The Buffalo Planning Board on Feb. 7 backed James Sandoro request to purchase portions of Carroll Street and Frank Lloyd Wright Way from the city for the long-planned expansion of the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum. The approval will lead to the project’s first phase, which is expected to cost $5 million. A day later, the Buffalo Common Council supported the sale, with Sandoro agreeing to pay a negotiated price of $151,000. More here.
The Oasis Hotel, constructed 1923-25, contained approximately 20 units and included the Tower Building, the only three story hotel building in Palms Springs for many years.
The 40 foot tower, with its pyramidal roof, provided access to the upper story rooms and a roof top terrace. The topmost room was called “Loretta Young’s Room”, because it was her favorite in Palm Springs. The hotel was designed by Lloyd Wright the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, and constructed of solid concrete using a technique which was quite advanced for that time.
In this article Tracy Conrad of The Desert Sun gives us the history of the Oasis Hotel in Palm Springs, California. Click here for more.
Organic architecture sometimes brings the visual of curvilinear forms to mind, however, the 20th century idea of organic architecture is referred to buildings and structures that were built in harmony with the existing landscape. An example of this particular approach to building can be found in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, especially Fallingwater. Wright is also largely credited for coining the term. The idea was to allow the site to dictate the elementary form and planning of the structure while creating a space that addresses the occupant’s needs.
As a design methodology, organic architecture has lasting popularity. Mexican architect, Javier Senosiain, continues to work with the principles of philosophy and is considered to be one of the first architects to explore organic architecture in Mexico. He is also the author of Bioarquitectura (2002). Senosiain's famous Casa Organica was born from the idea of creating a space adapted to humans, according to their environmental, physical, and psychological needs. See this unique expression of organic architecture by clicking here.
Rain Noe of Core77 writes that experimentation in design is a tricky thing. Proponents of experimentation may argue it is required in order for designs to evolve. Critics may argue that experimentation is often wielded in the name of fashion rather than function.
The latest famous architect whose widely-acclaimed design is now falling apart is Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright. Mackintosh's design for Hill House in Helensburgh, Scotland, perhaps his most famous residential commission, is "dissolving like an aspirin in a glass of water." The culprit is a poor choice of materials for the exterior cladding.
A traditional stone house finishing technique in Scotland is called harling. It's a plastering process whereby the exterior of a stone house is coated in lime. While the lime is wet, small stones and pebbles are pressed into the surface. Once the mixture dries, the house now has a protective coating that still allows the building to breathe; lime is porous, and allows moisture to evaporate.
Rather than using lime, however, Mackintosh elected to harl Hill House using Portland cement. Whereas lime was at the time (1904) a tried-and-true material in use for centuries, Portland cement was relatively newfangled and offered a cost savings. Alas, applying it to Hill House "has led to maintenance problems ever since," according to an essay called "Mackintosh and Materials," by Ranald MacInnes, Head of Heritage Management, Historic Scotland. "We now know that cement is harmful to otherwise traditionally constructed buildings because it tends to craze, allowing water to penetrate but not to escape through natural evaporation."
"After decades of driving wind and rain saturating the walls of the Hill House, the building's long-term survival, including its unique interior finishes, is threatened. Over many years, solutions have been attempted by the property's various owners but none has solved the problem. It now falls to the National Trust for Scotland to take radical steps to stop further deterioration and find the elusive answer."
Those radical steps consist of building a gigantic "drying box" both to keep the rain off of the house and to let it dry out over a number of years. Read the entire article and see the video here.
A new Exhibition Shines a Light on George Fred Keck’s Solar Home of 1933. ‘Houses of Tomorrow,’ on the first glass dwelling in the U.S., is on view at the Elmhurst Art Museum (near Chicago) through May 29th. The exhibition explores the modernist Chicago architect’s House of Tomorrow built for the city’s Century of Progress international exposition.
The 12-sided House of Tomorrow, built in 1933 for the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago was the first glass house, a work of solar architecture that can be seen as an origin point for our current understanding of passive solar design and sustainable energy efficiency–a lineage. Using photos, plans, and drawings, the exhibition concisely illustrates a hinge-point between design, technology, and science. But it shines most brilliantly when exploring the experiential aspects of Keck’s obsession with light and glass, bringing components from the original house into the gallery not as archaeological artifacts but to create a vivid narrative of what living in the House of Tomorrow might have felt like. More information here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Arthur Mathews House in Atherton, California, is set to be listed for sale next month with an $8 million price tag.
Built in 1952, the Usonian home has an open floor plan at 1,940-square-feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The layout is configured in the shape of a partial hexagon with walls meeting at 120 degree or 60 degree angles. A wing containing the living and dining areas looks out to a terrace and pool from a wall of windows.
Monique Lombardelli, the listing agent, said the home will be sold furnished with its original Danish modern furniture and built-ins. Surrounding gardens were designed by Thomas Church, a famous landscape architect at the time. See it here.
Visiting Oak Park is like walking through an outdoor museum where you can see architectural styles popular during the 19th and early 20th centuries according to Rachel Freundt of Chicago magazine. What makes the experience even more special is the town has the largest collection of buildings designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, including the six-bedroom, five-bathroom Harrison Young House that just hit the market for nearly $1.5 million.
Completed in 1895, the residence was built when Wright was just starting his career as an independent architect. A $12,000 remodeling job for Harrison and Lizzie Young, Wright lifted a small Victorian farmhouse originally constructed by William Coman before 1873 from its original foundation and moved the building back 16 feet. He then constructed a whole new front facade for the Youngs and their growing family. The new rooms included an entry, foyer, reception area, library, and living room on the first floor. Above, he added a study as well as multiple bedrooms and bathrooms.
The wraparound front porch, which extends across the front of the home, has rounded, cantilevered ends with the north end forming a bracket-supported porte-cochere over a carriage-height entrance. There is a direct opening in the porch so people could step directly onto it from their horse carriage.
A fire on the front porch roof in 1989 caused approximately $100,000 in damage to the home’s spacious living room and the above master bathroom. During repairs the porch roof was reinforced to correct sagging of the cantilever on the north end. It last sold over a decade ago in September of 2010 for just over a million dollars.
The nearly 130-year-old home was restored by its current owners, much of it done by the late architect John Thorpe, while a major remodeling in 2012 included a new kitchen, spacious mudroom, extensive family room, and completely rebuilt back porch. Although it doesn’t look like a typical Wright design, the Young residence signifies an important time period of transition and experimentation for the architect, foreshadowing what was to come. See the photos here.