After 50 years of restoring and preserving Unity Temple, hosting artistic and educational public programming, and welcoming tourists from around the world, the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation (UTRF) Board of Directors has made the decision to sunset the organization, with operations ceasing as of October 31.
The decision to dissolve UTRF took many months of thought, analysis, and discussion, and is ultimately in concert with ongoing discussions to restructure the management and maintenance of Unity Temple.
Since 1973, thousands of dedicated people have contributed time, expertise, financial support, and leadership to UTRF, including donors, volunteers, staff, and grantors. UTRF would like to express sincere appreciation for all of its supporters over the past 50 years, in particular, those who were instrumental in funding and leading the recent restoration efforts. With the partnership of Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, generous donors, and restoration professionals, Unity Temple has been restored in the same (if not better) condition that Frank Lloyd Wright had intended. With the completion of this monumental project, the primary mission of UTRF has been successfully accomplished.
Since the restoration, UTRF staff and board worked diligently to broaden awareness of Unity Temple’s importance as a National Historic Landmark, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a prime example of sustainable historic restoration and building stewardship. UTRF leadership fostered collaborations with public Wright sites and other organizations locally and around the country, building support for all of Wright’s work, with an emphasis on his seminal masterpiece and most important contribution to modern architecture - Unity Temple.
Unity Temple tours and congregational services will continue on their regular schedules.
Indiana Landmarks announced Wednesday that Samara, a house designed by Wright in the early 1950s for Purdue University professor John Christian, won a 2023 Modernism in America Award for its recent $2 million restoration.
The Docomomo’s Modernism in America Awards for a decade have recognized preservation projects and advocacy work within projects showcasing modern design.
Its jury of architects, educators, landscape architects and scholars recognized Samara as an example of deep commitment to architectural heritage, according to Indiana Landmarks.
“On behalf of the entire restoration team, we’re honored to receive this recognition, and eager to share this remarkable property with visitors from around the world,” Indiana Landmarks President Marsh Davis said in a news release.
Indiana Landmarks co-stewards Samara with the John E. Christian Family Memorial Trust, Inc. which, along with other private donors and a $500,000 National Park Service grant, funded restoration of the house.
Work included structural and mechanical repair and refreshed finishes. The house was originally constructed in 1956 and is today one of seven Wright homes in Indiana open to public tours.
Tickets for public tours can be purchased online at samara-house.org.
Tea Forté introduces the Frank Lloyd Wright Collection—a unique collaboration with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, rooted in tradition and celebrating creativity. Enjoy a delicious palate of flavors, from robust classics to spiced warming blends that inspire connections to nature, beauty, and each other. The collection also features custom-designed stoneware cups and tea trays. A portion of proceeds from the Collection help support the Foundation's mission to inspire people to discover and embrace architecture for better living. In the words of Frank Lloyd Wright, "to make life more beautiful, the world a better one for living in, and to give reason, rhyme, and meaning to life."
A portion of the purchase price supports the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's work to advance the legacy of America's greatest architect, including educational programs, scholarship, and the preservation of Taliesin and Taliesin West for future generations.
In his last year of college, a young man wrote a letter to a renowned architect.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s secretary eventually wrote back. Sanford Goldman, a St. Petersburg native, had to come in person for an interview at Taliesin West, Wright’s winter home near Scottsdale, Arizona.
“I met Frank Lloyd Wright in his office, introducing myself, and proceeded to show him my best college drawings I’d schlepped along in the Thunderbird,” Goldman wrote in a family memoir. “… When he said my school work wasn’t very good, my heart sank. I thought that was the end. But in the next breath he said that once I was at Taliesin, I’d learn about architecture.”
Goldman did, and he survived almost getting kicked out of the apprenticeship program by Wright’s wife for not quite fitting in. That maybe wasn’t such a bad thing.
Goldman built his career around function. He “took the best of Frank Lloyd Wright, not the eccentricities,” said former St. Petersburg Times art critic Charles Benbow in a 1993 Tampa Tribune article. “Then he adopted his work to the needs of this area. His houses are very energy efficient and blend in with nature. He built houses for a Floridian to live in Florida.”
Goldman, who spent his career in St. Petersburg and Brooksville, died Aug. 29 at 88 of natural causes.
“The distinctive Goldman style of architecture reflects his years of study with Frank Lloyd Wright, his preference for combining the warmth of wood with the substantial feel of concrete block and his concept of a house as a piece of walk-through sculpture,” read a 1970 St. Petersburg Times article on the Juanita Way “treehouse” Goldman designed, built and lived in with his wife, Anne, and their children, Shane, Edward and Summer.
Goldman’s existing work includes the Hernando County Government Center, the Ransom Art Center at Eckerd College and schools and homes across Sarasota, Pinellas and Hernando counties. He and his family also lived on a farm in Brooksville before returning to St. Petersburg.
Wife Anne Goldman, a journalist, died in 2003. Goldman married family psychologist Mary Davenport in 2010. The architect was funny, humble and easygoing, she said, but always aware of the world around him.
“He always looked at things in a critical way to figure out a better way to do something,” said Davenport.
And it wasn’t just buildings.
In 1968, Goldman was one of the original members of the Community Alliance, a group formed to address racism in the city. His work included low-income housing, which Goldman believed should be seen, like all homes, as places of pride. In 1974, he was given the key to St. Petersburg for his environmental planning work. In 2018, the city honored him for lifetime achievement in architecture and service.
In a tribute from St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, Goldman is remembered as “a brave man who was the first to do many things in the areas of social justice, planning and development and the environment, leaving a legacy that will touch the hearts and lives of others for generations to come.”
In 1916, preparing to travel to Japan to oversee construction of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, architect Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to build a family home for Milwaukee businessman Frederick C. Bogk and his wife Mary. The spacious home, completed in 1917, differs from the Prairie style design of his earlier years, featuring an open plan, multi-level living space on the main floor with bedrooms and a sitting area on the second floor. 107 years later, the Frederick C. Bogk House remains the sole Wright-designed single-family home in Milwaukee and a jewel of the city’s lakeside North Point neighborhood.
Since 1955, the home has been lovingly cared for by the Elsner family, and today, it is on the market for only the second time in its history, listed by Christie’s International Real Estate. And in an exclusive collaboration, Christie’s auction house is also offering for sale a collection of several original Wright-designed furniture pieces from the home, including rare masterworks from 1917 alongside late period works by Wright and his followers.
The stately 6,712 square foot, five-bedroom, 3.5-bath home is a pristine example of Wright’s work from his early period, built to offer privacy as well as welcome in ample natural light. The house retains many original decorative elements including leaded glass windows, recessed lighting, built-in cabinetry, and a central fireplace, Illustrating the creative genius of Frank Lloyd Wright.
On the first floor, the living room is set in the front of the house, featuring a tiled fountain, while the kitchen and dining room are situated in the rear. The upper level includes five bedrooms. The home is a rare instance of a Frank Lloyd Wright house with a spacious attic, which was a request from Mrs. Bogk so she could do her laundry indoors. Also atypical of Wright’s designs of this period, the home includes an attached one-car garage.
The home, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is accented with numerous built-in features which are designated historic easements and must be preserved into perpetuity. The street side of the home features large windows that keep the home filled with natural light. This light reveals different design details depending on the time of day, according to Barbara Elsner, the current owner.
Wright himself vouched for the home in correspondence with the Elsner family soon after they moved in, declaring the home to be “a good house of a good period for a good client.”
“The Bogk home is without rival in Milwaukee. It’s one of Wright’s architectural masterpieces; it’s a part of history as well as a work of art, set in a beautiful neighborhood just blocks from the lake,” says Melissa LeGrand of @properties elleven Christie’s International Real Estate, exclusive listing agent for the property. “We are hoping to find the perfect buyer, someone who loves and appreciates Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, to carry on the legacy of this incredibly special home.”
When Barbara Elsner and her late husband Robert bought the home from the Bogks, they were determined to keep it as close to Wright’s original vision as possible. Seeking landscaping advice, they wrote to Wright inquiring about his original plans for the grounds. He responded, but rather than offering an opinion on the exterior, Wright gave them information on furniture they could purchase that would match the home. The Elsners followed his advice, acquiring several pieces of original Wright-designed Heritage Henredon furniture that has been carefully maintained through the years.
The Elsners also tracked down the Bogks’ daughter in Florida, and after corresponding over two decades, they were eventually able to buy back the original dining room table, drop-leaf game table and library desk, all dating from 1917, along with eight original dining room chairs and two side chairs. When it came time to replace the carpet, the Elsners recreated the original designs, further restoring the interior to its intended beauty. To finalize the scheme, the Elsner’s commissioned the Taliesin Architects, the heirs to Wright’s architectural practice, to produce original furniture for the Bogk house, adding a new chapter to the storied history of the home.
“This furniture collection is truly one of a kind. The pieces, including some original to the home, and others designed in the 1950s and 1960s, are effectively a timeline of Wright’s work and his influence on the built environment. Our hope is that whoever purchases the Bogk House will choose to keep the pieces with the home, to honor Wright’s vision,” said Michael Jefferson, senior vice president at Christie’s, who is handling the sale of the collection.
The Frederick C. Bogk House is offered for $1,500,000, exclusively represented by Christie’s International Real Estate. The furniture collection is being offered for an additional price in the range of $900,000 through Christie’s auction house. The option to purchase the collection with the house will be viable until mid-October, when the pieces will be removed to be sold separately at auction.