Buffalo Behind the Scenes: Graycliff Estate
Western New York is home to some architectural gems, including work by Frank Lloyd Wright. Designed originally for the Martin Family, for whom the Darwin Martin House in North Buffalo was also built, the Graycliff estate was first used as a summer home in 1928. Now, after decades of renovation work, the historic Graycliff Estate is nearly fully restored to all its former glory. The restoration work should be finished by the end of this summer to bring the property back to how it looked in 1931, the year the house and landscaping were finished. Read more.
Bauder Lecture: Unpacking Frank Lloyd Wright's Archive and Career
Columbia University professor of architectural history and MoMA curator Barry Bergdoll tells the story of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career and the successful transfer of the archive from Taliesin to New York in Unpacking Frank Lloyd Wright's Archive and Career. Along the way, Bergdoll will discuss Wright’s work in Detroit and Bloomfield Hills, including the Smith House, a Usonian house that Wright designed in the late 1940s for Sara and Mevlyn Smith.
The 2018 Bauder Lecture celebrates the recent gift of the Smith House to Cranbrook, which the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research will operate as an educational resource for regional, national, and international audiences. Located less than a mile from Cranbrook, the Smith House is a gift of The Towbes Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. Anne Smith Towbes, a 1965 graduate of Kingswood School, whose family has long associations with the house, will be honored at the Center’s upcoming fundraiser, A House Party, in June 2018.
Bauder Lecture: Unpacking Frank Lloyd Wright's Archive and Career Sunday, April 8th, 2018 | 3:00pm - 4:30pm Cranbrook Schools Performing Arts Center 550 Lone Pine Road Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
Preserving Wright's Place in LA Architectural History
Because much of Los Angeles' architectural significance is privately owned, the success of preservation often depends on the concern and commitment of private citizens — property owners, in other words. Amidst the uniquely Los Angeles landscape of architectural heritage mingling side by side with skyrocketing real estate prices, the work of Frank Lloyd Wright stands as a small but deeply informative collection of case studies.
The question of preservation — how to keep the original integrity of the design while ensuring its place in the future — is repeatedly tested by remnants of Frank Lloyd Wright's legacy. When solutions are discovered and implemented at a Wright home, they improve the chances of preservation for many other historically-significant buildings in the region.
Even for works completed by world-famous architects, the hard work of preservation often boils down to finding the kind of property owners, with the will and the resources to keep architectural significant homes in good repair. Read more.
Cracking The Mysterious Case Of Frank Lloyd Wright's LA Houses
Christopher Hawthorne, Architecture Critic at the * The Los Angeles Times*, reflects on the job of writing and directing “That Far Corner,” an hour-long documentary for KCET-TV on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Los Angeles houses.
"I thought I could offer a fresh perspective on Wright’s architecture. What I lacked in directing experience (everything!) I hoped to make up for by bringing to bear on Wright’s Los Angeles work the combination of reporting and informed speculation that drives all effective architecture criticism. I wanted to be on firm ground in terms of my understanding of Wright’s career — of the work that paved the way for the L.A. houses — but also ready to take a speculative leap if necessary to pose some new questions about what the houses mean." Read more.
How Owning a Wright House Went Wrong
Curbed gives us an article by Chantal Panozzo about moving from a tiny Swiss apartment to an American architectural masterpiece by Frank Lloyd Wright. Here is a clue: it is not for the fainthearted. Read more.
Conservation of Japanese Screen at Taliesin
The Whirling Arrow informs us that in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Studio at Taliesin, the preservation team has completed the installation, framing, and glazing of the Japanese screen titled “Pine Trees, Pheasants, and Ducks.” This screen was likely from 19th century Japan, and is seen in historic photographs hanging in the studio as early as 1929. The protective glazing was provided by Tru Vue and was seamed by SmallCorp with a museum grade acrylic. It is framed in cypress to match the adjacent woodwork. The completion of this screen marks the seventh of eleven Asian artworks at Taliesin that have undergone conservation and protection efforts.
"During the cold winter months, as tours have been closed to the public at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and sister organization, Taliesin Preservation Inc. , partnered to complete this project that is set to be a major highlight on the tour path in the 2018 season." Read more.
Westcott House Gears Up To Start New Volunteer Program
The Westcott House is one of Springfield, Ohio's most notable landmarks. The house, originally constructed between 1906 and 1908, is the only Prairie style home in Ohio created by Wright. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and was purchased by the Westcott House Foundation in 2001. It now plays host to several educational activities and events in Springfield.
The foundation has begun accepting volunteers to work at the Westcott House in Springfield throughout 2018. Those interested will work at the house conducting tours, in the house’s gift shop and perform other activities. Volunteers will be required to work 48 hours per year at the home. No previous experience or formal education in architecture is necessary.
Westcott Center for Architecture & Design Executive Director & Curator Marta Wojcik said in a message that all potential volunteers will have to attend training sessions to learn more about the house, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and how to be a tour guide. Information on new furniture that will be unveiled in April will also be part of the sessions. Those chosen to work for the foundation will receive a free Westcott House membership and enjoy other benefits, such as special discounts and trips. Read more.
Guarding Treasure in Louis Sullivan's Banks
At the end of his career, architect Louis H. Sullivan (1876–1924) was reduced to taking whatever commissions came his way. The man whose pencil and imagination gave the skyscraper color, form, and style while other architects were “piling one thing on top of another", as Frank Lloyd Wright once noted. But after the completion of the Guaranty Building in Buffalo in 1895, there would be no more skyscraper commissions for Sullivan. Spurned as a “notoriously grandiose and difficult” architect with an unfashionable (that is, non-Beaux Arts) style, he resorted to designing small commercial buildings in rural towns, most famously a series of eight banks he created in five Midwestern states between 1907 and 1919.
Jim Corey of Hyperallergic gives us an update about the state of these eight "jewels". Read about them here.
Mason City Nonprofit To "Burn" Mortgage for Historic Park Inn
Steve Bohnell of The Globe Gazette states that back in 2006, Wright on the Park held its first meeting to discuss how to rehabilitate the Historic Park Inn, the world-renowned hotel in downtown Mason City, Iowa. Since then, it's taken numerous funding mechanisms to accomplish that. But on Feb. 27, the nonprofit announced the compliance period for federal, state and new market tax credits had closed.
According to Jean Marinos, finance director on Wright on the Park's board of directors, this was an important development — it indicates the nonprofit had properly used most, if not all, of just over $11 million in tax credits, essentially allowing the group to "burn" the hotel's mortgage.
"It took a major portion of my life," Marinos said about the entire process for applying for and complying with the different streams of tax credits. "If you come into my office and look around, all the shelves are filled with the Wright on the Park stuff."
In total, Marinos said Wright on the Park received roughly $3.5 million in state tax credits, $3.7 million in federal tax credits and $3.9 million in new market tax credits. Read more.