The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust has unveiled its latest plans to create a learning center near the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. The Arts and Education Center, as it will be known, will allow the trust to increase its educational programming for all ages but not with an eye, Wright officials said, to increase tourism capacity.
“We want to make it very clear that education is our intention,” said Celeste Adams, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.
The latest plans are an updated, reconsidered version of the Trust’s original expansion plans from 2017, a plan poorly received by many. The project was then known as the Visitor and Education Center, with the “visitor” part commanding most of the public’s attention, according to Adams.
“The focus of conversations was more about visitors, which then and now is really not the focus,” Adams told Wednesday Journal. “The focus is education.”
The 2017 conceptual plans were also criticized by preservationists. The design called for the demolition of a historic home at 925 Chicago Ave. to make space for a 20,000-square-foot education and visitors center. The removal and costly relocation of the John Blair House at 931 Chicago Ave. was also considered. The John Blair House, which was named after the man who built it, was famously occupied by Wright’s mother Anna.
“We listened to people’s concerns and immediately realized that was not going to be viable in the community,” Adams said.
So, John Ronan, the architect behind both sets of plans, revised the 2017 designs and the Visitor and Education Center became the Arts and Education Center. Fundraising is currently in the quiet phase. The project is expected to cost between $5 and $10 million.
While the plans will have to go through the Village of Oak Park for approval, the center is planned to occupy 25,000 square feet of Trust-owned property located to the east of the Home and Studio at Chicago Avenue and Forest. The updated plans include the incorporation of the two post-Civil War era houses, neither of which were designed by Wright, and the construction of a new building called the Studio Pavilion. More here.
Nestled atop a hill in Southern California, the Ennis House has made more than 80 onscreen appearances according to Architectural Digest.
In the films, the property is used to depict a vampire mansion, a private residence, and an apartment building respectively. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923 and constructed in 1924, the home has made many onscreen appearances throughout its near century-long existence, however, it was the home’s feature in "House on Haunted Hill" in 1959 that brought it into ghoulish acclaim.
“In just a minute, I’ll show you the only really haunted house in the world,” Watson Pritchard, played by Elisha Cook Jr., says in the movie. “Since it was built a century ago, seven people—including my brother—have been murdered in it.” The film’s plot follows five people who are promised $10,000 each if they can spend the whole night in the eerie property, which is “played” by the Ennis House.
“It’s a really modern house, yet it uses ancient forms,” said Michael Wyetzner, architect at Michielli + Wyetzner Architects, in the newest episode of Blueprints, a YouTube series for AD. In the video, Wyetzner breaks down the Ennis House’s role in House on Haunted Hill, as well as the role of five other properties featured in horror films. “It doesn’t have a very domestic scale, it almost looks like it could be a museum or other type of religious building,” he said.
It also helps that the home looks older than it is—in the 1959 film Pritchard says the home was built “a century ago,” despite only being 35 years old at the time. Aside from its deceptive age, the house has two other important qualities that make it the perfect horror home: It sits on a hill (which is not just a nod to the film’s title) and features a deep, high roof. These two qualities have become commonplace in homes used in horror films and were made famous in what Wyetzner calls “the iconic house of horrors”: the Bates’s home in Psycho.
Of course, the Ennis House also makes appearances in non-haunted roles—an animated version was even created for an episode of South Park. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation credits the property’s exoticism to its lasting Hollywood appeal. Additionally, its proximity to Tinseltown, the unique ability to look both ancient and modern, and its grand scale make it a special piece of LA real estate. To read the entire article click here.
Fargo, N.D. City Commission has approved a plan to save a house listed on the National Register of Historic Places. John and Sherri Stern are the owners of the house designed by Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, the granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright. It is in the way of a flood levee. The new approved plan is to build a $1.1 million concrete flood wall on the street side of the house on South River Road. It will be tied into a levee along the Red River behind the house. Other options included a city buyout and demolition of the home or moving it, all more costly than the wall. Work should be completed sometime next year or early 2024. See the photo here.
The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Socrates Zaferiou House, which is a 2,619-square-foot home in Blauvelt, N.Y., was recently listed for $1.525M and there are multiple offers. The single-story Usonian, finished in 1961, offers many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature designs and features, including a flat roof, an L-shaped open floor plan, an oversized masonry fireplace, large window expanses that look out to nature, asymmetrical layouts, wood paneling, and Wright’s trademark red flooring. A two-car carport completes the stylish design. Unlike most other Usonian houses, this one has an extra bedroom and a rare walkout basement. “Zaferiou appealed to Wright for two years to approve his site and expanded home style, and finally, this variation of the more typical Usonian design was eventually approved by Wright,” according to the listing.
Wright visited the site during construction of the home but passed away in 1959 before it was completed. The project architect for the Guggenheim Museum of Art in New York finished the house. Read more and see the photos here.
The Dana-Thomas House Foundation will have a “Bourbon Done Wright” fundraiser from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 14 at Brewski’s Pub in Springfield. The event includes two bourbon tastings with bourbon experts and aficionados, a taco bar, music and a silent auction. Admission is $100 in advance, $120 at the door or $25 for a no-alcohol ticket. Proceeds will benefit the foundation’s efforts to improve the neighborhood surrounding the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. Reservations are required by Nov. 7 here.