Thanks to efforts led by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, Hinsdale preservationists and Landmarks Illinois, the Frederick Bagley House in Hinsdale, Illinois, will be restored by preservation-minded buyers. It had recently been listed for sale and faced a clear threat of demolition and redevelopment.
The Bagley House, a unique and irreplaceable early work by Frank Lloyd Wright, designed in 1894, has no legal protection, and alterations over time have concealed Wright’s original design intent for the house. In July, the Bagley House went on the private market in the Village of Hinsdale, a community which has recently seen many older houses torn down to make way for new development. Hinsdale preservationists became alarmed and contacted the Conservancy when a pre-plan review was filed with the Village of Hinsdale showing the lot’s potential for redevelopment. It seemed entirely possible the Bagley House and its architectural legacy could be lost forever to demolition and replacement by a new building, as has happened to neighboring houses.
Together, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, Hinsdale Historic Preservation Commission and Landmarks Illinois raised a substantial amount of regional and national interest in the fate of the Bagley House. Wright fans and preservation advocates across the country appealed to Hinsdale village officials for intervention to save the home. The call for help also inspired Safina Uberoi and Lukas Ruecker, owners of the Wright-designed Tonkens House in Cincinnati, to put in an offer with a preservation guarantee that was accepted by the sellers.
“While we were concerned about the potential risk to the Bagley House, a vital part of Wright’s canon whose loss would have been tragic for the Wright community, we are grateful for the overwhelmingly positive response and support from the Village of Hinsdale, especially its Historic Preservation Commission, and the broader community of Wright lovers in the US and abroad”, says Barbara Gordon, Executive Director of the Chicago-based Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. “We are pleased that, in line with our mission to preserve the remaining built works designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, we were able to help find a preservation-minded buyer in the short time of one week. We look forward to assisting the new owners by making available our expert technical resources and services.”
“This sequence of events highlights the need for proactive preservation efforts in our community,” said Alexis Braden, a neighbor and member of the Historic Preservation Commission. “Fortunately, the story of the Bagley House had a happy ending. It also re-energized discussions around developing preservation guidelines for our community.”
“Hinsdale has worked hard to restore many of its historic buildings,” said Village President Tom Cauley. “Keeping Hinsdale’s history in the forefront of what we do, the Village has been working for the last few years on preservation incentives and other important tactics to uphold our area’s greatest treasures. Hinsdale has a robust collection of architecturally significant structures, and the Bagley House is one of hundreds of Hinsdale structures that deserve attention.”
“We are grateful for all the support and warm welcome we received from the Village of Hinsdale and its Historic Preservation Commission,” said Safina Uberoi and Lukas Ruecker, the buyers, “and excited to take over as stewards from the sellers, who took care of the Bagley House for several decades. Working on the Wright-designed Tonkens House in Cincinnati taught us that a successful restoration is a community effort, and we anticipate working closely with the Village of Hinsdale and the Conservancy over the next few years to do the same here.”
While developing a detailed conditions assessment and historical structure report are the first step, the buyers indicated that they hope to use the Conservancy’s resources to restore the building to Wright’s original design, while considering sensitive ways to add living space. They will also work on listing the Bagley House as a local landmark, and upon completion of the restoration, will donate a preservation easement to the Conservancy so that the Bagley House is protected from demolition in perpetuity. The Conservancy will document the progress of the restoration on its website. Read more about this wonderful preservation win here.
A former Notre Dame law professor and U.S. ambassador to Malta appears destined to become the next owner of the historic Frank Lloyd Wright home in South Bend, Indiana.
Douglas W. Kmiec, who taught at Notre Dame for 20 years, was the winning bidder on the two-story home that was designed by the iconic architect for the DeRhodes family in 1906, and painstakingly restored by Tom and Suzanne Miller, professors and administrators at Indiana University South Bend, over more than four decades.
“It’s a beautiful home and stunningly unique in its design,” Kmeic said. “And it’s in a part of town that’s been getting more attention for the beauty of the neighborhood.”
Beyond living in the home, Kmeic envisions using the property as a place where architecture students might study Wright’s work and discuss South Bend’s revival and the principles of new urbanism.
“I would like to use it for educational purposes,” said Kmeic, adding that he sees it as his duty to preserve and protect the property. “I see this as a continuation of my career as a teacher.”
The brown-and-tan home was listed for sale a couple of weeks ago for $750,000 following the death of Suzanne Miller earlier this year. Kmiec said he offered about $800,000.
Closing is set for Oct. 1. See it here.
For the first time in 25 years, this $2 million Frank Lloyd Wright home is for sale.
Built in 1950 for Dr. Ina Morris Harper, the Harper Home mixes Tidewater Cypress and Chicago Common brick to create textures often found in many of Wright’s designs.
With a view facing Lake Michigan, the four bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home features built-in furniture as well as cedar-lined closets. See the photos here.
Frank Lloyd Wright is widely regarded as Wisconsin’s most famous architect and for good reason — his iconic architecture is seen all over the world and has heavily influenced a generation of architects after him.
You can see the impact he has made on other architects firsthand in Milwaukee — many lookalike homes popped up over the years resembling Wright’s style — so much so that it’s got Urban Spelunking podcaster, Nate Imag, and OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo wondering if it’s imitation or influence. This week on the Urban Spelunking podcast, they are discussing Wright’s 1916 Bogk house, and the “Baby-Bogks” built after it.
The original Wright-designed home was built for politician and businessman Frederick Bogk. The “Baby Bogks,” however, were “designed by Wright’s one-time right-hand man Russell Barr Williamson,” writes Tanzilo. “The Nathan Stein House, built in 1921, is just one of a number of Williamson homes in the Milwaukee area – including one he built for himself on Oakland Avenue.” More here.
Frank Lloyd Wright might be most well known for his architectural work at Fallingwater in Fayette County, but he designed more than 1,000 structures over the span of his illustrious career. About half of those designs came to fruition, and the Great Wright Road Trip, according to Kimberly Rooney of Pittsburgh City Paper, makes it easy to visit nine of those sites across Western Pennsylvania and New York.
The Great Wright Road Trip, organized by the nine Wright sites, begins in the Laurel Highlands and ends in Buffalo, New York. It gives people a taste of Wright’s work in the Prairie Style of the early 1900s, which pays homage to the environment in its design, as well as his development of organic architecture, which finds harmony between humanity and the environment.
“This road trip will change the way you see the world, inspiring you to think differently about how you live with art and nature,” says Justin Gunther, director of Fallingwater and vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. “As you travel between these architectural landmarks, which are regarded as some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest works, you’ll explore the richness and breadth of the architect’s work and gain an appreciation for the beautiful landscapes that inspired his designs.” Get all the information here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is excited to partner with Spoke Art gallery to explore more Wright designs interpreted through the eyes of pop artists in their third collaborative exhibition, “Frank Lloyd Wright: Timeless.”
After a successful run of in-person shows across the country in 2019, the pandemic forced the 2020 show to be a virtual experience. This year, Spoke Art will return to Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, following CDC guidelines for a safe in-person event at Wright’s winter home and studio. For those unable to attend, the artworks will be available for purchase on Spoke Art’s website. Read more about it here.
With the recent Season 2 premiere of the popular Netflix program “The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals,” viewers around the world will be treated to a virtual tour of the home architect Frank Lloyd Wright described as “a little private club” with “special privacies, ultra conveniences and style all the while.” Still Bend / The Bernard & Fern Schwartz House appears in episode No. 1.
“We’re thrilled to share Still Bend with people who may not understand they can enjoy a Wright-designed home the way the architect intended,” said co-owner Michael Ditmer. “Whether they’re here for a few days or two weeks, they’ll experience Wright’s genius in a way the typical tour cannot provide.
“Wright’s brilliance can only be fully experienced by living in one of his creations. There is something magical, almost spiritual, about being in a Wright-designed space that leaves one transformed.” Read more about it here.