In Frank Lloyd Wright in Michigan, author Dale S. Northrup defines the Usonian Home as aiming to be “a natural performance, one that is integral with site, to environment, to the life of it’s inhabitants, integral with the nature of the materials…Into this new integrity, once there, those who live in it take root and grow.” This is certainly true of the McCartney House as chronicled by Helen McCartney, one of the original owners and caretakers for over 50 years.
Helen remembered meeting Wright after much planning and preparation for their new home: “One beautiful summer day we arrived at Taliesin in Wisconsin, after informing the Fellowship of our intentions. We walked into the drafting room, an awesome experience. Mr. Wright rose from a drawing board, greeted us, and extended toward us a sheaf of blueprints. He said, “Your house is an experimental geometric form: a triangle, or several of them, almost a star. I hope you will enjoy living in it. In her closing, Helen declares that this house “has indeed made a profound difference in our lives.”
In 2012, the McCarthy House was bought by the Meyers family. After 60 years, the house was overdue for some restoration. Using the original plans as guidance, the Meyers made efforts to restore the home and grounds to Wright’s initial vision. In 2021, prior to sale, the home was subject to additional restorations. According to Select Realtors, who are handling the sale, the home still includes it’s Wright-designed tables, blueprints, original excess wood, doors and other historical memorabilia. Read more about the history of the home and see the photos by clicking here.
The Boulter House, designed by famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, will serve as an “innovators in residence” program and more for Lightship Foundation, the nonprofit founded last year by entrepreneur Candice Matthews Brackeen, who also serves as the general partner of local venture capital firm Lightship Capital.
Matthews Brackeen said she envisions Boulter House as a host site for underrepresented artists and entrepreneurs. Day-to-day, she said Boulter House will house similar activities, including residencies and Lightship’s bootcamp program, for early-stage business founders. The goal is to offer a space for underrepresented students, artists, architectural designers and entrepreneurs — for free.
“This is our giveback to the community,” Matthews Brackeen said. “This offers folks a soft landing in Cincinnati, a place where they can get acquainted with town — it’s hard to do that from a hotel for two days. It can be a space for artists to come work or for founders or students to have great conversations.”
Matthews Brackeen and her husband Brian Brackeen, who also serves as general partner for Lightship Capital, purchased the Boulter House for $519,000 in March, per Hamilton County property records. The Boulter House is a renovation-in-progress. Named for its original owners, Cedric G. and Patricia Neils Boulter, who commissioned the build in the 1950s, the two-story home features four dormitory-style bedrooms upstairs and another off a dining room on the main level, which was later built as an addition. Most of the furniture is original to the home and was designed by Wright. Matthews Brackeen said the original plans, along with several books about the architect’s life, were also left behind.
Read more about the Lightship Foundation and the Cincinnati Innovation District here.
Bruce Goff was something of an architectural prodigy. He joined the Tulsa, Oklahoma firm of Rush, Endacott and Rush as an apprentice when he was only 12 years old, and within just a few years was designing residential homes, many of which still exist today.
In addition to the Spotlight Theater, once known as the Riverside Studio, some of Goff’s best-known buildings are Tulsa landmarks: Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, on which he collaborated with art teacher Adah Robinson, and which is considered one of the finest examples of art deco architecture in the United States; and the Tulsa Club building.
While greatly influenced by such innovators as Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan in his early years, the largely self-taught Goff would soon create a unique style of architecture — inventive, organic, often eccentric and ever-changing, a reflection of his philosophy of “the continuous present,” the idea that a work of art has no beginning or end, but provides a completely new experience each time it is encountered.
The life and work of Bruce Goff was celebrated November 4-7th during the first Goff Fest, held at various locations throughout Tulsa.
“There has been a lot written about Bruce Goff, but it’s mostly done for an academic audience,” documentary film maker, Britni Harris, said. “We’re really wanting to make people aware of all that he accomplished, and the wonderful things he created. That’s one of the purposes behind the Goff Center of the Continuous Present. We want to be able to do festivals such as this every year, in places that were significant to him. The goal is to establish a permanent museum to him and his work.” More here.
What some called "the Super Bowl of cultural tourism" occurred 10 years ago last month. Some 2,541 people, from all 50 states, converged on Buffalo, New York, for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual convention. Over the course of four days, the attendees visited historic buildings and raved about the region's late-19th and early 20th-century architecture.
Those working in development, preservation and tourism say it was a major turning point for the city. The conference, they say, accomplished everything hoped for and more. Since the National Trust convention, dozens of preservation projects – in downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods – have been completed.
The use of federal and state historic tax credits, which help make it easier to finance the redevelopment of historic buildings, were in occasional use before the conference, but are now commonplace. Public-private development partnerships are more frequent. Hook and Ladder Development emerged among a number of developers fulfilling the promise of the conference. The company, since 2015, has redeveloped eight classic neighborhood buildings in South Buffalo, most of them on Seneca Street.
The conference also helped change Buffalonians' perceptions of the importance of preserving historic buildings, said Bob Skerker, who co-chaired the conference with Catherine Schweitzer.
"Prior to the conference, people complained about putting money into projects like the Martin House and the Richardson," Skerker said, referring to the Darwin Martin House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Richardson Olmsted Campus, whose buildings were designed by H.H. Richardson.
"The conference helped people understand that historic architecture had value to us and value to others," Skerker said. "It ended that argument about putting money into historic assets." Read more here.
Dedicated in 1959, Beth Sholom in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, evokes Mayan ruins, a Japanese pagoda and Mount Sinai. Laura Hodes writes about the influences and ideas Frank Lloyd Wright utilizes in designing this amazing building.
For Beth Sholom, Wright wanted to create a visceral feeling of spiritual transcendence in visitors. He designed it as a hexagon, mimicking the shape of two hands placed together in prayer, so that in his own words, “people, in entering it, will feel as if they were resting in the very hands of God.” This shape is repeated throughout the synagogue, including the inverted tetrahedron of the startlingly bright red, blue, green and yellow glass chandelier in the center of the sanctuary.
Wright designed the synagogue so that as the time of day, weather and season change, the light varies as well, so that mood and effect constantly shift. A video in the permanent exhibition shows how different the sanctuary appears depending on the time of day and season. Wright also uses artificial light for similar effect: he designed the Ner Tamid so that it’s visible from the road, and he installed tetrahedral shaped lights along the interior surfaces of the lower walls to illuminate the entire dome from within when seen at night. Along the roof’s edges he designed menorah-like lamps. The effect of all of this illumination is to create, in his words, “a Mountain of Light,” a glass tower that, like a metaphoric Mount Sinai, radiates with light that everyone can see.
Although Beth Sholom may be one of the world’s best-known modern synagogues, it isn’t a household name in the way that many of Wright’s other buildings are.
“We’re the invisible Frank Lloyd Wright building that no one has ever heard of,” says Helene Mansheim, Beth Sholom Visitor Center Manager and tour guide.
Building Beth Sholom’s name recognition isn’t just a fleeting whim. The synagogue has a pressing need for preservation, in particular, for its roof. According to Mansheim, like many Wright structures, it “leaks like a sieve.” When I visited, several buckets and little wading pools were in use on seats and the carpet to catch leaks.
To draw attention to the synagogue, Beth Sholom is currently hosting an art exhibit “Sacred Spaces: Frank Lloyd Wright x Andrew Pielage,” open to the public through Jan. 17, 2022. It features 29 images taken by Phoenix-based photographer Andrew Pielage of Wright-designed buildings.
The photographs selected by curator Sam Lubell for the exhibit include four photographs of Beth Sholom’s interior and exterior.
“To me a sacred space is nature. I feel as inspired standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon as the Sistine chapel,” says Pielage, adding that he feels it’s important “to blend both of those in, traditional sacred spaces and spaces Wright created through light, orientation of landscape and building materials that create that sacred space or sacred structure.” Read the entire article here.