Last night the Madison City Council in Wisconsin rejected an attempt to preserve the narrow view of Lake Mendota from the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Robert Lamp House in Downtown by limiting how tall properties near the landmark home could be developed.
The Council voted 14-4 against amending the city's Downtown height map to reduce the allowable height on adjacent properties to the three-story Lamp House, which sits in the middle of the block and which passersby can only catch a glimpse of through narrow driveways and the other structures encircling it.
The owner of the Lamp House is one of those who contend the view isn’t worth saving and that doing so could preclude a larger redevelopment that could involve moving the landmark out from the middle of the block to a more visible spot, while providing additional housing Downtown and boosting the property tax base. It's unknown what the fate of the surrounded Lamp House will be, but hopefully something can be done to make sure the house, like its lake view, is not ultimately lost. Read more about this contentious issue here.
Wayfarers Chapel is a Rancho Palos Verdes, California landmark with both spiritual and historical significance. A national memorial to the 18th century founder of a new Christian church. Lloyd Wright, the son of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, designed the chapel. And thanks to his architectural prowess, the chapel quickly became noteworthy for its captivating design. A national historic place. Pilgrimage site for numerous betrothed couples from around the world.
And this year, the chapel reached a milestone that underscores the church’s lasting spiritual and historical legacy: its platinum anniversary. The coronavirus pandemic, however, prevented the iconic institution — nicknamed by some as the “glass church” and “tree chapel” — from celebrating its 70th birthday in May. Wayfarers Chapel on Friday, July 16, will also quietly mark the 72nd anniversary of its cornerstone dedication, which took place two years before the church opened.
The chapel, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, has for years been renowned for its beauty and the church’s openness. The overall shape is somewhat prosaic, resembling a classic farmhouse barn. But it’s not red — it’s clear. The chapel’s frame is made of wood and the sides and ceiling are glass. The interior and the grounds were further developed over the years.
A stone portico leads to the chapel. The sprawling grounds are covered in lush grass and trees, including pines and redwoods surrounding the chapel itself.
Next to the chapel looms the “hallelujah tower,” part of the original design but not completed until December 1954, according to historical materials. A 16-bell carillon — common in Europe but relatively rare in American churches — was installed in December 1978.
The chapel, however, also faces challenges — of the kind that are to be expected for a church that’s five years beyond retirement age.
Church officials, Wayfarers Executive Director Dan Burchett said, have estimated that it will take more than $7 million to complete restoration efforts. Glass, steel mullions and laminate beams are among the parts of the church that need to be restored. And to do so, the chapel will need to follow the guidance of the California Coastal Commission and various state and local agencies that oversee historic structures, Burchett said. More here.
Today we know Frank Lloyd Wright as one of America's most influential architects, but early in his career he designed projects you might have trouble recognizing as his — even if you lived in the building.
WTTW's Geoffrey Baer has the story of one such Wright building that once stood on Chicago’s South Side in this week’s Ask Geoffrey. Read the entire story here.
A walk highlighting two centuries of the women's suffrage movement in Illinois, with a special emphasis on Susan Lawrence Dana, will be held in Springfield August 7th.
"Walking in the Footsteps of Susan Dana...From Suffrage to Equal Rights," a two and a half mile walk, will include six different informative stations covering a range of years for each specific time period from 1818, when Illinois came into the Union, up to 2018, when the state passed the equal rights amendment.
Lawrence Dana, a Springfield philanthropist who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design and build what is now known as the Dana-Thomas House, long advocated for passage of suffrage legislation and equal rights. The Dana-Thomas House is owned by the State of Illinois and operated by the Department of Natural Resources as an historic site.
The Dana-Thomas Foundation, which is putting on the walk, promotes, preserves and protects the house through educational programs, events and publications.
When: August 7, 9 a.m.
Where: Southwind Park, 4965 S. Second St. in Springfield, Illinois
Cost: $20 ($35 with t-shirt, only through Friday); children 12 and under free.
More information here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Revival Initiative (FLWRI) recently announced a fundraising event: a live-streamed, two-day, four-hour event August 7th & August 8th entitled "How to Save Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings. REALLY Save Them."
More Frank Lloyd Wright buildings are endangered than ever before. Expanding their mandate, the FLWRI is now committed to protecting and preventing any further loss of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, or the relocation of them from their original sites.
Join architectural legends Eric Lloyd Wright and Arthur Dyson as we discuss the FLWRI’s approach to further prevent Wright buildings from meeting the same tragic fate of so many before. In addition, meet two of our principal partners, lead restoration architect Jeff Baker and Stone & Lime Masonry owner Ken Uracius. Attendees will be able to submit questions to any of our guests. Interspersed within the interviews will be live tours of at least three rarely seen Frank Lloyd Wright homes, including the Pappas House.
In addition to a discounted ticket price, AIA members can earn 4 self-reported CEUs. We are currently selling tickets based on the honor system, so please buy the ticket that is appropriate to your status. Ticket price includes both days plus a link to download the entire show after the event. There is an FAQ section on the page to help answer your questions about the ticket and technical process. More info here.
The Whirling Arrow shares 2020-2021 Graphic Design Fellow, Rachel Minier's experiences at Taliesin West, and what it means to be part of the Taliesin Community. Read the article here.
Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew celebrates the birthday of architect John Lautner by revisiting the studio he designed for United Productions of America (UPA) in 1949.
Despite having passed away in 1994, Lautner remains an iconic figure in Los Angeles, California's architecture, mostly on the basis of his residential homes, which still impress for their technical mastery and singular sense of design. Lautner, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, was a proponent of organic architecture, and the UPA building was a modest and gentle building that reflected the values and aspirations of the artists who worked within its walls. Far from being a monolith, it was a fluid and light structure that achieved warmth and distinction through a mix of traditional and modern materials: steel, wood, corrugated aluminum, and concrete.
Lautner spoke about the building in a 1986 oral history project, in which he explained the building’s genesis and how the limitations of UPA’s budget inspired him to get creative. Read the entire article and see the photos of this incredible building that has since been demolished here.
We've received word from Professor James Weirick and Preservation Architect Erica Ruggiero from MIA on the fate of Walter Burley Griffin's "Solid Rock", which has been under recent demolition threat in Winnetka, Illinois.
On Monday evening and after a 90-minute discussion, Winnetka Landmark Preservation Commission placed a demolition delay on "Sold Rock", which expires at the end of September 2021. While the delay is short, the actual owners, and not their representative, are now required to meet with the Commission in a special meeting to discuss a solution/alternative to demolition (tentatively scheduled for early August). While not a complete victory to save this important design, it's a small victory to move this situation in the right direction toward hopeful preservation. Read more about this house under peril here.
If you want to support the effort to save the house, contact the Walter Burley Griffin Society of America and be sure to become a member while you're at it! More info here.