Frank Lloyd Wright in the Southwest

Photos (c) Mark Hertzberg

The recent 25th annual meeting of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy in Phoenix was my first opportunity to photograph Wright’s work in the southwest. These are some of my favorite photos. Taliesin West is last. The David and Gladys Wright House would be a joy to photograph, but we were asked to respect the owner’s wishes and not photograph even the exterior from the grounds. While some people photographed it through a chain link fence, I do not think that view does the house visual justice.

My favorite image is of the circular wall surrounding the swimming pool at the Norman Lykes House. I am also including an overall picture of the house to give the photo some context a close-up view through one of the portholes:

Norman Lykes House

Lykes 1 LR

Lykes LR 1

I enjoyed photographing the approach to the Grady Gammage Auditorium on the pedestrian ramps from the parking lot:

Grady Gammage

This note by Wright is at the entrance to the Carlson House:

Carlson House

The Harold Price House has wonderful doors designed by Eugene Masselink. You get a hint of the design in the second photo:

 Harold Price LR 3

Harold Price LR 1

Harold Price House Harold Price House

The First Christian Church was adapted from a design of Wright’s by Taliesin Associated Architects. This is the view looking into the jewel-like middle of the ceiling with an 80-200mm lens:

First Christian LR

The Boomer House has dramatic roof lines. Again, there is an overall photo of the house for context:

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Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer’s house, adapted from the Jester House plans, has circular rooms, including the living room:

Taliesin West

And now some of my visual impressions of Taliesin West:

Taliesin West

Then, the ceiling in the private dining area by the living room:

Taliesin West

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Two window reflections:

 Taliesin West

Taliesin West

The use of native rock is legendary:

Taliesin West

Taliesin West

Taliesin West

There is a wonderful round gate into Mrs. Wright’s garden:Taliesin WestTaliesin West Taliesin West  Taliesin West

Taliesin West

Tafel House Saved From Demolition

Photos and text (c) Mark Hertzberg

Wind Point (Racine), Wisconsin

Edgar Tafel’s Carl and Marie Albert House is officially saved from the threat of demolition, capping an almost two-year legal case.

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The Carl and Marie Albert House, Monday November 10, 2014

The condition of the stone house, designed ca. 1949, deteriorated significantly after homeowner Joan Schulz left the house more than five years ago to care for a relative. Dishes were reportedly left in the sink. The roof leaked, and the abandoned house was filled with mold. The Village of Wind Point, north of Racine, posted a sign declaring the house uninhabitable, and sought a raze order.

The house, at the intersection of Four Mile Road and N. Main Street, is at a busy corner, and was an eyesore. Although Schulz and her sons were willing to rebuild the house, the village argued that because the cost of repairs exceeded the then-value of the house, it should be torn down.

Friday village attorney Ed Bruner said that while he was frustrated with the slow progress of repairs, the village would no longer seek a raze order. “Yes, if I wanted to be punitive, but the house has come along enough. We would like it completed. It is frustrating to not see anything going forward. Every village meeting I am asked for update.”

Carl Albert Nov 7 14

Village of Wind Point Attorney Ed Bruner, left, and Peter Ludwig, the Schulz’ attorney, confer before the court hearing. 

Bruner and Judge Faye Flancher pointed out that Schulz’ son, Linden Schulz, has been overseeing the repairs rather than Larry Ruka. Judge John Jude, who oversaw the case until the county’s judicial rotation in August, had appointed Ruka as construction manager. Ruka has not been on site since April.

Carl Albert Nov 7 14

Linden Schulz, left, listens as construction manager Larry Ruka addresses the court during the hearing

The Schulz’ attorney, Peter Ludwig, said that the house is “next in queue” for the electrician. Once he finishes his work, plumbing fixtures can be reinstalled and insulation and drywalling will be done.

The house was scheduled for completion in September at a hearing in the spring. Judge Flancher set the case for review February 6. “You can’t push them but I can. If there is no other progress, I will consider fines, daily, as an impetus to get this done. When we come back in three months we will be at the two year mark. It is unconscionably long given schedule Judge Jude gave. I expect the home to be completed in 90 days. It sounds like it can be done.”

Carl Albert Nov 7 14

Joan Schulz, left, Ludwig, Linden Schulz, and Larry Ruka talk after the hearing.

Fall photo shoot at Penwern

(c) Mark Hertzberg

Penwern

Penwern

Shooting at Penwern today – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fred B. Jones house and estate on Delavan Lake (Wisconsin). Usually one wants shadows to help define lines but today it worked out well to have even lighting. There are so many wonderful layers to the house, so many things going on in Wright’s head as he works to define his design vocabulary.

Penwern Penwern Penwern Penwern Penwern

The estate (house, gate lodge, boathouse, and stable) were designed 1900-1903. His designs in 1900 began to be in what is commonly known as his Prairie-style homes. While he designed some Prairie-style before Penwern, this design cannot be classified that way. His five Delavan Lake cottages were originally all stained brown. Sue and John Major, the stewards of Penwern since 1994, announced a wonderful website this fall: www.penwern.com  There are many more photos and more information about Penwern there.

Penwern

Penwern LoRes

Van Bergen House on the Move

Photos and text (c) Mark Hertzberg

Van Bergen House Move

The James Irving House, designed by noted Prairie-style architect John S. Van Bergen in 1928, is moved in three sections from 1318 Isabella Street in Wilmette, Illinois Friday October 10, 2014. The first section moved includes the living room and dining of the house. The house was bought by Christopher Enck to stave it from demolition after Landmarks Illinois brought attention to the plight of the house. Lisa Di Chiera, Director of Advocacy for Landmarks Illinois, left, and Enck photograph the move:

Van Bergen House Move

Van Bergen worked for Frank Lloyd Wright in 1909, before Wright left his Oak Park studio to work in Europe for two years. The historic house is being temporarily stored in the parking lot of a future Whole Foods store nearby, until its permanent site in Evanston is ready. A cottage attributed to Wright and Rudolph Schindler, said to be a temporary residence for Mr. Irving, once stood at the rear of the property. It is in storage off-site.

The move drew several dozen spectators:

Van Bergen House Move
Van Bergen House Move

SC Johnson vs. Sotheby’s suit settled

Photo and text (c) Mark Hertzberg

Adm. Bldg. Furniture  Jun 2012 027a

SC Johnson filed a request Tuesday for discontinuation of its lawsuit against the Sotheby’s auction house and a California man filed in Federal Court in New York in December. The lawsuit was filed after a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed desk and desk chair from Wright’s SC Johnson Administration Building were listed for sale by Sotheby’s. The items are back in Racine.

The company released this statement late Tuesday in reaction to the court filing, “We’re pleased with the settlement outcome. Frank Lloyd Wright designed furniture is an important part of our company’s legacy. The furniture was designed in 1938-39 as part of Wright’s vision for the Administration building. We are happy that chair and desk have been returned to SCJ and our legacy has remained intact.“

Wingspread Tours Added to SCJ Tour Program

Photos (c) Mark Hertzberg

Wingspread fplace

Wingspread aerials 2009

For many years visitors to the SC Johnson Administration Building have asked how they can tour the Research Tower (added to the tour program this past May) and Wingspread (where tours had to be arranged separately, and dependent on the conference schedule).

Today SC Johnson announces that it is adding Wingspread to its tour program.

Wingspread was designed for company president H.F. Johnson Jr. in 1937, a year after the Administration Building. His grandson, company Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson, describes the Wright buildings as “great architectural masterpieces…we feel a great responsibility to share his incredible work with the world.” He continues, “For me, these structures are so much more than just buildings; they are a constant reminder of some of the bold choices my grandfather made.”

Wingspread became home to the Johnson Foundation around 1959. National Public Radio, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the International Court of Justice all grew out of what were often known as “Wingspread conferences.”

Some of my favorite photos show the afternoon sun coming through the clerestory windows in the Great Room.

Wingspread

Wingspread fplace 2

Clerestory Sun 003

Reservations can be made at www.scjohnson.com/visit or by calling 262-260-2154.

(If this link does not connect correctly, due to a software problem, please copy and paste it into your browser)

Wingspread aerials 2009

 

Magnificent Penwern

"Penwern," Frank Lloyd Wright's Fred B. Jones House (1900) is framed through the entrance to the boathouse on Delavan Lake. (c) Mark Hertzberg

“Penwern,” Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fred B. Jones House (1900) is framed through the entrance to the boathouse on Delavan Lake. (c) Mark Hertzberg

Sue and John Major, stewards of Penwern, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fred B. Jones summer cottage, boathouse, gate lodge, and stable (1900-1903), are pleased to announce the launch of a website for the estate. The url is www.penwern.com

The Majors have commissioned me to write a book for them about Jones and Penwern. It is an exciting challenge because we have been unable to find any extant letters between Messrs. Jones, Wright, and/or Henry Wallis, who was the developer who apparently led Jones and three other Chicago-based Delavan Lake clients to Mr. Wright.

I was also asked by At the Lake magazine to write about Mr. Wright’s work on Delavan Lake. The article was published this week. There is a link to it on the website. The article is footnoted, because I want to verify every assertion about Penwern, rather than just accept what has been written about it before. I have found a number of misconceptions about Penwern, including the the idea that Penwern means “great house” in Gaelic. It is Welsh or Cornish, and does not mean “great house” (you’ll have to read the article and footnotes to learn more!).

As I invite you to go to the new website, which has a rich gallery of historic and contemporary photos of the estate, I leave you with a photo of Mr. Jones and Dora Mortimer, a friend or his housekeeper (another mystery we are trying to unravel!) on their around the world trip in 1924.

Pyramids

Mr. Wright’s Birthday Dinner at Hillside Dining Room

(c) Mark Hertzberg

Several hundred people celebrated Frank Lloyd Wright’s 147th birthday at an annual dinner given in the Hillside dining room following a reception at Taliesin, Saturday June 7. It is a joy and a privilege to be invited to this festive celebration. It is a time to see friends and professional acquaintances, and to meet new people.

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Mr. Wright was born on June 8. I graduated from high school June 8, 1968 (6.8.68). Sometimes I chuckle about the coincidence.

A.D. German Warehouse – Open House

Text and photos (c) Mark Hertzberg

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s A.D. German Warehouse (1915) is safe, thanks to the generosity of Glenn and Mary Schnadt of Richland Center, Wisconsin. The building, which has been closed for several decades, was purchased by the Schnadts late last summer. They, in turn, have donated the building to the newly-formed A.D. German Warehouse Conservancy, Inc. which is now raising money to restore it and considering proposals for how to best use the building.

The Schnadts were honored at a community open house on the first floor of the Warehouse Saturday June 7, in honor of Wright’s birthday (June 8). Several hundred people attended the open house.

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Paul Corcoran, mayor of Richland Center, thanks the Schnadts for their generosity. Henk Newenhouse attended, dressed as Mr. Wright.

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Lon Arbegust surprised the Schnadts with a framed copy of their wedding photo, which he found in the local newspaper archives.

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Ron Scherubel, past executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and a board member of Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin, was one of the speakers.

The warehouse conservancy has a Facebook page. Contributions are welcomed: PO Box 436 Richland Center, WI 53581

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New Gates for Hardy House

Words and photos (c) Mark Hertzberg, except historic photos, (c) Anne Sporer Ruetz

One of the most important finishing touches is coming to the Hardy House. It was built in 1904-06 with two wood gates, which we see in Anne Sporer Ruetz’s snapshots of her friends. Anne grew up in the house; her parents were the second owners (1938-1947) after Hardy lost the house at sheriff’s auction.

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New gates, based on the unrealized design by Wright on one of his drawings, are being built by Chad Nichols, the master carpenter who has done much of the work at the house. Chad measured the openings for the gates in January, 2013:

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He first made a model based on the design built for the house, before it was decided to use the unrealized design:

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There is nary a spare clamp to be found in his workshop as he now completes the red cedar gates. It was decided to wait until the house rehabilitation was almost completed before making the gates:

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The gates will be stained before they are installed, probably next week. Chad proudly invited me to his workshop today to see what they look like:

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