The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's SAVEWRIGHT: Notable Women Homeowner Project was recently launched on the FLWBC's website.
The Project tells the stories of the remarkable women who have stewarded Wright’s houses and traverses the years from the early 20th century to the present, creating a wonderful interconnectedness of women’s history and architecture.
This Project was an initiative of the FLWBC's Homeowner Committee, which has been developing the concept since January 2023. The Project will continue with more stories and videos coming later this summer, as well as a panel of four Notable Women Homeowners presenting at the Annual Conference in Minneapolis later this year.
Applications are now being accepted for the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s John G. Thorpe Young Professionals and Students Fellowship. The Thorpe Fellowship was established in 2016 to honor John Garrett Thorpe, prominent restoration architect and longtime Conservancy board member. Young professionals and graduate students in architecture or historic preservation are eligible to apply for a fellowship. Recipients receive one regular general conference registration to attend the Conservancy’s annual conference, where they can deepen their understanding of Wright’s work through presentations and by directly experiencing Wright’s architecture. They also receive a one-year Conservancy membership. The Conservancy also hosts virtual events exclusively for past Thorpe Fellows to provide additional educational and networking opportunities.
Young professionals (in the first five years of their careers in architecture or historic preservation) and graduate students in architecture or historic preservation (enrolled full-time or part-time at the time of application) are eligible to apply for a fellowship. Fellows will receive one regular general conference registration to attend the Conservancy’s annual conference and a one-year Conservancy membership.
The 2023 annual conference, Colleagues & Clients: Women’s Roles in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architecture, will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from September 27 through October 1. Applications for Thorpe Fellowships will be accepted through Monday, July 24.
Last week, the Sarasota Performing Arts Foundation announced Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) as the designer of the Performing Arts Center at The Bay. RPBW was chosen for the job after a comprehensive solicitation process that started last October, with 43 firms submitting qualifications to be considered for the project.
The forthcoming performing arts center in Sarasota will be built on the campus of the new Bay Park, which is situated on the site of a parking lot used by the existing Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The Van Wezel is recognizable for its bright pink exterior and its marine- and nautical-inspired forms. The building was the vision of Frank Lloyd Wright’s stepson-in-law and protégé William Wesley Peters of Taliesin Associated Architects, a now defunct firm founded by Wright. A new performing arts center was proposed for the site given the threat of sea level rise to the Van Wezel, and its state of disrepair.
With the location of the new center also in close proximity to Sarasota Bay, it will be designed with flood resiliency in mind and raised out of the flood zone. In addition to updated stage and performing arts technology, the new facility will house a 2,100-seat main theater, a 300-seat flexible performance space, and 165,000 square feet that could be used for educational programming and hosting events.
As for what happens to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center still remains to be seen. The city, which owns the facility, has looked into continuing its usefor performances. Members of the Van Wezel Foundation worked with Sarasota city officials on plans for the new performance center in light of a campaign by the Van Wezel grandchildren to keep the existing facility operating.
Only the second independent commission for Lloyd Wright, the Bollman House is an accomplished synthesis of the various lessons he’d absorbed in his work experiences up till that point, from apprenticing in his father’s studio, to a position with the renowned Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm, to a three-year stretch in the San Diego office of early Modernist Irving Gill, to a stint as the head of the design and drafting department at Paramount Studios. Wright added his own innovation, the “knit-block” construction system, in which hollow-core cast concrete blocks were tied together with vertical and horizontal steel rods. This method would subsequently be adopted for his father’s Freeman, Ennis, and Storer residences.
Located in the Sunset Square HPOZ, the house was constructed in 1923 for and with Henry Bollman, a young contractor/builder who had worked for Lloyd Wright on a number of projects. Bollman would only inhabit the house for a few years before relocating to Honolulu; the home subsequently passed through the hands of a number of owners, including a young socialite, a big band singer, a middle-school teacher, and the owner of a company that manufactured firehoses and extinguishers.
In the early ’80s, it was purchased by interior designer Mimi London, who expanded and redesigned the kitchen and remodeled the bathrooms. According to a 1996 cover feature in Architectural Digest, London also coated the home’s concrete and plaster interior in gold paint, as pure an illustration of peak ’90s and of the phrase “gilding the lily” as you could ever hope to find. Subsequent owners did not dig the gold, and brought the interiors back to how they had appeared prior to London’s residency.
Otherwise in mostly original condition, the Bollman House contains four bedrooms and two bathrooms within its 2,518 square feet. Notable attributes include a double-sided fireplace, detailed moldings, hardwood and concrete floors, French doors and casement windows, and a private balcony patio. The 8,102-square-foot property’s grounds also feature original landscape design and plantings by Lloyd Wright. As a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, the pedigreed property also benefits from significant Mills Act tax savings.
Last sold in 2014 for $1.9 million, it’s now asking $3.2 million. Nate Cole of Modern California House and Dalton Gomez of Christie’s International Real Estate share the listing.
The Dana-Thomas House Foundation will have a "Jazz in Bloom" garden party fundraiser from 6 to 9 p.m. June 24 at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house and courtyard in Springfield, IL.
The event will feature music by Angel Brown's Smooth and Blue Band, food, beverages and an auction.
Tickets are $65 each and reservations are requested by June 17. They may be made online at Dana-Thomas.org/special-events.
Emeritus Professor of the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, passed away in Florida near his immediate family on May 26, 2023. He was 87. In 2006, he received the Landmarks Illinois Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his contributions to historic preservation and education. In the 1980s, he served as staff Restoration Architect of Frank Lloyd Wright's Home and Studio (Frank Lloyd Wright Trust), Oak Park, which earned the American Institute of Architects' Merit Award in 1987. After his leave of absence, he returned to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he proposed a new curriculum that combined preservation theory and practical experience. In 1993, the School adopted Kalec's plan for a Master of Science in Historic Preservation. Since its inception, hundreds of students have been trained. He also taught in the Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects Department. Kalec was born June 18, 1935, received his BA, Auburn University, Alabama, 1959, and his BArch from the University of Florida, Gainesville, 1963. His life-changing opportunity came as an apprentice, 1965-69, with the Taliesin Fellowship, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, at two locations: Taliesin, Wisconsin and Taliesin West, Arizona. Wright had died six years before, but his architectural firm was still practicing with many of the original apprentices. This education in Wright's principles was the foundation of Kalec's expertise in Prairie School houses and furniture. His essays appeared in journals and exhibition catalogs. As a volunteer in the 2000s, he sat on numerous preservation committees. He was a masterful architectural photographer, creating 100,000 images. These and his collected papers form the Donald G. Kalec Collection of the Organic Architecture and Design Archives.