Mark Hertzberg has written an article in Wright In Racine about the passing of Dr. William B. Boyd.
"One way to become steward of a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is to marry into it. That is how Bill Boyd came to be a steward of the Keland House in Mount Pleasant (Racine), Wisconsin in 1982. He joked with me that he was accused of marrying his late wife, Karen Johnson Boyd, for just that reason. She and her first husband had commissioned the house in 1954. Bill, who was properly called Dr. William B. Boyd, and WBB to those who worked with him, died peacefully Wednesday December 16 in his beloved Keland House after a short illness. He was 97. His dear Karen had died in the house in January 2016."
"Bill told me that he had never seen a building designed by Wright until he came to Racine in 1980 for an interview to become the second president of The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, the Johnson home that Karen grew up in. Wingspread was designed by Wright in 1937. The interview, with Karen’s brother, Sam, the president of SC Johnson, took place in Wright’s landmark SC Johnson Administration Building (1936). Bill summed up his initial reaction to Wright’s architecture in just three words, “I was smitten.” Read the rest of this personal article here.
John S. Chase is a Texas architect lovers of Modern design need to know. Chase was the state’s first licensed Black architect and the first Black person to receive a master’s degree from the University of Texas. Inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright with his own design twists, Chase’s work has left a mark in East Austin, on the Texas Southern University and University of Texas campuses, and in churches all over the state. Now, a new University of Texas Press book, John S. Chase—The Chase Residence, celebrates Chase’s remarkable 60-year career.
The book explores how Chase turned his own Houston home into the centerpiece of a larger body of work through a process that was in “equal measure architectural, social, personal, and political.” This new story of the Chase Residence, still home to Chase’s widow, Drucie, demystifies how Chase fashioned a space to fit his family—and simultaneously fixed his place in architectural history.
John S. Chase was also a trailblazer for architects of color. He entered the University of Texas soon after its desegregation and soon became the first Black person to obtain a master’s degree in architecture. He was also the first state-licensed Black architect in Texas. At one point, Chase served as the first Black president of the Texas Exes, UT’s alumni association. And he was a founding member of the National Organization of Minority Architects. Read more here.
The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH, is temporarily closing to the public in order to keep its community and staff safe during this difficult period. Two houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, are part of its permanent collection. The museum will be open this weekend, from Friday, December 18 through Sunday, December 20. They will then be closed until mid-January when they will evaluate whether it is safe to reopen. The museum will continue to be accessible digitally: their varied programs provide engaging educational opportunities for everyone.
This region has recently experienced an alarming spike in cases and the Currier Museum is doing all it can to contain the spread of covid-19 and avoid burdening local health resources. Many museums in Massachusetts and Maine have also temporarily shut their doors as a precaution. Although they are closing, the museum will still be celebrating the New Year with its long-running family-friendly event “Noon Year’s Eve” – and this year, it’s digital. The Currier looks forward to welcoming guests back in person when it is safe for everyone. More info here on their website.
The 2nd Street Commercial Historic District of New Glarus and the Philip and Margaret Gray House of Madison have both been placed on the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places. The State Register of Historic Places is Wisconsin’s official list of state properties that are considered significant to Wisconsin’s heritage.
The Philip and Margaret Gray House, built in 1940 and designed by William V. Kaeser, was influenced by two of this country’s prominent modernist architects—Frank Lloyd Wright and Eliel Saarinen. Kaeser was a Madison architect who is now considered to be one of the best of Madison’s mid-century architects. Saarinen’s influence can be seen in the first story of the house, whose solid brick-clad walls are punctured by large single-light picture windows in a manner that is typical of Saarinen’s residential designs. The second story above, however, is slightly inset and features the bands of windows, the wide overhanging eaves, the shallow-pitched hip main roof, and the massive masonry chimney mass that were typical of the designs Frank Lloyd Wright was producing during this same period,” the Wisconsin Historical Society says. The house is said to be the largest of the Modern Movement style homes built in Madison prior to World War II in addition to being one of Kaeser’s early masterworks. More here.
25 Cottage Street in Brookline, Massachusetts, was home to one of the most influential and legendary architects in American history, Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886.) Along with Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, Richardson is one of "the recognized trinity of American architecture."
Immortalized across the country through his namesake Richardsonian Romanesque style, Richardson’s work solidified an American architectural vocabulary in the years following the Civil War and trained a new generation of professional architects who would transform the country’s built environment through the early decades of the twentieth century.
His work, an attempt to discipline the English Picturesque style by combining it with the Medieval French Romanesque, is characterized by mass, order and repose. Well known examples of his work include Boston’s Trinity Church, Sever Hall at Harvard University, Chicago’s Glessner House and the New York State Capitol in Albany. Two of his best-loved buildings, the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh and the Marshall Field Wholesale Store in Chicago, demolished in 1930, were completed posthumously by his assistants.
Although his impact was enormous, Richardson’s professional career was relatively short. After he passed away, his wife, Julia Gorham Hayden, was able to purchase their rented home. The house was kept very intact, including much of the finishes and furniture from Richardson’s lifetime. It remained with Richardson’s descendants until the passing of Richardson’s grandson at the turn of the twenty-first century. Since then, neighbors, friends and preservation organizations have pursued a twenty-year effort to ensure the property is preserved. While the efforts have been successful in short increments, they have not resulted in robust, permanent protection for this nationally significant house.
Unfortunately, in November of 2020, the property and its neighbors at 39 Cottage and 222 Warren (the 1857 home of John Charles Olmsted) were acquired by a developer who quickly filed an application to demolish the Richardson House.
The Brookline Preservation Commission will hold a Demolition Delay hearing on December 29 to decide whether to impose an 18-month stay on demolition. Read the entire article here.
In last few issues of the Wright Society Newsletter for 2020 we're going to highlight some of the Wright-related organizations that you might want to consider donating to with your end-of-year gift giving. Last issue we highlighted the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. This issue we shine the light on two extremely important non-profits in the Wright world: Frank Lloyd Wright's D.D. Martin House and the nearby Graycliff Estate.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) designed a unique residential estate for wealthy Buffalo businessman Darwin D. Martin and his family between 1903-1905. The most substantial and highly developed of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Houses in the Eastern United States, The Darwin D. Martin House received National Historic Landmark status in 1986. The house is considered by leading Wright scholars as one of the architect's finest achievements of the Prairie period and, indeed, of his entire career.
The estate consists of six interconnected buildings designed as a unified composition, including: the main Martin House and a pergola that connects it to a conservatory and carriage house with chauffeur’s quarters and stables; the Barton House, a smaller residence for Martin’s sister and brother-in-law; and a gardener’s cottage added in 1909. The landscape design for the grounds of the estate is deeply integrated with the overall composition of buildings.
Over the decades, the Martin House estate suffered considerable damage, and three of the original five buildings were demolished. In 1992, the Martin House Restoration Corporation (MHRC) was formed to raise funds for and oversee a complete restoration of the estate. Extensive reconstruction and restoration efforts began in 1997 and are ongoing today. In 2009, the MHRC opened the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, a visitor welcome and interpretive center designed by Toshiko Mori Architect.
The D.D. Martin House, with its national and international appeal, is widely recognized as one of the most important works of Wright’s early career. The mission of the Martin House Restoration Corporation is to preserve, interpret, promote, and sustain Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House estate. Your support has a major impact on their efforts. Consider becoming a member or donating here.
The non-profit Graycliff Conservancy was founded in 1997 specifically to acquire, preserve, and restore the summer home of Darwin and Isabelle Martin, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built between 1926 and 1931. Thanks to volunteers and professionals throughout Western New York and across the United States, the Graycliff Conservancy stands today as a true grass-roots success story, starting as a citizen-driven movement to acquire and save the property in 1997. Today the Conservancy is poised to achieve all of its original preservation and restoration goals, returning the houses and grounds to their condition in 1931.
Throughout its history, the Graycliff Conservancy worked in the organic mode utilized by Wright in the design process. Just as he built from the land, harvesting limestone from the beach below and utilizing Lake Erie beach sand in Graycliff’s stucco and plaster, the Conservancy evolved as a nonprofit by building with what it had. In the early years, that was passion and commitment to preservation as early restoration goals and fundraising targets were met before the organization even hired its first employee.
As the Conservancy grew, it was prudent and frugal as an organization and utilized the talents of its volunteers and board members to lead tours, continue the restoration, and build the organization. Today, the Graycliff Conservancy is a lean but professionally led organization with an annual operating budget that exceeds $500,000. We invite you to join us on the journey to complete the restoration of this architectural masterpiece and continue to make it accessible to a growing number of local residents and architecture enthusiasts through ever-changing tours and programming. Consider becoming a member or donating here.