These 12 Frank Lloyd Wright Designs Have Never Been Sold—Until Now
Architectural Digest informs us that on December 9th, Frank Lloyd Wright fans will get the opportunity to bid on rare drawings and furniture through a special auction at Christie’s.
Listed through Christie’s, the collection is being sold by the Steelcase Corporation, an American furniture manufacturer with a unique tie to the famed American architect.
In the mid-1930s, Wright was working on his seminal corporate design, S.C. Johnson’s Johnson Wax Headquarters, when “Steelcase was approached by Wright to manufacture furniture for [the building],” Michael Jefferson, a senior vice president at Christie’s and international senior specialist in 20th century design, tells AD. Later, in the mid-’80s, the manufacturer bought the Meyer May House—a Wright-designed home in Grand Rapids, Michigan— restored the property, and opened the home to the public for tours.
The pieces included in December’s auction primarily span these two projects and include the executive desk master and executive arm chair master from the S.C. Johnson project and windows from the Meyer house. Also up for auction are original drawings done by Wright when he was designing furniture for both projects, including schematics for an officer’s chair from the S.C. Johnson building and the sofa and living room table from the Meyer house. More here.
Frank Lloyd Wright Hated Garages And This Is Why
The Robie House of Chicago, Illinois was an early commission of Frank Lloyd Wright’s and, because Fredrick C. Robie was an engineer and assistant manager at the Excelsior Supply Company, a bicycle company delving into the growing world of automobile manufacturing, the new house had a three-car garage. In 1909, the year the house was completed, the Robie House became one of the first American homes to incorporate a garage into the design, according to Forbes.
Frank Lloyd Wright did not like garages, despite the fact that he added an enclosed garage space with fuel pumps to his own home. They promote clutter, he said. They promoted clutter, he said. Instead of serving as a tidy place to put the car when not in use, the garage became the handy place to put tools, children’s outdoor toys, off-season furnishings and decorations, gardening supplies, snow shovels, leftover wallpaper and everything else big, bulky or outdoors-oriented. As Wright’s career progressed, he worked to turn his clients away from garages and towards simpler spaces less inviting to clutter.
“A car is not a horse, and it doesn’t need a barn,” he told his client, the commissioner of the Usonian Jacobs House. “Cars are built well enough now so that they do not require elaborate shelter.”
Instead he designed what Wright dubbed the “carport,” a minimalist automotive shelter. As his designs evolved, so did his use of the carport. On one of his most famous works, Fallingwater, there is a four-car carport adjacent to the guest house. Edgar Kaufmann, the original owner of Fallingwater, wanted an enclosed garage, but Wright protested — saying an enclosed space would only inspire clutter.
The numbers bear out Wright’s theory: 36% of Americans surveyed say their garage is so cluttered that they can no longer park vehicles inside. Over 3 in 5 (62%) U.S. adults surveyed feel their garage is the most cluttered space in their home. 90% of Americans surveyed believe that a well-organized garage can make a small garage appear larger; yet more than half (52%) of Americans with garages are unsatisfied with how their garage is organized. Read the entire article here.
Join The Sarasota Tour Of Modernist Architecture
For a Sarasota tour of modernist architecture, look no further than the Sarasota MOD Weekend in Florida – first launched in 2014, and gaining momentum after bringing two formerly separate local architecture organisations under one umbrella: Architecture Sarasota. The festival, which this year ran from 11 to 13 November 2022, is the younger sibling of the Palm Springs Modernism Week, an established celebration of local midcentury modern architecture, attended by a passionate community who live and breathe it, and a global flock of modern-o-philes.
Like Palm Springs, Sarasota is a honeypot of exemplary midcentury buildings, though the houses are often a little more hidden thanks to the tropical foliage. The city also has its own unique local architecture movement, the Sarasota School of Architecture, active in the 1950s and 1960s and characterised by its fusing of modernist ideas with experimental, climate-responsive design; combining a Bauhaus approach to industrial materials, Frank Lloyd Wright’s interest in site specificity, and the influence of Southern American and tropical vernacular.
Highlights of the ninth Sarasota MOD Weekend included Paul Rudolph and Ralph Twitchell’s experimental Cocoon house and Rudolph’s later Sarasota High School with its chunky shading system. Morris Hylton, freshly announced upcoming president of Architecture Sarasota, was involved in an initiative to save another such project, Rudolph's Riverview High School, also in Sarasota, which was sadly later demolished ; while working in a previous role at the World Monuments Fund, he designated the very first Modernism At Risk grant to its successful preservation campaign. Architecture Sarasota continues this passionate work, and is also involved in listing, purchasing and renting properties (such as Cocoon house) so they can remain protected, maintained and open to the public.
Launched with this year's Architecture Sarasota MOD Weekend, the exhibition, ‘Tropical Modernism: Climate and Design’, at Architecture Sarasota at the McCullough Pavilion, runs 17 November 2022 – 25 February 2023. To see some of the tour's offerings, click here.
Chris Martin Tore Down His John Lautner-Designed Malibu House
It’s been a long time coming, but Chris Martin has finally followed through on plans to demolish the very first of his multiple Malibu homes. The Coldplay frontman completely leveled almost the entire Point Dume estate, though it appears he found a way to spare much of the property’s forest-like collection of mature trees — for now. But the house itself, once jointly occupied by Gwyneth Paltrow and Martin, is long gone.
That bygone residence had an interesting architectural history. Built in the early 1970s, the 3,650-square-foot structure was designed by acclaimed avant-garde architect John Lautner, a onetime Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice who also designed several other homes that are now California Historic Landmarks. Known as the Garwood Residence, the Point Dume house was remodeled in the late ’70s, reportedly without Lautner’s input or approval. Portions of the home were again renovated in the ’90s by a local developer, leaving the place an interesting hodge-podge of somewhat divergent styles and tastes. Martin acquired the estate in 2014, paying $14 million, and enlisted designer Windsor Smith to redecorate the interiors.
Over the years, opinions on the Garwood Residence’s architectural merits have varied. In 2012, Curbed snarked about the house as follows: “There are several downright mindblowing John Lautner-designed houses in Malibu. This is not one of them,” while also noting the blame lay mostly with some “weird remodeling and staging.” But the home’s former listing agent disagreed, saying “the Garwood Residence … is akin to a precious diamond,” and is “a rare, architecturally unique [property] in a breathtaking setting.”
Martin first announced his intention to raze that precious diamond way back in 2019. Early that year, the English crooner filed an application for demolition; the permit was approved following a public city hearing. The permit revealed Martin plans to replace the Garwood Residence with a 5,489-square-foot, all-new structure. The replacement building will stand two stories tall and include a new tennis court, swimming pool and an outdoor amphitheater. There will also be a detached garage building, a 900-square-foot guesthouse/studio, an open-air carport and outdoor stairs leading from the backyard to a woodsy pathway with direct access to Little Dume Beach. Click here to see photos of the Garwood Residence both pre- and post-demolition.
Photo: 2014, Stephanie Smith | Signature Properties
Goff Fest Offers Fresh Perspectives On Architect's Work
The life and work of Bruce Goff, one of the most distinctive American architects of the 20th century, is the focus of the second annual Goff Fest, taking place Dec. 1-4 at various locations throughout Tulsa.
The event, organized by the Goff Center of the Continuous Present with support from the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, is designed to help bring greater awareness of, and appreciation for, Goff’s uniquely organic, and highly individualistic, architectural vision.
Goff Fest 2022 will focus on interiority, with more opportunities to see inside many of Bruce Goff’s structures in Tulsa and the surrounding region, and focusing on the personal narratives of those who live, work and play in Goff-designed buildings. This ties in with the release of “Little Goff on the Prairie,” a podcast produced by Goff Fest co-organizers Britni Harris and Karl Jones, featuring conversations with Goff building owners, tenants and employees.
In addition, this festival will include an expanded version of the digital map created for last year’s event, which will include all Goff buildings in Oklahoma with additional digital and audio media for each building.
Goff, who was largely self-taught, took some inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan to develop a unique style of architecture — inventive, organic, often eccentric and ever-changing, a reflection of his philosophy of “the continuous present,” the idea that a work of art has no beginning or end but provides a completely new experience each time it is encountered.
Goff taught at the University of Oklahoma from 1942 until 1955. He moved to Bartlesville, where he lived and worked in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Price Tower for several years. His last major project was to design the Pavilion for Japanese Art — one of Goff’s many inspirations — for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Goff died in 1982.
A variety of events are scheduled for the four days of Goff Fest 2022, including a showing of Britni Harris’ film “Goff,” performances of music Goff composed at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, an exhibit titled “Bruce Goff: The Art of the Continuous Present,” and a “Goff Ball,” a Beaux Artes-inspired gala, complete with an architecture-inspired costume contest. More here.
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