There are millions of listings on Airbnb’s website, ranging from treehouses in Brazil to castles in France — but of all the Airbnbs Brian Chesky, the company’s CEO, has stayed in, one home stands apart from the rest.
It’s the Palmer House in Ann Arbor, Michigan designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. “I’m a designer, but growing up, I always thought I wanted to be an architect,” Chesky tells CNBC Make It. “If there’s one listing I had to pick, I’d say the Palmer House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, who is my favorite architect.”
The Palmer House, which costs $750 per night, includes three bedrooms and two baths, enough room to comfortably fit six guests.
Set on a two-acre plot of secluded, wooded land about one mile from the University of Michigan’s main campus, the Palmer House was commissioned in 1950 by William and Mary Palmer. A notable feature of the home is its design: Wright built the 2,000-square-foot residence on a pattern of equilateral triangles, and as a result, none of the rooms have 90-degree corners. More here.
Silas Valentino, SFGATE's Travel Editor, has an article about a boy from Marin County, California, who wrote a letter to Frank Lloyd Wright in 1956 pleading with the architect for plans to build a doghouse for his Labrador retriever named Eddie. Jim Berger, who was 12 years old at the time, lived with his parents in San Anselmo. They had commissioned Wright to design a Usonian-style house a few years prior and Jim wanted a comparable abode for Eddie.
The following year, designs for a 4-square-foot doghouse returned, written on the back of an envelope and free of charge. Wright even responded saying that “a house for Eddie is an opportunity.” It's the smallest structure the architect ever designed.
Similar to the family’s home, the doghouse is a triangular structure sporting classic Wright details like an exaggerated overhang and wooden shingles. To further complement the design, Wright instructed Jim to use scrap pieces of Philippine mahogany and cedar that remained from the home’s construction.
In 1963, while Jim was in the army, his father and brother built the doghouse. Apparently, the Labrador didn’t take to it and chose instead to sleep in the main house. Eventually, the family discarded the doghouse for the dump, but the designs remained.
In 2010, Jim and his brother Eric rebuilt the doghouse, now called Eddie’s House, and donated the replica to Marin County. Fans of Wright (and dogs) can view the structure on the Civic Center’s docent tours that resume after a two-year pause on Friday, June 3. See the photo here.
Abbie Wilson had just landed a dream job in December 2020 with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, where she would get to work at the famous architect’s winter home, Taliesin West, according to Alex Gallagher, GetOut Staff Writer.
As excited as she was about her job, she was confronted with the tall task of creating one of the most exciting young engineering and architecture camps in the Valley under the veil of the pandemic.
Wilson’s most daunting task was devising an online version of Camp Taliesin West for kids that captured the same fun and creativity that the camp conventionally offers.
She was able to find a way to utilize google classroom to provide instructions on how to create crafts, partake in activities and ask all the questions they wanted.
While the in-person camp proceeded with patrons masked up indoors, the online camp became a sensation as kids from countries like Puerto Rico and Ecuador signed up for the closest visit possible to Wright’s winter quarters that a screen could offer.
The online camp was such a hit that this year’s camp will be offered in-person with no restrictions as well as virtually again.
“In light of everything that has happened over the last couple of years, my big belief is that kids need to do hands-on things,” Wilson, who currently operates as the education manager for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation said.
Each summer camp will kick off with an expansive tour of the campus’ historic areas where kids are wowed by the buildings’ unique geometry and the combinations of shapes the facility’s furniture displays. After the tour, the students are introduced to the theme of the camp and delve into their instruction and activities. Most camps culminate in the kids creating grand models out of recycled materials.
“Some of the projects that we’re hoping to do for this year are based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs and some of his types of activities,” said Jenna Green, Taliesin West senior museum education manager.
“Being able to bring their drawings, whether they’re in full scale, or just kind of more of a sketch design to the 3D space and being able to build the models,” Green said. “Oftentimes letting students decorate them is probably one of the biggest highlights for them.”
Although the students are given a creative range with their designs, they are also taught about skills like scale – a math-intensive skill – while using tools that actual architects use to create models like Exacto knives, hot glue guns, and foam core.
Although these tasks may seem rigorous, the goal is to help the kids explore the various careers that exist within the architecture and engineering fields.
“Teaching kids about design, whether that is architectural design, interior design or just artistic design, about the math, the science and the art that goes into the design and then about the careers that they could explore through those things,” Wilson said.
“I think it just opens up a whole world for them that maybe they didn’t think about before because they were unfamiliar with all these concepts.”
Camp Taliesin West will host five camps this summer discussing topics like city design, interior design, architecture and photography. More here.
There is only one private home built in Florida that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in his lifetime. The Lewis Spring House in Tallahassee, is designed as the union of concentric and intersecting circles that some say end up resembling a boat.
The Spring House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 14, 1979. Today, visitors are able to take a tour of the property on select days. The Spring House Institute, Inc., which was formed by the family, hopes to restore the property with the help of the public, in order to preserve the legacy of both the Lewis Family and Wright. More information here.
After a two-year hiatus, the popular garden tour organized by the Sedgwick County Extension master gardeners program is back in-person and will feature six area gardens, including one at Wichita’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed attraction that has been revitalized by volunteer gardeners.
The grounds of the Allen House (1915), designed by Wright, were revitalized in the past few years by master gardeners to complement the home’s design with native and even some original plants. It’s one of the stops on this year’s garden tour.
The tour is happening 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 5. Tickets are $10 per person and available at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Office at 21st and Ridge Road, online at www.sedgwick.ksu.edu/events or at any of the featured gardens during the tour weekend. Ticket sale proceeds benefit the volunteer master gardener program and its outreach programs, which include a gardening hotline and educational talks. Read more here.
Designer Colin Cantwell, who was responsible for the design of the Death Star and several iconic ships in the Star Wars saga, has passed away at the age of 90. The news was confirmed by the designer’s partner, Sierra Dall, and reported first by the Hollywood Reporter.
Born in San Francisco in 1932, Cantwell earned a degree in animation from the University of California, Los Angeles. Cantwell was in fact the first animation graduate in the history of UCLA, having suggested to the school that they add an animation major.
In tandem with his love of space and animation, Cantwell described architecture as his other major passion. During his studies, Cantwell spent months creating building designs with the goal of attracting the attention of Frank Lloyd Wright. Cantwell ultimately traveled unannounced to the architect’s School of Architecture at Taliesin, Wisconsin to personally present his work to Wright.
As Cantwell described on his website, the encounter resulted in Wright inviting the young designer to attend his school. Asked by Cantwell if there was a waiting list for admittance, Wright replied “Not for you.” However, before Cantwell could raise the money to afford tuition, Wright passed away in 1959, thus putting an end to Cantwell’s plans to study at Taliesin. Read more about his life and work here.
Donald Leslie Johnson, architect, academic and architectural historian, passed away on May 9, 2022. He was born January 2, 1930 in Bremerton, Washington and graduated with a bachelor of architecture from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1957. From there he undertook a master of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, studying under Louis Kahn and graduating in 1961.
Johnson published extensively over five decades. From 1977, his research focused on Australian architecture. An early interest in Walter Burley Griffin led to The Architecture of Walter Burley Griffin (1977) and, in turn, to the important reference work Australian Architecture 1901–51: Sources of Modernism (1980; e-book 2002). With Donald Langmead, he co-authored The Adelaide City Plan: Fiction and Fact (1986). Independently, he expanded his interest in the history of the plan of Adelaide and its Park Lands and, in 2013, published Anticipating Municipal Parks: London to Adelaide to Garden City. He also wrote for a broader international audience on Frank Lloyd Wright – his last book being Frank Lloyd Wright: The Early Years: Progressivism: Aesthetics: Cities (2017) – and on 20th-century modern architecture. Read more here.