Frank Lloyd Wright was famous for not only designing homes, but also enhancing the nature around them. The D.D. Martin House in Buffalo, New York included plans for a “floricycle,” and letters between the architect and his wealthy clients, Isabelle and Darwin Martin, show all three liked the idea of flowers blooming from early spring to late fall.
But how to do it? That question and Wright’s delays in sending a detailed landscape design vexed Martin in the early 1900s. Finally, Wright came up with a plant list filled with old-fashioned garden stalwarts — hollyhock, phlox, columbine, lupine and delphinium.
All of them grow today in the floricycle and other beds around the landmark Darwin Martin House and adjacent Barton House built for Martin’s sister.
But it wasn’t easy. Martin lost his fortune in the 1929 stock market crash and his landmark house and 1.5 acres were in ruins when restoration began in the 1990s. The gardens were the last piece, begun in 2016. Landscape architect Mark Bayer was charged with recreating this collaborative landscape.
“This garden is as much the Martins’ as it is Frank Lloyd Wright’s. They loved plants and gardening,” said the owner of Bayer Landscape Architecture in Honeoye Falls, N.Y.
Since it was a rehabilitation rather than restoration, Bayer had more leeway in choosing perennials, shrubs and trees. Improved cultivars are available for most of the plants that grew a century ago.
Rosanne Stolzenburg, of East Amherst, said she and the other 20 regular garden volunteers learn constantly and sometimes use those lessons in their home gardens. Her favorite flower overall is delphinium, but it changes every week. “To see how the landscape complements the beautiful Martin House, it’s awesome,” she said. More here.
Dwell features an article about ESCAPE’s new prefab nods to the past- with the clean lines of its steel-and-glass structure, but inside is a trove of modern updates.
Tiny home builder ESCAPE’s new design, the N1, is marked by a 30-foot-long glass facade that ties the tiny house to the outdoors. The aesthetic is a familiar one, but for ESCAPE, it was uncharted territory. "We love trying new things," starts the company’s founder, Dan Dobrowolski, "so we decided to create our own version of a midcentury building."
Inspired by modernist architect Richard Neutra and designed by architect Kelly Davis of SALA Architects, the 500-square-foot residence showcases a flat roof, a front porch, an open floor plan, and automated features that include voice-activated lighting and temperature control.
The home’s exterior is clad in gray metal siding, and a white poly material covers the roof. "[It is] very strong and highly reflective so that it prevents heat buildup," Dobrowolski notes. As a counterpoint to the exterior’s metal and glass, the interior of N1 is finished in maple for a more natural look.
The kitchen-and-dining area is adjacent to the living room, which accommodates a sectional sofa, a coffee table, and a large television. The bedroom, located beyond the living room, is arranged with sliding maple doors that access an en suite bathroom. A second bathroom and a full-size washer and dryer are situated at the opposite end of the tiny home, near the front door and the kitchen-and-dining area.
"The sense of space is amazing," attests Dobrowolski. "This is what ESCAPE is about—openness and a direct connection to the setting."
For now, the N1 is only available as a rental in ESCAPE’s tiny home village in Tampa, Florida. According to Dobrowolski, another iteration of the prefab, the N2, is on the way, and will be available for purchase. "Clean lines and an open and airy feel are perfect for Florida," he says.
Before the arrival of the tiny home village in Tampa, or the N1, Dobrowolski established Canoe Bay, another tiny home community situated in northwestern Wisconsin featuring rentable Prairie-style resort cottages. Those designs are also by Davis, and architect John Rattenbury, a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright. "My aim is to create architectural gems that are accessible to the public in a smaller, portable way," says Dobrowolski. Read the entire article and see the photos here.
Landmarks Illinois has published an online database, Women Who Built Illinois, which includes information on over 100 female architects, engineers, developers, designers, builders, landscape architects, interior designers and clients and their projects between 1879 and 1979.
The first-of-its-kind database is the result of an in-depth survey of women in architecture, real estate and design-related fields that Landmarks Illinois publicly launched in 2020 — a year that marked the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, upholding a U.S. citizen’s right to vote regardless of sex. The database calls attention to the women who helped to create places that today are cherished by communities and property owners across Illinois, yet many remain unprotected without local landmark status or lack National Register designation that would provide opportunities for important financial preservation incentives.
“This new database recognizes those who laid the path for women today and who continue to impact the built environment of Illinois and Chicago,” said Lisa DiChiera, Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy, who spearheaded the project. “We hope students and professionals in architecture, planning and public history will be inspired to study these women, their careers and built works.”
Among the more than 100 people in the Women Who Built Illinois database are:
• Marion Mahony Griffin, an important member of Frank Lloyd Wright’s office for more than a decade and a prominent Prairie School architect who designed the Robert Mueller and Adolph Mueller houses in Decatur.
• Georgia Louise Harris Brown, the second African American woman to become a licensed architect and engineer in the United States and who did structural calculations for many projects and important firms, including Mies van der Rohe’s Promontory Apartments in Chicago.
• Gertrude Lempp Kerbis, an architect who opened her own firm, Lempp Kerbis, in 1967 following experience studying with architect Mies van der Rohe and working at many high profile architecture firms in Chicago, including C.F. Murphy Associates and Skidmore Owings & Merrill. Kerbis designed the 1962 O’Hare Airport Rotunda, which Landmarks Illinois included on its 2017 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois due to its uncertain future amid O’Hare terminal expansion.
• Greta Lederer, a suburban home builder who in the 1950s developed the neighborhoods of Strawberry Hill, Westwood Acres and Skokie Ridge in Glencoe and additional homes in Highland Park and Northbrook. A 1957 Chicago Daily Tribune article attributed to her $10 million worth of home development on the North Shore.
The new database can be found on the Landmarks Illinois website here.
The long-awaited Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement announced that it will open to the public on Sept. 7, 2021 in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is the world’s first museum dedicated to the movement, which happened between about 1890 to 1930 and revived and elevated handcraft in the wake of the Industrial Revolution.
Founded by Rudy Ciccarello, a local businessman, philanthropist and collector, the museum showcases more than 800 works from its permanent collection and that of the Two Red Roses Foundation, of which Ciccarello is the president and founder. The Two Red Roses Foundation’s holdings exceed 2,000 objects personally collected by Ciccarello, and is considered the most important private collection of the American Arts & Crafts movement in the world.
“This museum will be the epicenter for the study of the American Arts & Crafts movement,” said Ciccarello in a statement. “Our mission is to preserve and share these beautiful works of art with the public and to teach future generations to appreciate hand-craftsmanship and honest design.”
The museum was designed by Tampa-based architect Alberto Alfonso in close collaboration with Ciccarello, with the principles of the movement. The five-story, 137,000 square-foot museum features a grand atrium, skylights, and a spiral staircase, made with handcrafted Venetian plaster, wood, metal, and stone finishes. An outdoor garden features period tiles and fountains.
Furniture, pottery, tiles, metalwork, lighting, leaded glass, woodblock prints, paintings, and photographs by the movement’s leading artists, craftsmen, and companies (including Gustav Stickley, Tiffany Studios, and Frank Lloyd Wright) are showcased in 40,000 square feet of gallery space. Installations include a wood-paneled room from the architects Greene and Greene, an entire tiled bathroom and a boathouse floor from Grueby Faience & Tile Company, and a 600-tile mural from Rookwood Pottery.
Three galleries will showcase temporary exhibitions, two of which will be on display when the museum opens: “Love, Labor, and Art: The Roycroft Enterprise” will showcase more than 75 works made by the Roycroft community, and “Lenses Embracing the Beautiful: Pictorial Photographs from the Two Red Roses Foundation” will feature more than 150 pictorial photographs.
The museum also features an education studio, a graphic studio, a research library and a theater. On the first Saturday of each month, the Education Studio will host MAACM Family Days for art-making, performances and family-friendly gallery tours. Third Thursday programming includes themed activities and demonstrations, while the monthly Sunday Film Series features films inspired by the collection or exhibitions, followed by a docent tour.
The Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement opens on Sept. 7. $25; $23 seniors, $20 active military firefighters and police; $10 youth ages 6-17, free for kids 5 and younger. Memberships are available. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday. 355 Fourth St. N. 727-440-4859. More here.
After 43 years of private ownership, the Frank Lloyd Wright DeRhodes House is for sale to the public. The 1906 home is one of only two Frank Lloyd Wright homes in South Bend and one of only seven remaining in the state of Indiana.
The DeRhodes House is the first Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building in Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. K.C. DeRhodes originally commissioned the home. K.C. DeRhodes was a banker and the owner of the first Ford dealership in South Bend. After making his money introducing the Model T to the area, DeRhodes, a widower, proposed to widow Laura Bowsher of Illinois, who then commissioned the DeRhodes house from Mr. Wright. She lived in the home from 1906 until her death in 1952. She left the home to the First United Methodist Church to use as a parsonage, but the home was sold two years later to the Avalon Grotto.
The home, used as a fraternal organization for over two decades, was purchased in 1978 by Suzanne and Tom Miller. The Millers poured their time and energy into the restoration of the home, accurately following original blueprints found in the attic after they took ownership, as well as historic photos and evidence discovered in the house during the process of restoration. Tom wrote his doctoral dissertation on Wright’s architecture and thought it was a dream come true to have the opportunity to restore the home. He and Suzanne also received advice and research assistance from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.
Wright designed the DeRhodes House to feel spacious on a typical city lot, with intricate art glass windows throughout the home, both exterior and interior. The house includes a full basement and garage, two elements that became less common as Wright’s career progressed. As is the case with much of Wright’s work, the main entrances are recessed and semi-covered.
The Millers were devoted Wright enthusiasts and preservationists. Tom passed away in 2018, and Suzanne passed away earlier this year. Suzanne’s dying wish was to restore this architectural masterpiece to its original layout and design, down to the original paint colors they had analyzed and recreated.
In the spring of 2021, shortly before Suzanne’s death, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy recognized the significant work that Suzanne and Tom Miller did to preserve and restore the DeRhodes House by honoring them with its coveted Wright Spirit Award. The award was introduced in 1991 and recognizes the efforts of extraordinary individuals and organizations that have preserved the legacy of Wright through their tireless dedication and persistent efforts. The award will be formally presented at the Conservancy’s annual conference in October. See the listing here and see great photos here.