Robert Green, Atlanta's Unsung Architect
Atlanta Magazine recently spotlighted former Taliesin Apprentice Robert Green's often overlooked and under-appreciated work in the Atlanta area. The article also details some of the other Wright-connected architects that the city has had over the years. Read more.
So Long, Frank
People are still reflecting on and lamenting the loss of the Lockridge Medical Building, formally of Whitefish, Montana. A recent opinion piece in the Flathead Beacon sums up how some of the locals feel. Read more.
BENCHMARK Announces Wingspread Retreat & Executive Conference Center Open for Collaborative Corporate Meetings
Landmark and architectural masterpiece, "Wingspread", was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a family home for Herbert Fisk Johnson, Jr., third-generation President and Chairman of family-owned Johnson Wax. Completed in 1939, it is one of Wright's largest and most spectacular residential designs and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
Wisconsin's iconic Wingspread Retreat & Executive Conference Center is now available to organizations committed to collaborative meetings with purposeful outcomes. BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, which has managed the property since 1991 on behalf of The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, made the announcement jointly with The Foundation. The historic property, noted for its unique Frank Lloyd Wright architectural design, is located near Lake Michigan in Racine, Wisconsin, just 35 minutes from Milwaukee and 90 minutes from Chicago. Wingspread Retreat & Executive Conference Center is part of the prestigious Benchmark Resorts & Hotels brand portfolio. Read more.
What You Need to Know About Wright's Usonian Homes
Kate Reggev of Dwell gives us "What You Need to Know About Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian Homes." One of Wright's most influential architectural contributions is the Usonian house. Rather than referring to a specific structure, the Usonian house actually refers to a concept—better yet, a manifesto of residential living.
"During the Great Depression, Wright saw the United States on the cusp of change. Middle-class households would lead simpler lives without household help, but would still need good design, where elements like lighting, heating, and sanitation would be carefully addressed and landscape would serve as an inspiration. The homes were to be uniquely American, and it’s possible that even the term Usonian was intended to be a play on "United States of America." Read more.
A Tour of the Butterfly House in Jacksonville, Florida
"The Butterfly House," designed by Taliesin-trained architect Robert Broward, is one of those truly incredible homes that you're instinctively drawn to. Here is a photo tour and interview with new owner of the 1957 "Butterfly House" in Jacksonville, FL. Read more.
A Look At Wright's Unbuilt Frat House
After Ken Treister helped invite Frank Lloyd Wright to a speaking engagement at the University of Florida in 1951, the 20-year-old student summoned the audacity to ask him to design a fraternity house for Zeta Beta Tau. Wright agreed, but on one condition. Architecture students themselves had to help construct it: the foundation digging, bricklaying, window fitting...everything. To Wright’s thinking, that allowed students to learn by doing.
Wright returned to his home in Wisconsin after the Gainesville visit and created blueprints for a fraternity house to be built on a wooded and hilly site on the University of Florida campus. When the fraternity brothers received Wright’s blueprints, Treister said they were duly impressed: “It’s one of the most beautiful things Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed.”
That was one group’s opinion. As Treister and his cohort graduated, the grand plan went awry. The university had a building committee, and the state had a Board of Control, which reviewed the Wright plan and found 22 potential code violations — “issues of non-conformity,” as Treister later put it. The most significant? There was no second fire escape.
Treister remembers Wright writing in response that “any healthy college student can jump off the rear terrace and land safely on his feet.” The 8-foot jump from that terrace was apparently too high a hurdle for by-the-book state officials. Couple it with the student labor and construction cost issue, and the project was doomed.
But what would the Wright-designed ZBT house have looked like? It was long and narrow, with an overhanging roof above the two-tiered front porch. The showers on the second level were open air, and the entire structure was intended to conform to the hillside against which it would be constructed.
For those interested in seeing Wright’s creation today, an architecture professor and her class made it possible, albeit on a smaller scale. Martha Kohen’s students in recent years built a model from Wright’s blueprints, and for a time that model sat in former UF President Bernie Machen’s office. Today, it’s preserved at the University’s Smathers Library in the architecture archives, and Treister this month published a book about this unrealized part of UF history through LibraryPress@UF. It’s available online as a PDF. Read more.
Remembering Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's 'Whirrling Arrow" blog presents a poignant tribute to Taliesin Apprentice and Archives Director, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, who passed away at the end of last year. Read more.
See the Masterful Furniture Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
A pair of shows at the Friedman Benda Gallery in Chelsea, NY, NY highlights furniture designed by architects for lots of reasons—some practical, some artistic, some financial. Mark McDonald, who has been buying and selling important 20th-century design for more than 40 years, has filled the gallery's glass-fronted main space with a greatest hits collection by Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and other masters.
In the basement "project space," independent curator Juan Garcia Mosqueda is showcasing new furniture by nine emerging architecture practices. The furniture in the upstairs show, called "Inside the Walls: Architects Design", was in most cases created by architects for specific projects—houses, restaurants, and hotels—with functionality a key concern. By contrast, the pieces by the young architects were made, generally, the way art is made, as one-offs or in small editions, with collectors in mind. Not surprisingly, the pieces in the downstairs show, called "No-Thing", tend to be conceptual. "Inside the Walls" and "No-Thing" are on view through February 17. Read more.
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