Enjoy a summer night with music and refreshments on the terrace at Unity Temple! Unity Temple Restoration Foundation presents Duo Diorama in intimate preview performances for the Unity Chamber Music Series Season 2022-2023. Dates include July 7, July 28, and August 18. Each admission will include one drink ticket. Enjoy refreshments on the terrace 7:30-8 pm. Show time 8pm. Tickets are $20 for members (general admission is $25). More here.
Harry Gesner was an architect who didn’t have a fancy degree — nor, for many years, even an architectural license. In fact, the sum total of his training consisted of attending lectures by Frank Lloyd Wright, then working as a carpenter. The lack of credential was little deterrent to Gesner, who over the course of his life designed and crafted dozens of prized homes around Los Angeles according to the Los Angeles Times.
Gesner, who was known for designing some of L.A.’s most idiosyncratic residences, buildings that seem to draw their shape from the swells of the Pacific Ocean and the wooded peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains, died Friday in Malibu. He was 97 years old; the cause was complications related to cancer. More on his life here.
Just 3 miles down the road from Taliesin—Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer home—you’ll encounter an inn that nods to the architect’s signature aesthetic. And as fans of Wright’s distinctive style motor by on Highway 14, they might assume the structure was designed by the master himself. However, this 11-room motel in Spring Green, WI, was designed by one of Wright’s many protégés.
Conceived in 1948, what’s now known as The Usonian Inn was a concept of Wright acolyte J.C. Caraway. Now on the market for $684,900, the property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places. Caraway followed Wright’s style of simplicity and clean lines, and the result is a motel like no other in the country.
Since its construction in 1952, the building has operated as a Wright-inspired inn. Interestingly, the motel’s first owners—Mr. and Mrs. John Michels—were Wright’s friends.
In 1992, the inn was renovated by another Wright apprentice (James Pfefferkorn) and the name was changed from the Rest Haven Motel to The Usonian Inn. The inn sits on Wisconsin’s Frank Lloyd Wright Trail. See it here.
At the height of the Great Depression, the Federal Art Project Work-Relief Program sent four hundred illustrators across the United States to document the nation’s decorative arts heritage in search of a “useable past”. All of the documentation was to be rendered in watercolor. Each image was to depict an object that was distinctly American in design and ornamentation.
It was easier said than done. Finding skilled watercolorists was straightforward enough given the dearth of commercial work, but the American vernacular proved elusive. Many of the 18,257 illustrations in the Index of American Design – portraying objects ranging from patchwork quilts to painted chests – show glimpses of influence from Europe, Asia, and Africa.
In New York, a new exhibition at the Drawing Center shows, the cultural promiscuity of ornamentation is its primary source of vitality. The exhibition takes its name from a book that was dedicated to classification and ranking even more stringent than the Federal Art Project’s Index. Published in 1856, The Grammar of Ornament documented ornamentation from around the world, showing examples from ancient times to the 19th century in one hundred spectacular color plates meticulously rendered by the British architect Owen Jones. More than just a sourcebook, the Grammar sought to show ornamentation as a universal human phenomenon.
The association with nature was deepened by the 20th century American architect Louis Sullivan, who perceived the process of ornamentation as organic, occurring within a rigid geometric framework. Sullivan gave full expression to these ideas in “A System of Architectural Ornament”, in which he wrote that ornament originated like the “seed-germ” of a plant and culminated in “foliate and efflorescent forms”. Read more here.
Hinsdale, Illinois' village president on Tuesday debated with a former trustee on whether a tax break for a historic house would affect other taxpayers.
The Village Board was considering whether to give the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house at 121 S. County Line Road – known as the Bagley House – historic landmark status. Read about this controversy here
Such a designation may mean the owners could get a property tax freeze for eight years under state law.
One of renowned architect Richard Neutra’s Platform Houses in Los Angeles hit the market recently for $2.05 million.
The home, which boasts a black metal exterior, is one of 17 Mid-Century Modern homes in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of the city known as the Platform Houses. Aptly named, the homes “are built on massive platforms that cantilever out over the edge of a steep slope, looking down onto the valley below,” according to the Los Angeles Conservancy, a local preservation group.
Neutra—an Austrian-American architect who spent much of his career in Southern California and worked alongside other luminaries of the era, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolf Schindler—helmed the design of the residences, which were completed between 1962 and 1966, according to the conservancy. Neutra withdrew from the project after disagreements with the developer, and architect William S. Beckett oversaw the rest of the process. Neutra died in 1970 at the age of 78.
Owner and architect Donald Goldstein has restored the two-bedroom, two-bathroom home over the last two decades. He purchased the property in 1993 for $240,000, according to records with PropertyShark.
Overlooking the San Fernando Valley, the residence offers far-reaching vistas through floor-to-ceiling windows. Four pyramid skylights were added to bring light into the abode. Features include custom wrought iron doors; an open living area with a gas fireplace; a dining room with space for a table for 10, a wet bar and a 300-plus bottle wine cellar; a chef’s kitchen with WOLF appliances; solar panels; and an office, according to the listing.
Outside, there’s a seating area, plus a koi pond and a courtyard with a water feature, plus a carport, according to the listing.
“Beyond its history, the modern spin and interpretation showcase how this home can both evolve and stand the test of time,” listing agent Michelle Schwartz of The Agency said in an email. See it here.