The historic Beth Sholom Synagogue in this eastern Montgomery County community will soon see some major repairs after it was approved for $2 million in grant funding. The office of State Rep. Napolean Nelson announced late last week that the grant funding through the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program will aid the historic synagogue in repairing and restoring its dome.
The synagogue was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is a National Historic Landmark. Its iconic dome is a recognized symbol throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.
"Our goal is to ensure the synagogue can still be used as a place of worship and future generations can continue to appreciate the architectural designs of Frank Lloyd Wright," Herb Sachs, immediate past president of the Beth Sholom Synagogue Preservation Foundation, said in a statement. More here.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater — which the famed architect designed to balance nature with the modern world — is getting a little greener.
The group that owns and operates the Fayette County campus announced Friday the installation of an array of solar panels to offset the power used at the house Wright designed in the 1930s for Pittsburgh’s Kaufmann family.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy said in a news release that the 540 solar panels, located on a half-acre of open field in the nearby Bear Run Nature Reserve, will offset 100% of the electricity used by Fallingwater’s main and guest houses and a quarter of the facility’s overall power use. The array will produce 254,880 kilowatt hours of energy each year. More here.
archdigest.com offers original coverage of the architecture and interior design by the inimitable architect John Lautner, now the residence of director Joachim Rønning and Amanda Hearst Rønning.
In 1961, John Lautner designed the West Hollywood home for interior designer and concert pianist Marco Wolff. For Lautner, who had apprenticed under Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1930s, the home was an opportunity to flex his creative muscles. What began as an arduous, almost vertical plot of land, resulted in perhaps the acme of midcentury-modern residential architecture on the West Coast.
The four-story home is nestled within a 9,785-square-foot plot in a leafy enclave of West Hollywood. To approach it from the street is not unlike approaching the face of a rock—it’s an encounter with something that has been there before you, and it will be there after you’re long gone. Lautner had a philosophy in the construction of a home, which he termed grammar, that contributed to the whole idea of what the space was going to be. And once the architect formed this philosophy, he was relentless in its execution. “For me, as a filmmaker, I take so much inspiration from someone like Lautner,” Rønning says. “Because when I look at this house, even in the smallest of details I can see there were no compromises. He really fought for his vision.”
After moving into the home, Wolff added a guest house (also designed by Lautner) a decade later, before eventually selling the abode. What followed was a series of owners who added little in the way of elegance. That is until Rønning and Hearst Rønning purchased the property, when the stylish duo tapped architect and interior designer Clive Wilkinson to help bring their new home back to its former glory. “It’s the design of the home that’s the real star,” says Hearst Rønning, the great-granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, who is the cofounder of the sustainable fashion retailer Maison-De-Mode and the cofounder of Well/Beings, a non-profit dedicated to animal welfare and conservation.
“From the beginning, I had no desire to leave any form of signature or imprint on this house,” Wilkinson says. After receiving the proper permits from the city’s historical commission, the South African–born talent was keen on leaving the bones of the home intact. “I saw it as my job to clarify Lautner’s original design. I had no ego about it because it wasn’t about me, it was about taking a phenomenal piece of work and bringing it back to what it should be.” But that also involved bringing in L.A.–based contractor MODAA Construction to shape a few additions without disrupting the architectural integrity of the home. An extra bedroom was created (by way of an old utility room), as well as a small wine cellar and home gym.
However, out of an abundance of respect for the original design, Rønning and Hearst Rønning would not go any further in their additions. “Every day we wake up in the house, and it inspires us in a way we can’t put our finger on,” Rønning says. “It’s in the little things: How light hits the wall at certain hours, or the way we see an angle [of the wall] for the first time. It’s not unlike staring at a Rothko, for example—you’re simply absorbed by the power. It just shows the genius of Lautner.” Read the entire article and see the photographs here.
The 1,940-square-foot, single-story Mathews House in Atherton, California, that the went on the market for $8 million this spring was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Each of the walls in this 1952-era home, except one, lacks 90-degree angles.
The home is considered a pristine example of the noted architect’s Usonian architecture — a type of modern, 20th-century residential architecture uniquely simple, small, functional — and American, said Monique Lombardelli, CEO of Menlo Park-based Modern Homes Realty.
Built for original owner Arthur Mathews, the home is one of only six residences in the greater Bay Area designed by Wright — with the others in Hillsborough, Orinda, San Anselmo, Carmel, and Stanford. The Mathews House, along with Stanford’s Hanna House, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The home is a mid century modern gem of understated rustic elegance comprised of red brick, redwood, glass and concrete hidden away on nearly an acre of land in the quiet, sylvan, tree-lined Atherton neighborhood of Lindenwood. To date, the Mathews House has had only two owners in nearly three-quarters of a Century. The eventual new owner of the Mathews House will have to follow strict guidelines governing the maintenance and preservation of properties of historical significance. But they will have plenty of help and advice from fellow Frank Lloyd Wright scholars and aficionados. The Chicago-based Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy provides advocacy, education and technical support for the owners and guardians of the hundreds of structures Wright designed and had built across the United States during his 70-year career. More here.
Just a reminder to readers not to miss the chance to sign up for The School of Architecture's Summer Immersion 2022 program. Over the course of 6 weeks (June 14 – July 25, 2022) the program will take place in Chicago and Wisconsin. Studio space for a series of design exercises led by TSOA faculty will be provided at the iconic architectural sites of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wyoming Valley School in Spring Green and Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall at IIT. The TSOA Summer Immersion program will offer tours and events at a number of significant Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in Chicago and Wisconsin, as well as many other important cultural and architectural sites in the region. Included in the tours is exclusive access to privately-owned Wright homes that are not open to the public.
This program is open to adults of all ages who are interested in architecture and urbanism. A background in the field is not required. More info and new early-bird pricing here.