The Best Way to Tour the Marin County Civic Center
David Ferry of the San Francisco Chronicle points out the best way to tour Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin County Civic Center. It is the only civic building, along with the adjacent post office, Wright ever constructed and it’s now a state and National Historic Landmark.
Marin County recently launched an educational mobile app and added more docent-led tours of the building. The app, called "Marin County Civic Center by Frank Lloyd Wright," is available on iOS and Android and is free. The idea is to enable visitors to take self-guided tours whenever they please. (If you happen to find yourself in San Rafael on a Wednesday or Friday morning, you can get a traditional guided tour: $10 for adults; $5 for seniors.) Read more.
Here's What It Was Like to Work for Frank Lloyd Wright
Architectural Digest has an article featuring architect and Taliesin apprentice, Vern Swaback. Swaback talks about his mentor, Frank Lloyd Wright, excitedly recalling years spent in the desert, digging ditches, and moving rocks, only to change into a tuxedo hours later for black-tie dinners held with actors, foreign dignitaries, and journalists. Such was a typical day in the life for your average apprentice at Taliesin West. Read more.
Restoring Wisconsin's Driftless Area
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation informs us that conservation teams at Taliesin are working to re-establish the vegetative footprint and composition of the Welsh Hills as they were in Frank Lloyd Wright’s time. The Welsh Hills were a favorite place for Wright to spend time with apprentices and friends for leisure and inspiration.
"Wright loved this part of the country. There is no other like it. The rolling hills and valleys that define southwestern Wisconsin are here because the glacier wasn’t. This landscape is without drift, the soil and gravel deposits the glaciers left behind. And thus, this un-glaciated place is called 'the Driftless Area.'"
But over time the hills and prairies have become overgrown with cedars, honeysuckles, barberry, garlic mustard, and more. All were introduced to this area, some intentionally, others not, and have been overwhelming the native plant community ever since. Therein lies the challenge of the Natural Landscapes Program—to turn back the hands of time so the woodlands, oak savannas and prairies can once again thrive. Read more.
Twilight & Tipple Tours Return To Pope-Leighey House
The Pope-Leighey House has opened for tours through December. The home, which now belongs to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is on the same property as the historic Woodlawn Plantation. Built in 1941 for writer Loren Pope and his wife Charlotte, it's the only Frank Lloyd Wright home in the DC region open to the public.
Of note is the return of a popular special even, the Twilight & Tipple Tuesday tours, which will take place once a month from May to October. Guests enjoy libations from local partners and take tours of the Pope-Leighey house during sunset. A tour at this time of day is quite an experience because of how the indoor light shines through the custom windows. Tours are guided, and photography is permitted.
The tours are set for May 22, June 26, July 24, Aug. 21, Sept. 25 and Oct. 23. Tickets are $25 plus fees and include a drink. Plus, mark your calendars for Frank Lloyd Wright's 150th Birthday Picnic on June 8 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Read more.
Former Calatrava Spire Site in Chicago Will Hold Two SOM-Designed Skyscrapers
In a surprising nod to the Chicago School of Architecture, David Childs with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has designed two sister towers in terracotta and glass for the former site of the Chicago Spire. Glazed terracotta became a way for turn-of-the-20th-century Chicago architects like Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, and William Le Baron Jenney to craft ornament that could be designed to exact specifications and made hollow, allowing them to decorate the tops of buildings. Taking inspiration from some of the cities’ most significant buildings, Childs has covered the towers in a familiar architectural form—the Chicago Window with setbacks. Construction of the towers is anticipated to take four and a half years. Read more.
Sarasota Bayfront Designs Evoke Van Wezel Memories
The Herald-Tribune shares a story on the creation of Sarasota's "Purple Cow," the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall — a lavender symbol of contemporary Sarasota, and a testament to the community’s progress to that time. Designed by Taliesin apprentice William Wesley Peters, the color scheme, floor coverings, and fabrics were selected by Mrs. Frank Lloyd Wright. The project director, Vernon D. Swaback, predicted that over time, “people will understand it, and with more exposure, be as enthusiastic as we are.” He assured “the purple color may have a harsh appearance now, but it will fade to smoother lavender with a little time.”
Today, this iconic building that at one time meant so much to Sarasotans and her visitors, has become an issue as the city debates what to do with its bayfront. Read more.
Exploring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Naturalistic Legacy
Wright designed three structures in Kansas City: the Sondern-Adler House (1939), Community Christian Church (1940) and the Bott House (1956-57). All three structures are still standing, and his legacy continues in other ways around the metro area.
Area architects such as Robert Major, Gene Young, and Eugene Buchanan were heavily influenced by Wright. Their adherence to Wright’s design principles differs but encompasses his penchant for naturalistic design and native materials. Read more.
Artist Tells Story of Taliesin West Through Abstract Paintings
Artist Dennis Kleidon tells the story of Taliesin West through his abstract paintings. In this article on the "Whirling Arrow Blog," Kleidon explains how Frank Lloyd Wright’s Arizona home inspired him to create his latest works of art.
"Frank Lloyd Wright has left us with an enduring legacy – most directly in architecture, but also in his love of nature and respect for creativity in all of its forms. Wright said, “Integrity is the first law of the spirit,” and my paintings seek to express a similar structure of values, of enlightened ways to see and respond to the universe." Read more.
Why Open-Plan Homes Might Not Be Great For Entertaining
In the February 1901 issue of Ladies Home Journal Frank Lloyd Wright published plans for "A Home In A Prairie Town." Many of the characteristic features of Wright’s "Prairie style" (as others would come to call it) were already visible in the 1901 design: a low-pitched roof, wide eaves, horizontal orientation, and a strong connection to the surrounding landscape. Inside, another feature is present in nascent form: an early open floor plan combining multiple rooms together into a continuous space.
The Atlantic proposes that the open-plan doctrine blinds homeowners to the prior benefits of traditional, defined spaces. In the past, public-private spaces like formal living rooms and parlors would have received guests, sparing the home the embarrassment of view onto its private spaces. Even the early American modernist designs still offered some of these formalities, along with more purpose-built spaces like playrooms, libraries, or offices.
Of course, anyone who has actually enjoyed living in an open-plan home might argue with The Atlantic's starched collar Victorian sensibilities. Read more here, and as always let us know what you think.
Cedar Rock Opens For The Season
Cedar Rock in Quasqueton, Iowa is a stunning example of world renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s work and tours are now open for the season! Lowell and Agnes Walter commissioned Wright to create their retirement home, now known as "Cedar Rock." Their mid-century modern estate is situated beautifully on the banks of the Wapsipinicon River and open for you to visit.
There is something here for everyone. Whether you are a fan of architecture, design, engineering, art, history, nature or simply the outdoors you will find something to peak your interest. Much of the property is open for public use. A public trail connects the park visitor center and historic house. This season staff will offer information on Monarch Butterflies and the opportunity for guests to sow a pollinator seed bomb while supplies last!
Cedar Rock State Park offers tour to the public May 23 to October 14, Wednesday to Sunday. Tours depart hourly at 10:00 a.m. and conclude with a 3:00 p.m. tour. Make a reservation by calling the park office at (319) 934-3572 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit here.
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