Fragments of buildings by American architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan have been displayed at a new exhibition in Chicago, IL by US design studio Norman Kelley. A variety of fragments from iconic buildings are on display at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of a permanent exhibition called Architectural Fragments from Chicago.
Norman Kelley mounted multiple pieces of demolished or renovated Chicagoan buildings onto square grey panels measuring eight feet by eight feet (2.4 metres by 2.4 metres) with stainless steel, mirrored trim in the museum's Henry Crown Gallery. The exhibition includes approximately 27 architectural fragments and three lightboxes. The pieces displayed are sourced from local, architecturally significant buildings in order to illustrate and preserve Chicago's built history. Among the pieces are an ornate circular ventilator grille and entrance door from Frank Lloyd Wright's four-story Francis Apartments, built in 1895 and demolished in 1971.Both fragments display Wright's early use of organic forms, informed by his mentor Louis Sullivan. Architectural Fragments from Chicago is on show at the Art Institute of Chicago permanently.
Frank Lloyd Wright is America’s most celebrated architect, and he created wondrous works throughout the country. However, he only designed one synagogue: Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
Beth Sholom Synagogue sits in a residential area about nine miles north of Center City Philadelphia in the Montgomery County suburb of Elkins Park. The Beth Sholom Congregation that it serves was established in the city in 1919 but moved out to the suburbs in the 1950s to support the Jewish community in that area.
Rabbi Mortimer J. Cohen, who led the congregation, had a dream of creating a grand American synagogue and felt that only Frank Lloyd Wright could help him achieve his vision. And, despite Wright having turned down many similar projects in the past, he was impressed by Cohen’s words and vision and decided to design this impressive structure.
Inside the main sanctuary at Frank Lloyd Wright's Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park PA
Beth Sholom Synagogue is beautiful both inside and out.
Over the course of six years, Wright worked with Cohen to create a building that was both profoundly a Wright design, as well as profoundly in line with Cohen’s vision and filled with Jewish symbolism. Despite budget and building issues, the structure was completed in September 1959, shortly after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Today, the Beth Sholom Synagogue is one of Wright’s finest works and the only intact example of his work in the Philadelphia area.
Visitors wanting to explore this still active synagogue can take the public tours that are offered every Sunday throughout the year. Unlike many of the other Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in PA, photos are allowed on the tour and children are welcome.
Tours of Beth Sholom Synagogue are approximately one hour long and take you through a portion of the building including a small museum, the main sanctuary, and a smaller chapel.
After a brief introduction to the building, tours begin with a quick stop in the museum and a viewing of a 20-minute film about the building of the structure. As you walk through the synagogue, docents do an excellent job pointing out some of the smaller and larger details in the construction that make this building incredibly unique and unquestionably Jewish in design. It’s really amazing how much thought Wright put into creating a unique American synagogue.
The most impressive spot within Beth Sholom Synagogue is the main sanctuary. This space is awe-inspiring thanks to the towering pyramid of glass that stretches 110 feet over the 1,020 seats within the sanctuary. Lit up at night, this pyramid is designed to evoke the image of Mount Sanai, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments. Above the seats, there is a large and colorful chandelier that is strikingly beautiful to gaze upon and is filled with symbolism that is quite fascinating to learn about.
After the tour is finished, visitors are allowed to reenter the museum to spend time looking over some of the preserved artifacts and signage, as well as visit the gift shop.
Once back outside the synagogue, make sure to take the time to walk around to the front of the building to see this incredible place from outside.
Views from afar will give you a sense of the grandeur of the building while closer inspection will let you see some of the exterior details including the beautiful entry doors and the spot where Wright “signed” the structure.
On Sunday, September 24th, from noon to 4 pm, enjoy the colors of the harvest season while roaming the landscape and basking in the beauty of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 800-acre Wisconsin homestead at this family-oriented event!
Discover the seamless blend of architecture and nature on a self-guided tour of the grounds, or participate in various immersive and educational add-on activities. Create the Taliesin experience you’ve always envisioned. Space is limited, so register today!
Your day will start at the Wright-designed Visitor Center at 5607 County Road C, Spring Green, Wisconsin. At check-in, you’ll receive a parking pass, map, and wristband. After checking in, you will drive to Hillside Studio and Theatre to begin your day. From there, feel free to explore the inside of the Hillside Studio as well as the exterior grounds of other buildings along the pathways of the estate. For your enjoyment, there will be local vendors, food from Chef’s Hideout, children’s activities, and music from the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Please note that the Taliesin residence will not be accessible during this event. However, if you would like to see the residence, please sign up for one of the regularly scheduled guided tours. Restricted areas will be marked with signage and noted on the map.