Edgar Kaufmann Jr. once described his family’s sylvan Fayette County retreat as “a great lantern in the forest giving shape to the dark.”
Of course, he was talking about Frank Lloyd Wright’s gravity-defying, world-renowned masterwork, Fallingwater.
The description is fitting as the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy prepares to revive its signature fundraiser, the Fallingwater Soiree, following a two-year hiatus due to the covid-19 pandemic.
The event, scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 13 at the iconic site at Mill Road, Mill Run, provides a rare opportunity to experience the architecture and natural landscape of Fallingwater at twilight, said Justin Gunther, WPC vice president and director of Fallingwater.
Attendees will be offered wine and signature cocktails crafted with local spirits and heavy appetizers curated by Chef Kate Romane of Black Radish Kitchen in Pittsburgh. Guests will encounter live music, provided by MCG Jazz in Pittsburgh, as they take self-guided tours of the house.
“We’re trying to create a regional- and local-specific event through the food and the music,” Gunther said. “Chef Kate Romane has pulled together a who’s who of the Pittsburgh food scene to create the evening’s menu and a really wonderful concept for the food. The idea of locally and sustainably sourced is driving the food experience.” Appetizers will be passed in the visitor center as guests arrive, with more passed appetizers and food stations available outside of the house.
“The music is integrated into the house experience. Rather than sitting and listening to a performance, as people make their way through the house, they will encounter different touch points of music along with the experience of the architecture,” Gunther said.
“We’ll have some musicians performing in the living room, on the master bedroom terrace, on Edgar Kaufmann Sr.’s terrace, by the guest house swimming pool,” he said. “As people walk through, they’ll be able to stop and hear different sounds at these different points.”
Tickets are $300 at fallingwater.org/soiree. Tickets for WPC and Friends of Fallingwater members are $250, available by calling 724-329-8501. More here.
Tucked away in a rambling, two story, shingle and stone structure in Highland Park lies the 125-year-old Judson Studios, the oldest family-owned and family-run stained-glass studio in America. Five generations of Judsons have worked with artists, architects and designers to create stained glass whose quality and craftsmanship are admired worldwide. David Judson shared his story with LA Times Today.
“Stained glass has this kind of very human analog spiritual connotation, just simply because it is natural light and its color. And it’s all of these things that I think reach your soul in a way that other mediums can’t. Things that are technological or electrical don’t have that same sensibility as natural light,” Judson said.
Judson’s great-great-grandfather started Judson Studios. In the 125 years that the business has existed, Judson Studios has created thousands of works from the U.S. Capitol prayer chapel to houses for Frank Lloyd Wright. Now, Judson is moving his studio into the future.
“We’ve kind of really nailed down the traditional stained glass, and I think that’s still kind of our bread and butter to a certain extent,” he shared. “And I think that won’t go away. I think coming in as a fifth generation, you really kind of have to find yourself within that. And I had to find my own identity to really think about how to continue forward without being kind of attached or locked down by what had come before me.”
One artist Judson is inspired by is Narcissus Quagliata, who is the Director of Innovation at Judson Studios. Quagliata’s processes will allow Judson to revolutionize the way his studio creates art and can reach audiences.
Judson Studios recently published a book celebrating the history and evolution of the studio. Visit their website to get a copy and learn more about new and upcoming projects.
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Corinne Moore of WoodTV reports that a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed cooperative housing community in Kalamazoo, Michigan is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“It was a grassroots thing by people after (World War II) who were looking for a family-friendly, distinctive place to live,” Peter Copeland, vice president of the Parkwyn Village Association, said.
In 1946, six young scientists employed at the Upjohn Company and their families looking for a place to call their own set out to begin the process. They bought a 47-acre lot of farmland overlooking Lorenz Lake (now Asylum Lake) for $18,000, the Parkwyn Village website said. With no developer, the group began looking for an architect to design a site plan to create a modern look and feel to their community.
That September, after looking at several architects, the group settled on world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. “He agreed to do their project… and they finally reached an agreement in January or February of 1947 that Wright would design the site plan for a fee of $1,500,” Copeland said.
After months of back and forth, a final site plan was accepted in October 1947. Copeland said it included 40 circular lots, roads and two common areas or parks that total about seven acres. Wright’s plan included landscaping, which added over 1,000 trees to the community.
Once the plan was accepted, the families started paying to lay down the road and install utilities underground, which “cost them extra but they wanted a place that emphasized the natural beauty of the area.” With the 47-acre transformation underway, the families started selling lots and houses started to get built.
“Wright did not require that he design all the houses for Parkwyn Village. He only required that if someone else designed a house next to one that he designed, he wanted the right to veto that design if it conflicted or was incompatible with his design,” Copeland said.
The architect designed five houses for the cooperative housing community that reflects his Usonian design concept. Other houses were designed by Kalamazoo architects Norman F. Carver Jr. and George W. Sprau.
“Recognition by the National Park Service is a great reminder of the neighborhood’s history and significance to our community,” Les Tung, president of Parkwyn Village Association, said in a press release. “We are grateful for this important designation and plan to commemorate the occasion as part of our 75th-anniversary celebration in September.” More here.
In the Spring 2022 Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly, Graphic Design Fellow Brie Flewelling explores the impact of music on Frank Lloyd Wright, and in turn the effect of Wright’s work and legacy on contemporary musicians.
"Frank Lloyd Wright was not one to credit inspiration lightly, yet spoke often of the impact Beethoven, Bach, Brahms and other musical greats had on him and his work. In one conversation about the Coonley house, he stated, “Articulate buildings of this type have their parallel in the music of Bach particularly, but in any of the true form-masters in music.” Synesthetic comments like this are common in Wright’s prose and interviews. Apprentice John Lautner once recounted a story of Wright comparing his work to Beethoven, “‘…he said, ‘with these 16 foot centers,’ [Lautner gestures at beams in the Garden Room at Taliesin West]…he said, ‘you can hear the module in the Beethoven music.’”
The connection between Wright and music is a strong one, beginning in his most formative years. His father, William Russell Cary Wright, was a musician and composer. Reminiscing on his father’s performances, he once wrote, “To my young mind it all spoke a language that stirred me strangely, and I’ve since learned it was the language beyond all words, of the human heart. To me, architecture is just as much an affair of the human heart,” Wright ensured that music was a key component of the Fellowship, an essential part of his students’ educations. Included as an area of interest on the application form, many of the apprentices learned to play an instrument and participated in performances. When Wright settled on a location for Taliesin West, his winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona, he wrote to his secretary to bring various tools, drafting supplies, and violins. All were necessities to build the desert outpost. To this day, multiple pianos grace the property, testaments to the musical origins of the space. Read the entire article here.
Heads up! Wright in Wisconsin's "Wright and Like" tour takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 30, 2022 in Madison and Middleton, WI. The event will be the organization's 23rd event of its kind and feature four homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and four designed by like-minded architects. It's not to be missed for anyone who loves Wright architecture! To see all the homes that will be featured and get your tickets, follow the link.