A Quick Look: Wright Plus 2018
Each year the Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk features a different selection of privately owned architecturally significant houses in the Oak Park area, which has more Frank Lloyd Wright homes than anywhere in the world. Watch this Frank Lloyd Wright Trust video for a quick overview of the homes on this year's tour, including the Rollin Furbeck House (1897); Charles E. Roberts House, a Burnham and Root house that Wright remodeled in 1896; the Peter A. Beachy House (1906); and the Charles E. Roberts Stable, which Wright designed in 1900 and Charles E. White converted into a home in 1929. Tour these houses and more on Wright Plus 2018. The sooner you buy, the more you save. Ticket prices increase on March 1. See more here.
Register Now for Out And About Wright: Modernism in Central Iowa
Mason City, Iowa's trove of Prairie architecture gets a lot of attention in the Wright community, but the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s Out and About Wright tour in Iowa, May 4-6, 2018, will focus on Wright’s seldom-seen Usonians and a number of modern architectural treasures in the state’s central and south-central regions. The work of prominent local architects will be seen alongside Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony, John H. Howe, Louis Sullivan, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Mies van der Rohe and more. Read about it here.
The Fight to Protect Historic Places Never Ends
The Chicago Tribune recently ran a letter by Barbara Gordon, the executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.
She reminds us that "the demolition of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Lockridge Medical Clinic building in Whitefish, MT, earlier this month is a harsh reminder that preservation ultimately happens at the local level. Anyone who cares about the preservation of historic buildings, whether designed by Wright or otherwise, has the power to make a difference.
Illinois, and the Chicago area in particular, has the most Wright-designed buildings, remaining at more than 100. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy has had to intervene on many occasions to prevent Wright buildings in Illinois from meeting the same fate as the one in Montana. Our mission to preserve Wright’s work is not over, and it never will be." Read more.
No Small Dreams
Peter Yankala, owner of Phillip’s Men’s Wear in Barrington, IL, devotes much of his free time to sharing a passion and knowledge of Chicago architecture with visitors from around the world. Having applied to the Art Institute of Chicago for architectural design and summarily turned down, in 2010, Yankala made a bold move to go back to the dream he had all those years ago.
“I wasn’t going back to school for an architectural degree, but knew I wanted to share the years of observations I have made of Chicago architecture,” he says, explaining how he began volunteering for Open House Chicago in 2010.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) program allows for historic landmark skyscrapers and building lobbies not usually accessible to the public to be open for tours one weekend in October. “This position gave me a chance to view, review, and interpret many of Chicago’s great architectural structures, including the Rookery — a Burnham and Root design-build project, completed in 1888,” he says. “It was once the tallest building in the city at 12 stories and served as offices for many Chicago School architects. Knowing that my favorite architect, Frank Lloyd Wright—the youngest and most gifted of the Chicago School—had an office on the 11th floor certainly heightened my interest. In 1905 Wright was commissioned to remodel the building’s majestic lobby. He would go on to be the most influential and prolific architect of the 20th century, and is credited with being the father of the first authentic American architectural form, the Prairie Style,” he continues. Read more.
Old BBC Documentary Lavishes Attention on Robie House
Now available online, a 1975 documentary explores the Robie House before its restoration and just after it became a landmark. Put online by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, it’s part of a documentary series on architecture and design developed by the Open University. It was aired in 1975, just four years after the house was named a Chicago landmark following threats of demolition in 1941 and 1957. As such, it comes off a bit dry, but it’s also a loving history of the house, beginning with the development of Wright’s Prairie Style as his work matured, culminating in his South Side masterpiece. See it here.
Innovative Illustration: Charles Montooth Drawings
Charles Montooth was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright from 1945-1952. He then became an associate of Wright from 1952-1954, supervising all Arizona work. From 1962 until his passing in 2014, Charles remained a principal member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and in later years served on the board of the Foundation and the Taliesin Preservation Commission.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's Whirling Arrow features an exploration of the creative and innovative illustration drawings of Charles Montooth. Charles spread the message of sustainability and forward thinking nurtured by his Taliesin experience. His wife Minerva, who resides at Taliesin in Wisconsin as an active member of the Taliesin community, remembers Charles completing his tasks for the day, then sketching throughout the night, creating highly-detailed drawings of his visions for the future. Read more.
Willey House Stories Part 3: The Inner City Usonian
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's Whirling Arrow gives us Part 3 of owner Steve Sikora's story of the Malcom Willey House as he continues his exploration of the home and its influence on architecture and society. "Every house has stories to tell, particularly if the house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Some stories are familiar. Some are even true. Some, true or not, have been lost to time, while others are yet to be told." Read more.
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Receives Grants to Improve Technology & Digital Access
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation announced it is the recipient of several grants to fund vital technology updates and digital access opportunities for the community. The grants will allow Taliesin West to continue its evolution from a traditional house museum to an engaging site infused with interactive, technology-enhanced experiences.
“We’re very excited that our new approach to sharing Wright’s legacy of beauty and sustainability is winning the support of our community,” said Stuart Graff, President and CEO of the Foundation. “Ongoing investment from foundations, corporate supporters, and most critically our individual donors and members will allow us to take this work to more schools, and to offer more programs, to our visitors.” Read more.
Arizona Schools to be Test Grounds for Frank Lloyd Wright Lessons
This fall, 25 classrooms in the Paradise Valley Unified School District in Phoenix, AZ will be the testing grounds for a new curriculum created by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Currently under development, the education program will be aimed toward elementary to high schoolers and would connect math, art, science and architecture to give kids a creative outlet in the classroom. The foundation hopes that the legacy of the architectural icon, who spent half his time in Arizona, would continue to live on through this program.
“Using his legacy to inspire kids [is] an important role for a cultural foundation,” said Stuart Graff, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation president and CEO, told Curbed.com. “Science and math aren’t going to be boring to these kids. A few of them will go on to be architects, engineers, designers and scientists.” Read more.
A Truly Unique Home in Napa Valley
Priced at $2.65 million is a one-bedroom nest, perched in the Napa Valley hills in St. Helena, California, designed by renowned architect Mark Mills and built in 1957 with a layout that’s charming but functional. The open-beam ceiling is shaped like a seashell, with the living area and bedroom curled around a smaller cylindrical space that contains the kitchen. Mills, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, chose to model the home on the structure of a seashell, as it contains more space inside its perimeter than any other shape of an equal dimension. Mills is famous for his organic designs, and this home is his only contribution to the beautiful Napa Valley. Mills never promoted his work, allowing clients to come to him instead.
Mills once proclaimed, “My client is nature.” He was dedicated to the use of local materials, and following his teacher Wright who deemed the seashell nature’s perfect architecture, Mills drew inspiration from natural forms. Read more.
This weekly Wright Society update is brought to you by Eric O'Malley with Bryan and Lisa Kelly from PrairieMod. If you enjoy these free, curated updates—please forward our sign-up page and/or share on Social Media.
If you’d like to submit content to be featured here, please reach out by emailing us at mail[at]wrightsociety.com.