Of Frank Lloyd Wright’s extensive architectural designs during his lifetime, only 2 were built in South Carolina — Auldbrass Plantation in Beaufort and "Broad Margin" in Greenville. "Broad Margin" is a private residence and was designed for sisters Gabrielle and Charlcey Austin in 1951 and built in 1954 — when Frank Lloyd Wright was in his 80s. Wright named the house "Broad Margin" after Thoreau’s Walden — a series of essays — in which you can find the line, “I love a broad margin to my life,” according to Shari Tingle of GVL Today.
The Austin sisters requested Wright to design their home for years, even sending him a picture of their lot on North Main Street once. But Wright did not design houses on lots and responded with, “I design houses on acreage,” so the sisters bought 2 acres of land overlooking Richland Creek.
Wright’s dictum was, “shelter should be the essential look of any dwelling,” which explains the bunker-esque vibe of "Broad Margin," with its 1900-sqft consisting of the home with 12 inch thick concrete walls, a carport, a concrete patio, and a storage area for tools. View more photos here.
Ayad Rahmani has been named a member of the board of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.
The conservancy works to preserve works designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, considered to be the most important American architect. Wright developed more than 1000 designs for buildings over a prolific 70-year career and has had a significant influence on American culture, living, and design. The board includes about a dozen members from a variety of backgrounds, including historians, owners of Frank Lloyd Wright homes, and scholars.
Rahmani, an associate professor in the School of Design and Construction who has been teaching at Washington State University since 1997, was invited to join the board after conducting research and publishing papers in a Frank Lloyd Wright research journal. Rahmani is finishing a book on the connection between Wright and the American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, who led the 19th century transcendentalist movement. The book was recently contracted by Louisiana State University and is due out next fall.
“I come to the table not as a historian but as an interpreter of Wright and what he stands for,” Rahmani said. “I’m seeking to preserve more than just the bricks, stone and mortar.” More here.
Bob Uphues of the Riverside/Brookfield Landmark has given us an article about the Coonley Playhouse, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed local landmark in Riverside, Illinois. After starting its life in 1912 as a kindergarten, it was converted in 1919 by architect and one-time Wright associate William Drummond into a single-family home.
Modified substantially through the decades, the building was owned for the past 40 years by Dr. Ted and Susan Smith, who put the home on the market in 2018 when they relocated to Florida.
The Smiths restored the home’s impressive Wright-designed public spaces – the large former school room that serves as the living room and library – commissioning museum-quality replacements for the whimsical art-glass windows that made the Coonley Playhouse famous.
The Coonley Playhouse was a huge project, one now being enthusiastically undertaken by its new owners, Jeremy and Kirsten Black, who bought the home last October. The couple, who have three children, had lived in the Hollywood section of Brookfield since 2009. Jeremy Black is president of the Riverside Arts Center board of directors.
The original Wright-designed public spaces essentially were restored by the Smiths, so the Blacks are concentrating their efforts on making Drummond’s later addition to the rear of the property, which made the building into a home, their principal focus.
“We feel like since it was a Drummond addition it gives us the opportunity to make this work for the family without messing with the original Frank Lloyd Wright section,” said Jeremy Black during an interview with the Landmark at the home last week. Read the entire article and see the photos here.
In 1956, Frank Lloyd Wright was presented with the unique opportunity to design a dog house. Jim Berger, the twelve-year-old son of Robert and Gloria Berger, whose father previously commissioned a Usonian home, wrote to the architect, asking if he could provide plans for a small home for his Labrador retriever, Eddie. Read this heartwarming story here.
One of the few surviving houses of worship designed by famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan is wrapping up a months-long exterior restoration this week.
Since May, Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, in the Ukrainian Village area of Chicago, has replaced cracked stucco walls, refurbished its extensive metal ornamentation and installed new windows in the church’s rectory, among other projects.
“It was just one of those things that was greatly needed,” said the Rev. Alexander Koranda, dean and administrator of the parish. “The structure was fine, but the actual aesthetics and outside was in pretty difficult shape, in rough shape.”
Built in 1903, the cathedral and rectory have been an official Chicago landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places since the 1970s.
Church leaders have made smaller fixes and updates over the past few decades, but they said the latest restoration is the property’s biggest facelift so far. The bulk of the work is expected to be completed by Friday.
“The exteriors of the buildings are done. They’re doing some touch up stuff,” Koranda said. “We are replacing the concrete steps by the both the sanctuary back door and the office door with new railings … but the major work is complete.”
Built in 1903, the cathedral and rectory have been an official Chicago landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places since the 1970s. At first glance, the cathedral’s soaring cupolas and octagonal dome don’t seem to mesh with Sullivan’s better known work, like the Auditorium Building and Carson Pirie Scott department store in The Loop.
But Koranda says the architect’s style is apparent in many of building’s details, like the archway over the front doors and the metal ornamentation and beading along the cathedral’s windows. Inside, the sanctuary’s ornate interior includes paintings of saints and Bible stories, as well as a chandelier designed and donated by Sullivan himself.
The total cost of the restoration is expected to run about $600,000. It’s been partially funded by a $250,000 Adopt-A-Landmark grant from the city. The rest is being raised privately.
The cathedral is a regular site in the Chicago Architecture Center’s annual Open House Chicago, and has hosted tours during the restoration. The next one scheduled is for Sept. 11. They’re also available by appointment. Read more about the restoration and see the photos here.