson, Associate Curator, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
Frank Lloyd Wright was introduced to Japanese art and architecture in Chicago as a young architect, first through prints and then the Japanese Pavilion at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. He travelled to Japan in 1905 and lived in Tokyo between 1916 and 1922 to oversee the design and construction of the Imperial Hotel. Wright built a handful of additional structures in the country while amassing a large collection of Japanese art: prints, screens, scrolls, sculptures, textiles, and ceramics. These objects would be integrated into the architect’s own Wisconsin home, Taliesin.
This lecture will trace Wright’s career as a collector of Japanese art, as an architect working in Tokyo, and the lifelong impact of Japanese architecture and gardens on Wright’s designs for American homes on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 from 10:00am—11:00am, and Tuesday, September 22, 2020 from 7:00pm — 8:00pm. The cost is $20 per Viewer and the Lecture will be Password-Protected. Advance Registration is Required. Free for Cranbrook Academy of Art and Cranbrook Schools Students (register by sending an email from your Cranbrook email address to firstname.lastname@example.org).
On the Friday prior to the lecture date, registered participants will receive an email with instructions on how to join this virtual experience; a reminder will be sent one hour prior to the start of the lecture. They are limited in the number of virtual “seats” and each registration is unique. Please do not share the login link with others. The lectures will begin promptly at their scheduled times and include a ten-minute Q&A session at the end of each lecture. More information here.
The Eugene Rolfs House, a one-of-a-kind estate designated as a City of Houston landmark, lands on market for $4.25M. Designed by MCM architect Karl Kamrath this home celebrates an organic connection with nature.
Completed in 1950 as an austere 2 BR home, the current owners asked the late architect Reagan Miller to update and enlarge the home in accordance with Kamrath’s original design. The result is a 4BR home with 21st-century amenities that is one of Houston’s most significant Mid-Century Modern homes. Clad in brick and redwood, it is perfectly sited on a 20,000-plus (HCAD) SF lot planted with native trees and shrubs. The master bedroom is on the ground floor, and there is a second-floor deck that runs the length of the side wing overlooking the back yard. Miller’s seamless update led to a 2012 Good Brick Award from Preservation Houston and accolades from the AIA and others. See the photos here.
"That House" on Lake Travis in the Austin, Texas area, will be part of the Weird Homes Tour. People have called “that house” on the lake the Mushroom House, the Nautilus House, some kind of spaceship and the Sand Dollar House. Now the house will be featured on the Austin-based Weird Homes Tour. The Tour has been letting folks into unusual spaces around the country once a week via Instagram and YouTube since the coronavirus pandemic began. Instead of seeing the homes in person, ticket holders will be seeing them virtually starting September 5th.
The Sand Dollar House was designed in 1979 by John Covert Watson, who had studied architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright. Considered organic modern architecture, it’s made of gunite (what swimming pools are constructed out of) and steel. Most of its walls are curved, and they’re all white. The home’s most interesting feature is the spiral staircase with wood treads. Look up and see the teardrop-shaped skylights that look like you are inside a sand dollar. Read more and see the photographs here.
Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb just west of Chicago, holds a large and spectacular collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. A visit to this charming village offers numerous iconic examples of Wright’s acclaimed work as well as insight into how he impacted the shape of modern architecture.
Here is a list of 9 of Wright's buildings in Oak Park, including the Unity Temple, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, as well as several others. There are various guided and self-guided tours, including those on foot or by bicycle. While in Oak Park, take time to explore the rest of the village. Its delightful shops, delicious restaurants, unique arts district, and plentiful street art make it a wonderful place to spend the day or weekend.
The Wisconsin Historical Society placed the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center (formally known as the Spring Green Restaurant) on the State Register of Historic Places on August 14, 2020.
"The Spring Green Restaurant constructed 1967-1969 was designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, one of his last designs before his death. The design was completed by Taliesin Associated Architects, renowned architects in their own right, using the same stylistic vocabulary. This project had deep meaning to Wright, as it was built in the Wyoming Valley the landscape that nurtured his genius and that he considered his home."
"The building is tucked into the low bluff along the Wisconsin River taking advantage of both the topography and the sweeping views of the river itself. Strongly horizontal in form, exterior materials of warm sand-colored stucco and local limestone set with randomly laid and at times projecting stones, emphasizes the connection to nature. Flat roofs and cantilevered overhangs, both strongly associated with the style, intersect with a broad gabled roof; a cantilevered roof over the terrace incorporates this design feature and achieves the goal of co-mingling interior and exterior spaces. The building has expanses of glass windows, mitered corners, and integrated and clerestory windows, all used to dramatic effect to bring the outdoors in and provide expansive views. Interior finishes and the central hearth evoke warmth and nature. Currently known as the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitors Center and home to Taliesin Preservation, Inc., the building continues to welcome the public who have come to learn more about the architect and his work."
The State Register is Wisconsin’s official list of state properties determined to be significant to Wisconsin’s heritage. The State Historic Preservation Office at the Wisconsin Historical Society administers both the State Register and National Register in Wisconsin. Learn more here.
For anyone interested in learning even more about this building, The Organic Architecture + Design Archives has produced a special publication that details the history of this remarkable building. Filled with never-before published images, this booklet is the definitive study on a Wright building that has had a transformative 50-year history. You can get your copy here.