The Progressive City: Wright & his Chicago Contemporaries
October 19 – 23, 2022 - Chicago, Illinois & Online
Registration opens to the public on Thursday, July 28!
"The Progressive City" is the Conservancy’s third Chicago conference, the first there in fifteen years. Chicago around 1900 was a laboratory of progressive reforms addressing widespread social inequality, public health crises, and lack of access to education, nature, and affordable housing. Morning education sessions will focus on the efforts of Wright, his peers and collaborators to improve the city through innovations in architecture, urban planning, parks, public health, education, social services, and housing. Attendees will revisit must-see favorites from past FLWBC tours including Unity Temple and the Frederick C. Robie House (both a part of The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright World Heritage inscription and restored since the last visit), as well as the Bradley House, The Rookery, Wright’s Oak Park Home & Studio, Emil Bach House, and more. There will also be the opportunity to visit homes never before toured during Conservancy events: the Jessie and William Adams House, Foster House, Baker House, Kathryn and Lloyd Lewis House, and others.
Evening events will provide fellowship, support the Conservancy’s mission, and celebrate the recipients of the 2022 Wright Spirit Awards. The Conservancy’s Annual Meeting will take place on the morning of Thursday, October 20. More info here.
On July 11, actor, producer, and activist Sophia Bush, married entrepreneur and angel investor Grant Hughes during a weekend-long celebration in Tulsa. According to Vogue.com, the couple, who got engaged in August 2021 on Lake Como, Italy, exchanged vows in the stunning Tuscany-inspired South Garden of Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art according to Architectural Digest.
On the evening before the ceremony, guests arrived at the 10,000-plus-square-foot Westhope house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his cousin, publisher of the Tulsa Tribune, Richard Lloyd Jones, in 1928. The dinner party had an “elevated cowboy” theme, with the bride and groom donning white Western-style hats. The fete’s decor was kept to a minimum, complementing the house’s interiors with only a few earth-toned floral arrangements, styled in the centuries-old Japanese art of ikebana. Bush said: “The florals nod to Japanese ikebana, as Frank Lloyd Wright drew inspiration for much of his architecture from studying Japanese design.”
Walls of the two-story house seamlessly integrate concrete blocks with a salient use of glass panes (5,200 to be exact) arranged in pillar-like forms, creating a vertical rhythm that permits ample natural light into the interiors while keeping dwellers connected to the outside environment. According to PriceTower.org, Westhope is Wright’s only home outside of California, built in the architect’s original Textile Block style. More here.
Aaron Resnick served as a co-architect with the esteemed architect Frank Lloyd Wright on the Usonia Historic District project. Their gambit resulted in a planned community of 43 homes in Pleasantville, NY. Wright wound up designing three homes for the project while Resnick designed 12.
Now, one of Resnick’s own designs—a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch on an 8.3-acre site in Lagrangeville, NY—is on the market for $1,250,000. It’s listed with Joseph A. Satto of Fresh Air Realty.
Perched on a hill and backing up to farmland, the property is surrounded by old-growth Norway spruce. “It’s meant to be something that’s connected to what’s around it,” says Satto. “Anywhere your head turns (from inside the home), you’re always seeing something outside.” That’s mostly due to walls of windows and 12 skylights throughout the residence.
Stacked-bluestone walls, red slate floors, birch cabinetry, exposed wood beams, and redwood shelves are some of the standout design features. Little has been altered in the home—a testament to its high levels of craftsmanship. Original cabinetry, built-ins, and decorative tilework all remain intact. See the photos here.
One of Richard Neutra's legendary mid-century modern residential designs is up for sale in California’s Central Coast, but even in the state’s breakneck real estate market, Slavin House is languishing. Other rare gems are highly sought after, and snapped up for a premium before they even get a chance to hit the market. Yet there’s no signs of a new owner on the immediate horizon for 1322 Dover Road, asking $10.5 million.
The placement of the home alone should draw interest without the marquee name attached. The property is seemingly suspended in midair, with panoramic views, and perched high above the Pacific. It’s set back from the street on a private nearly 1-acre parcel on the most desired road in the Riviera neighborhood — just a 10-minute walk downhill to Santa Barbara Bowl and the State Street commercial corridor. At night, the downtown lights twinkle before it. During the day, the home is flooded with natural light. And every sunset into the Pacific comes at you in something slightly better than CinemaScope.
Neutra’s other homes have sold for even more than what the Slavin House’s owner is asking. In 2020, Tremaine House in Montecito was picked up in an off-market sale for a cool $12 million in 2020 by Franz von Holzhausen, the designer behind the 1997 Volkswagen Beetle.
The answer likely lies in the state of the home itself, Jim Carr, the Slavin House’s current owner as well as the real estate agent representing himself as the seller, told SFGATE. The biggest issue: a fire at the home on May 8, 2021, that took out much of the original 1955 structure.
Acting Santa Barbara Fire Department division Chief Mike DePonce told Noozhawk at the time of the incident that most of the Slavin House went up in smoke in the span of a single morning. Perhaps more foreboding, the fire also revealed the home was built in a precarious and difficult-to-access area. There were “pretty extensive hose lays to get up the hill to the structure,” DePonce said.
The good news is the original plans for the building survived the blaze. “Miraculously,” real estate agents Molly and Randy Haden said in an August 2021 statement following Carr’s acquisition of the burned-out Slavin House for $2.7 million, “the new owners ... have a passion for architecture, intend to restore and rebuild this local landmark home to its original glory.”
While Carr estimates the footprint of the entire property, including home, foundation, landscaping and pool is 50% or less intact, the actual building is 10% to 20% of what it was pre-blaze. “The value is more in the way art is evaluated,” he says. “It’s not about how much the paint costs and paintbrush and canvas, the thing that makes it valuable is the artist who created it. There's an element of that conceivably or potentially in this property.”
As such, Carr says he’s currently spending “a long time, a really a long time …with the city to obtain a permit and demolish the burned-down [part of the] building.”
He says he’s also working on obtaining the building permit and is, right now, committed to completing the restoration work should the right buyer not come to light. “I’m a real estate broker, and so I choose to advertise it for sale while I do this,” he says. “I’m pressing forward to build the house and … if somebody else just has to have it, then they can talk to me.” More here.
The E. H. Pitkin Summer Lodge, located on Sapper Island, is the last surviving Frank Lloyd Wright building left in Canada.
During a vacation to the Rain’s Hotel on St. Joseph Island, the Pitkin family and friends got on a boat to explore the nearby islands. Despite a downpour and generally wretched weather, the Pitkins were dazzled by the beauty and knew it would be spectacular in perfect weather.
Navigating amongst the islands provides a labyrinth of beautiful scenery – the contrast between the turquoise waters and the rocky shores with the lushness of the trees is a slice of paradise. Only a few days later they purchased Sapper Island and asked their neighbour from Oak Park, Illinois to design their cottage. That neighbor was Frank Lloyd Wright.
Wright, at the time, was just starting out. He had not yet developed his trademark “Prairie School” style for which he became well known and which is still influencing architects and home design to this day.
Yet, this early example of his work contains many touches that were emblematic of Wright. One example is the cabin’s split flue fireplace. There is a large central hearth with a flue that splits and runs to the outside of the building, which then allows for a central hallway on the second floor.
Secondly, the cabin boasts a large, wide-open living space, of which Wright was very fond. The cabin is also the embodiment of his desire for “organic architecture” in that the structure blends harmoniously with the natural habitat.
So, how has this, the only Frank Lloyd Wright structure in Canada remained such an enigma? Other Wright structures such as his masterpiece called Fallingwater, near Pittsburgh, have been open to the public for tours. UNESCO even designated eight of his designs as World Heritage sites.
The E.H. Pitkin cottage has somehow eluded this notoriety, with many locals unaware of its existence. This may in part be due to its somewhat remote location, which is only accessible by boat. Read more here.