For a limited time through August 29, Frank Lloyd Wright’s hat & cane signature look from his wardrobe are on display in a protected case in Taliesin West’s Kiva Theatre. Not only did Wright surround himself with beautiful things, he outfitted himself in handsome attire and was always well-dressed, whether the occasion was formal or more casual. More here.
A farm crisis. Bank failures. Changing hands over the decades. Listen to the long and winding road the Historic Park Inn took during the 85 years that led up to community-led restoration efforts — and find out how the hotel ended up for sale for a brief time on eBay. Click here.
TravelAwaits invites us to explore History and Architecture by visiting the Rosenbaum House in Florence, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structure in Alabama. The Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum house was built in 1939 for the two newlyweds. Tours of this impressively restored home turned public museum are held Tuesdays through Sundays, and no reservations are needed. More on the attractions around Florence here.
Concrete construction no longer lasts thousands of years, like the Pantheon in Rome. Instead, its lifespan is roughly 50-100 years, thanks to the way in which modern concrete is reinforced. Why it matters: That means a multi-trillion-dollar bill is coming due right around now, in the form of concrete construction that needs noisy, dirty, expensive repair.
As Robert Courland explains in "Concrete Planet," modern concrete is poured around steel rebar, which gives it tensile strength. But tiny cracks — found in all concrete — cause water to start rusting the steel, which then expands, cracking the concrete.
One of the most famous concrete buildings in America, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, cost $155,000 to build in 1936 — about $2 million in 2001 dollars. The cost of repairs in 2001 came to $11.5 million. Similarly, repairs to Wright's concrete Unity Temple are estimated at roughly 20 times the original construction costs, even after adjusting for inflation.
Once rebar starts corroding, the standard fix involves jackhammering the concrete to expose the steel, brushing the steel to remove the rust, reinforcing the rebar as necessary, and then covering it all back up again with carefully color-matched new concrete.
That labor-intensive extreme noise and dust is actually the green, environmentally sensitive solution. The only alternative is demolition and replacement with an entirely new building — something that involves a much greater carbon footprint and the loss of the original architecture. Read more about this extensive issue here.
Dow Gardens announced the renovation and expansion of the 1975 Alden B. Dow-designed conservatory and unveiled preliminary design concepts. Saginaw-based WTA Architects have been selected to update the structure, with the initial phase of construction beginning as early as July 2021.
The design optimizes current spaces and provides flexibility for plant collections and special exhibits, according to a news release Dow Gardens issued Friday morning. It enlarges and opens up the main room, creating a light-filled space ideal for both engagement and reflection. This new layout will allow for intuitive guest flow with a brand new welcome area.
The goals of the project are threefold: to increase exhibit space and allow the garden to explore programming in diverse and interdisciplinary ways, to provide visitors with a welcoming and intuitive experience, and to preserve the history and integrity of the original structure.
“Everything our guests value about the conservatory is going to be realized on a slightly larger scale. Our team has considered the nature of our collections, the history of the building, as well as the continued growth of our audience," stated Dow Gardens Director Elizabeth Lumbert. "The outcome of these discussions is a design that embodies the innovation and the history of our organization."
The project is slated for completion in February 2022, just in time for Butterflies in Bloom. The annual exhibit, which features butterflies from around the world, welcomes over 30,000 visitors per year. See the Dow Garden's preliminary design concepts here.
Tours have resumed at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Darwin D. Martin House after the pandemic caused a halt for 15 months. Martin House administrators had previously been reluctant to include the second floor on the general tour because they wanted to contain the tour time to one hour. The tour begins with an introductory film in the Greatbatch Pavilion, before moving through the house's first floor and into the conservatory, pergola and carriage house. The second floor now adds 15 minutes to the tour.
Executive Director Mary Roberts said it became clear the second floor needed to be included in the tour. "One of the questions most commonly asked has been, if we're touring the Martin House, do we get to go upstairs?" Roberts said. The second floor contains eight bedrooms and four bathrooms. Half the space is for family, one-quarter for guests and one-quarter for servants. Read more here.