Growing up in a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright left an undeniable impression on Lonnie Lovness.
“There was no other place I knew,” she explained. “It was just overwhelming, how exceptional it was. It shaped pretty much everything I did,” noting she went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art. “The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.”
Those impressions and more are the basis for Lovness’ new book, “Growing Up Wright”, about the two houses her parents built on Woodpile Lake, west of Stillwater, Minnesota. The 288-page book features 600 photos of the houses. The book will be available this month on the website growingupwright.com.
Lovness’ parents: Don, a chemist, and Virginia, a painter, led “interesting, creative lives” explained Lonnie. In 1955, they decided to drive to Spring Green, Wisconsin, where the world-famous architect was residing and he agreed to design a home/art studio for the couple.
The end result to make the home overwhelming and exceptional wasn’t easy. Her parents built the house from scratch. Over the next two years, as her parents spent time chiseling and laying stone and pouring cement, the family was living in a camping trailer, with no running water, on site.
Lovness also talked about the new owner of the properties, Ted and Debi Muntz. One of the later chapters in the book is titled “Passing the Torch.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased,” Lovness said about Muntz. “They are in the best possible hands of its new owner.” She credited the Muntz’s for modernizing the homes, yet keeping the vision her parents had. More here.
Megan Swoyer of Hour Detroit has a guide to Midcentury Modern Design in Metro Detroit and beyond. One doesn’t have to go far in metro Detroit to find some of the most beautiful examples of Midcentury Modern design, whether it's a tour of the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House, collected furnishings, or intriguing museum exhibits.
“There’s so much modern history here because of Cranbrook Academy of Art, CCS [College for Creative Studies], and other venues,” says Tom Gibbs, owner of Midcentury emporium Tom Gibbs Studio in Ferndale. “Designers like Eames, Bertoia, the Saarinens — these are the folks who shaped the face of American Midcentury design. It’s a never-ending piece of Michigan history, how all these icons are connected.”
He’s referring to design greats including married couple Charles and Ray Eames — who studied at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills — famous for their iconic Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, among other designs. Harry Bertoia attended both CCS and Cranbrook. His famous diamond chair was a sculptural piece of art made from a welded lattice of steel. Architect/designer Eliel Saarinen designed the campus of Cranbrook Educational Community, where he taught and became president of the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His son, Eero, taught courses in sculpture and furniture design at Cranbrook and turned out such designs as the famous Tulip and Womb chairs.
Local art historian Deborah Lubera Kawsky, whose specialty is Midcentury Modern design, explains that the term denotes a time ranging from the late 1930s to the late 1960s. It has come to evoke both the style and the spirit of that era.
“It encompasses clean lines, free-flowing spaces, built-in furnishings, and a bold color palette,” Kawsky says. It’s also a recognition of the power of design — facilitated by then-new technologies such as Thermopane glass, fiberglass, and Formica — to enhance modern living in the post-War era.
Click here to see just a few ways to explore the immense fabric that makes up the area’s Midcentury Modern universe.
"A Restoration and Sensitive Renovation for a Modest Wright House," presented by Daniel R. Nichols, AIA, Nov 30, 2020 1:00 PM.
Nichols shares an architect's journey of purchasing, researching, and restoring a little known Frank Lloyd Wright house in a New Jersey suburb.
Daniel R. Nichols is a partner at Ragan Design Group Architects, LLC, a South Jersey based architectural firm focused on commercial, municipal, and multi-family projects.
Nichols’ interest in architecture grew from his discovery of Frank Lloyd Wright at the age of 10 in a 1956 Arizona Highways magazine, eventually leading him to earn a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Carnegie Mellon. He is a member of the Cherry Hill NJ Historical Commission where he has been an advocate for the preservation of notable 20th century buildings, assisting in the effort to find preservation minded buyers for local houses designed by Louis Kahn and Malcolm Wells.
Nichols and his wife, Christine Denario, are the current owners of Wright's 1950 J.A. Sweeton house, which they have been gradually restoring since 2008.
Registration is free for this virtual lecture. The program duration is 45 minutes and includes a Q&A session with participants. All that is required is internet access and a computer with audio accessibility. More here.
Todd Faulhaber, an instructor in the continuing education department at Madison College gives an online tour of selected Taliesin furniture coupled with a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired woodworking project, a perfect to start the holiday season.
Create a pencil holder like the one that still sits on Frank Lloyd Wright’s desk at Taliesin. Making the pencil holder is well within your grasp, even if you have no woodworking skills. With a saw, drill, pencil, and a few hours, you can create your masterpiece to be used and cherished for generations.
Learn from the best, this project is brought to you by experts at Taliesin Preservation and Madison College.
The project includes:
• Access to a one-hour webinar, featuring a tour of selected Taliesin furniture
• Pencil holder how-to video
• Complete instructions, templates, and pictures of the pencil holder project
• Access to a group website for displaying your project when it is complete
Nov 27, 2020 1:00 PM, Cost: $25. More here.
In a world where events are essentially forbidden in person, many organizations are trying to figure out ways to support their non-profit and grassroots initiatives. That’s why the Parkside Community Association of Buffalo, New York, has launched a Kickstarter campaign, to support the 2020 Annual Tour of Homes.
The funding for the campaign will be directed towards building a virtual app for the tour, which will come in handy for years to come. Homes in the neighborhood were constructed between 1880 thru 1930 and include designs by prominent local architects E.B. Green, Frank Lloyd Wright and William Sydney Wicks.
This is a really big deal for Parkside, the architecture, and the people that live there. This is a chance to invest in a part of the city that is home to The Zoo, The Darwin-Martin House, and countless homes that were built in the style of American Four Square, Victorian, Colonial Revival, Craftsman, and the Arts & Crafts bungalow.
The fundraiser is currently underway. For more information, visit www.parksidebuffalo.org.
Here is an extraordinary opportunity to visit the home Arthur Erickson designed for art collectors and philanthropists Bagley and Virginia Wright. The house has been sold twice since the Wright’s moved into the city. The first owner left the property untouched (and, unfortunately not well maintained). The new owner has reinterpreted parts of the house and we have an opportunity to explore his work in process - before they move into the house.
Visiting the Highlands will also take you past the 1909 Charles Clarke House designed by Andrew Willatsen (Andrew worked for Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park Studio – we will have on display a Japanese Wood Block print originally given to Willatsen by Wright!) Tours will be by appointment: Limited numbers in small groups, masks required, and tours timed to allow traffic to and from the property. Safety first!
To reserve, email Larry Woodin at email@example.com with the following information.
Number in your group:
Preferred day: Fri. 11/27th, Sat. 11/28th, Sun. 11/29th
We will call to arrange your appointment and send instructions by email.
Access to the Highlands is limited. and access to the house will be restricted as well.
If you can come in small groups it will help accommodate a few more people.
Questions? call Larry (206) 794-5276
One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest buildings may be one that he never built—the Arizona State Capitol, an unbuilt oasis of democracy in the Sonoran Desert.
In the forthcoming issue of The Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly, the controversy surrounding this unbuilt masterpiece is explored. As a visual treat, the Foundation enlisted Spanish architect David Romero, who uses advanced techniques of 3D representation, to turn Wright’s designs into striking “photorealistic” renderings, images that are so highly detailed they appear to be contemporary photography. Combined with Arizona-based journalist Rebecca Rhoades’ reporting on the project, the Quarterly magazine tells the captivating story of the Arizona Capitol that never came to be. More here.
Become a member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to not only get your copy of this exciting Quarterly issue, but you'll be supporting the Foundation's ongoing restoration and education efforts. Become a member here.