TICKET SALES OPEN JANUARY 1, 2023.
Join The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust for the spectacular Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Oak Park, Illinois. Tour the interiors of eight private residences designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporaries. For one day only, homeowners invite guests into their private living spaces, which retain the original exterior features with interiors designed to suit their individual tastes. Guides will be on hand to enhance the tours with details about the history and the beautiful architectural elements that give each home its unique character.
For guests seeking the ultimate all-access invitation, there is the deluxe weekend packages that include the Wright Plus Housewalk. Click here for more information, including rates for the Ultimate Plus Weekend Package and Ultimate Saturday.
A Racine, Wisconsin home, designed by influential architect John Randal McDonald in the 1950s, is on the market for the first time in almost 20 years. The David and Mary Aldrich House, circa 1956, 2721 Delaware Ave., is one of more than two dozen houses in Racine County designed by McDonald.
Some might describe the house as having a Frank Lloyd Wright influence, or the “Prairie Architecture” style, but McDonald called this “American Architecture” — as it is often thought of as the first architectural style unique to the U.S.
According to the realtor who listed the house on behalf of the owner, there has been a lot of regional interest in the house. Shaun Olejniczak, of Cedarburg-based Realty Executives, described the house as having all of the original features, including the tree growing in the two-story atrium. The house has had no updates since it was built and is being sold “as is.”
While McDonald’s designs were initially modest, they later became grand as his reputation grew and those with larger budgets sought his designs. Look at two or three of McDonald’s designs, and the architect’s style comes into sharper focus.
Houses do not have to be square or round, McDonald told the Clearwater Sun in October 1959. He explained the architect should begin with a silhouette, and “should then execute that silhouette in beautiful materials — the rough texture of stone, the grain of wood, or a shaft of sunlight — creating his own sense of shape and form ... (by) abandoning the standardized.”
The preference for a beautiful silhouette and natural materials are on display in the Racine homes, his earliest known work. More here.
One of Frank Lloyd Wright's early works in Oak Park has come on the market and asking $629,900.
According to Wikipedia, The George W. Smith House — which is located at 404 Home Avenue — was constructed in 1898 and occupied by Mr. Smith, a Marshall Field & Company salesman. The home is cast in Shingle style, a variation on Queen Anne, and predates the full maturation of Wright's early Prairie Era architecture. The Smith House's most striking feature is the angled break in the roof line. The home's detailing would probably be more appropriate on a stucco clad house than shingle clad home such as the George Smith House. However, no early photographs exist to determine if the home's exterior was ever altered. The "wall and pier trim" defines a folded plane by continuing around corners. Wright employed this same effect ten years later when he designed the Unity Temple, of which George W. Smith was a member.
The house has been a bit of a shabby mystery for decades and the hope is that new preservation-minded owners will provide some TLC and restore this early Wright work back to its full-glory. See the listing here.
When Frank Lloyd Wright passed away in 1959, he not only left behind one of the greatest architectural legacies of any American designer, but also numerous unfinished projects. In the years after his death, other architects stepped in to oversee the completion of a dozen or so in-progress projects, like the Marin County Civic Center. A handful of projects have even been constructed completely posthumously, like a mausoleum in Buffalo built in 2004. Now, a boathouse in Wisconsin may soon join the list according to Architectural Digest.
Designed in 1893, Wright conceived the Monona Boathouse at just 26 years old. The young architect had just opened his practice in Chicago and was hired to design a structure along the shores of Lake Monona in his home state, Wisconsin. A group of progressive leaders headed by John Olin, the “father of Madison’s park system,” wanted to replace a collection of illegal and unattractive boat houses that had popped up over the years along the lakefront. Wright turned in a design for a circular structure with a conical roof, which would have been built if not for an economic depression in 1894.
Now, nearly 130 years later, this early Wright design may soon become a reality. Last month, an ad hoc committee assembled by the Friends of Nolen Waterfront, an organization shepherding the effort to reshape Madison’s waterfront, gathered to hear design propositions from three firms tasked with re-imagining the area. Representatives from Sasaki, James Corner Field, and Agency Landscape & Planning presented ideas for redeveloping 1.7 miles of shoreline, and, according to The Cap Times, many proposals included Wright’s original boathouse. More here.