Why Frank Lloyd Wright’s Playful Architecture Fuels Creativity
Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture spirals like a snail shell at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum and flows into a stream at Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. In Arizona, his Taliesin West home and studio bends at the same angles as the mountain peaks behind it. The early 20th century legend’s designs blend geometry and nature in such influential, dazzling ways that eight of his buildings were placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2019.
It may surprise travelers to learn that the inspiration for some of his sublime structures was pure child’s play: a set of toys called the “Froebel Gifts,” which Wright owned as a boy. “The smooth cardboard triangles and maple-wood blocks were most important. All are in my fingers to this day,” Wright wrote.
The whimsy and inventiveness that helped Wright’s work stand out a century ago continues to intrigue new generations of architecture fans, even very young ones. “Fallingwater is a complex structure. And kids are quick to notice you could climb on it,” says curator of education Ashley Andrykovitch. She discourages anyone from treating the masterpiece like a jungle gym, but loves using the house as a jumping off point for teaching children about architecture. “My hope is that a visit to Fallingwater piques curiosity and makes them look at the built environment differently,” she says. “It’s a gateway museum, and they want to learn more.” Rad more here.
R.M. Schindler's Skolnik House Sells in Los Angeles
Designed by noted modernist architect Rudolph Schindler, the striking residence known as the “Skolnik House" (after the Ukraine-born WWII vet Samuel Skolnik and his wife Bertha who commissioned the house back in the early 1950s) has sold to Los Angeles-based entertainment executive Andy Meyers of M3 Creative for a smidge under $4 million.
One of only three so-called “translucent” structures crafted by Schindler during his career — he built more than 500 homes and buildings until his death in 1953, including his own residence in West Hollywood — the two-story house was completed in 1952, and has since undergone a few renovations in keeping with Schindler’s original design elements.
Nestled on a gently sloped hillside, on nearly a half-acre parcel in the Los Feliz neighborhood of L.A., the gray-hued house features three bedrooms and an equal number of baths in a little more than 2,300 square feet of living space described by Schindler biographer Esther McCoy as “essentially a carousel, an open space with a merry-go-round in the middle.”
In this case, the “merry-go-round” is a central indoor-outdoor fireplace that serves as a focal point. There are also hardwood floors and skylights throughout, plus walls of glass and a fiberglass roof that allow for continuous sunlight.
Other highlights include an updated gallery-style kitchen outfitted with modern stainless appliances and a small breakfast nook, and numerous built-in cabinets, banquettes, desks and shelves; outdoors, the backyard holds a barbecue center nestled alongside an al fresco dining area. See more here.
Unity Temple: A Radical Break with Tradition
Unity Temple Restoration Foundation recently posted a new guest blog entry by Eric Rogers, Events & Communications Manager at the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. He writes: "I clearly remember the first time I set eyes on Unity Temple. I knew of Wright primarily from his Prairie Period so I felt I had a good understanding of what awaited me. I could not have been more wrong! When the concrete monolith came into view it took a moment to register what I was seeing." Read Eric's entire blog post discussing Wright's radical break with tradition here.
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