Eric Lloyd Wright, 93, passed away peacefully at home on March 13th, at 8:06pm. Born November 8th, 1929 to Lloyd Wright and Helen (Taggart), Eric was the grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright, the most significant American architect of the 20th Century.
Eric grew up in the landmark West Hollywood home & studio designed by his father. With his brother Rupert 10 years older, the boys explored the open countryside beyond their neighborhood. From an easy walk to the Pacific Electric Railway, they could board its trains taking them across the Los Angeles basin, to the beach, or mountains.
Not initially interested in architecture, Eric began following his father's career path after a summer at his grandfather's farm. Graduating Hollywood High School in 1946, Eric returned to apprentice under his grandfather at Taliesin, Wright’s architecture school & firm in Spring Green, WI and Scottsdale, AZ from 1948 until 1952. Drafted into the Korean War, Eric would serve as a conscientious objector in the medical corps, returning to Taliesin afterward. Eric worked on several of his grandfather’s masterpieces at Taliesin, including the Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY), Monona Terrace (Madison, WI), and the Walker Residence (Carmel, CA).
In 1956, Eric returned to Los Angeles to work in his father’s architectural practice. At this time, Lloyd’s most famous building, Wayfarer’s Chapel (Palos Verdes, CA) was under construction; Eric would later marry Mary McDonnell there in 1962. Earning his architecture license in 1967, Eric would work with Lloyd until his father’s death in 1978, launching his own practice afterward. That practice grew to become Eric Lloyd Wright & Associates Architecture & Planning, on land Lloyd Wright had purchased above Malibu, CA.
According to Alan Hess, author, architect and biographer of Lloyd Wright, “Eric Lloyd Wright’s long career demonstrates the fertile and creative legacy of organic modern architecture in America. Like his father and grandfather, his architecture was never an imitative ‘style’, but a profound exploration of its ongoing possibilities growing from fundamental ideas. Eric understood those principles so well. His active commitment to protecting this legacy, particularly in defending his father’s works, is another tribute to the impact of his life and work.”
Among Eric Lloyd Wright’s buildings of note are the Silver Lake, CA house for his brother Rupert Pole and his companion, writer Anais Nin; the Thatcher Office “Pyramid Building” (Glendale, CA); the Wystrach-Adams Residence (La Crescenta, CA); the Newman Subdivision for the children of film composer Alfred Newman, including the Fred Newman residence, and Maria Newman residence (Malibu, CA); a Limited remodel, skylight canopy, & block additions for Minato Mirai Mid Square The Tower Residence (Yokohama, Japan); and “Santaranta” Residence & Guest House (Heinola, Finland).
Eric’s extensive career also included a wide range of restoration work on Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, including his patented “textile block” houses, and Lloyd Wright buildings in the Los Angeles area. One of Eric’s largest-scale restoration projects was of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Auldbrass Plantation” (Yemassee, SC) with Wright aficionado and film producer Joel Silver, who had also engaged Eric in the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Storer House (Hollywood, CA).
Eric was a dedicated advocate for his family’s legacy of organic architecture. Gentle of spirit, and generous with his time and knowledge, he was much sought after as a lecturer and expert on the subject. He served on several Wright-related organization's boards, and founded his own Wright Organic Resource Center in Malibu, CA, which sponsored annual hands-on organic architecture workshops to promote the importance of ecological sustainability in architecture. Eric also arranged and conducted study-tours for UCLA Extension students & architecture tour groups to experience buildings by the three generations of Wrights, and other exponents of organic architecture like John Lautner.
Eric is survived by his wife Mary McDonnell Wright and their two sons; Devon Wright (wife Tree Leyburn Wright and their daughter Rhiannon Wright) of Oak View, CA; and Cory Wright (partner Kay Peterson) of Oakland, CA.
A memorial service will be planned later.
Learn more about Eric Lloyd Wright life and work here. The Organic Architecture + Design Archives (who provided the obituary and image of Eric) published a monograph of Eric's work a few years ago that is available here.
Pat Evans, Registrar at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, is the caretaker of the Collections at both Taliesin and Taliesin West, a selection of which are on display throughout both sites. The Garden Room here at Taliesin West is filled with artworks collected by the Wrights, gifts from their friends, and artworks by members of the Fellowship. Among those is a folding screen by Eugene (Gene) Masselink (1910-1962), a talented young artist who joined the Fellowship in 1933 after graduating from Ohio State University. Gene had invited Wright to speak at the university, and Wright apparently had quickly recognized his abilities when they met. Although he had no secretarial skills, upon his arrival Wright quickly appointed him his secretary, a position he held until Wright’s death in 1959.
When not at his typewriter, Masselink drew, sketched, and painted. Inspired by Wright’s emphasis on looking to nature, he experimented and his early painterly style evolved into more abstract nature studies using architectural tools — T-square, compass, and triangle.
Masselink’s five-panel folding screen in the Garden Room is an abstract pattern of rock lichen painted on plywood. This screen has been continuously in the Garden Room since the 1950s and the accumulated effects of exposure, deposition of surface grime and staining from water damage needed to be addressed. The recent photography exhibition “Sacred Spaces: Frank Lloyd Wright x Andrew Pielage” provided the opportunity to have this work done when it was removed to accommodate several of the photographs. Long-time conservator and former Board Chair, T.K. McClintock, generously undertook this work to address the water damage that over time had caused vertical streaks throughout and tidemarks at the bottom of the screen. Read the entire article here.
Across the globe, architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe have reimagined the gas station from something you drive through to something you drive to—filling stations and rest stops go from purely utilitarian to profoundly magnificent. Architectural Digest surveys the 14 best-designed gas stations around the world that are worth a road trip in and of themselves.
From a Frank Lloyd Wright–designed station in Minnesota to a green energy stop in California, these structures prove gas stations can be worth a road trip themselves. Click here to see the list.
Thirty miles north of downtown Chicago sits the small suburb of Riverwoods, a bucolic enclave on the banks of the Des Plaines River that is known for its notable examples of mid-century modern architecture. Edward Humrich, one of many architects living and working in affluent postwar suburbia, was responsible for more than 40 homes in Riverwoods. His work is sometimes called “Prairie Modern” in its relation to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School and later Usonian designs that harmonized with nature. As noted by architectural historian Susan S. Benjamin, Humrich’s wood, brick, and glass houses follow the “Wrightian idiom:” long and low designs, featuring broad overhangs with exterior and interior spaces flowing into one another. And like Wright, Humrich designed furniture for his homes, usually made of natural wood and simple lines. This past month, two Humrich-designed residences originally built in the 1950s went on the market. Although not lavish architect-designed buildings, three other residences from the same time period and sharing the same modernist design sensibilities also hit the market. Check them out here.
Don't forget to sign-up to attend the closing event for John Lautner’s Pearlman Cabin & Walstrom Residence exhibition at Architekton in Tempe, Arizona — a collaboration between The Organic Architecture + Design Archives, The School of Architecture (TSOA), and the John Lautner Foundation.
Please join the festivities at Architekton from 5-7PM for a reception and speaking event. This exhibition, featuring two unique residential works by Lautner, a renowned American architect and early apprentice of the Taliesin Fellowship, first opened to the public at TSOA’s Arcosanti campus in the Fall of 2022, and has been re-located and re-organized by TSOA students at the offices of Architekton in Tempe, Arizona.
The closing event on March 31, 2023, will reflect on the two projects, the two exhibitions, the creative process, and future potentials of future exhibitions as the collection of materials continue to travel and grow.
Closing event speakers will include:
• Christopher Carr, Architect, John Lautner Foundation, OA+D Archives
• A. Louis Wiehle, Architect, Wiehle-Carr Architects
• Stephanie Lin, Dean, The School of Architecture
• Christopher Dela Pole & Romina Frohar, Students, The School of Architecture
• Eddie Jones, Architect, Jones Studio
• John Kane, Architect, Architekton
• Alan Hess, Educator, Historian and Author
Please RSVP HERE or for more information on the exhibition click HERE.
If you cannot attend but would like to support exciting and meaningful educational outreach and public engagements like this, the please consider a tax-deductible donation to help support these exhibition efforts HERE. Be sure to add "EXHIBITION" to the notes to let them know of your support!