2013 FLWBC Conference Wrap-Up: Day 1
Average Rating: ( 0 votes)
The first day of the 2013 Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, MI was chock-full of fantastic lectures and amazing house tours in the St. Joseph and Benton Harbor areas of Southwestern Michigan. Get the details and see photos after the jump... The morning started with opening introductions by Richard Longstreth of the morning's three guest speakers. The first speaker was Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor and Chair of the Department...
The first day of the 2013 Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, MI was chock-full of fantastic lectures and amazing house tours in the St. Joseph and Benton Harbor areas of Southwestern Michigan. Get the details and see photos after the jump...The morning started with opening introductions by Richard Longstreth of the morning's three guest speakers. The first speaker was Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor and Chair of the Department of Architectural History at the University of Virginia. Richard's lecture was titled "The Great Cleanup: inventing the Coordinated Interior" and discussed in detail the history of interior design and its key progressive thinkers leading up to Frank Lloyd Wright's own work.
The next speaker was Margo Stipe, curator and registrar of Collections at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation with a presentation titled "Space of Eloquence: Taliesin and Taliesin West." Margo provided a sumptuous slide show of historic and contemporary photos of Taliesin and Taliesin West, discussing the significance of the two Wright works and how they have changed over the years.
The final speaker was fine art conservationist Pamela Kirschner on the topic of "Preserving Wright Interiors: Case Studies of Frank Lloyd Wright Furniture and Fabrics 1904-1956." Pamela presented here work investigating and restoring the furnishings of several Wright commissions, including the Martin House, Graycliff, Price Tower, and Gorden House as well as her new project for the Pope-Leighey House.
With the morning's lectures done, we proceeded to the buses for a short drive from Grand Rapids to St. Joseph and Benton Harbor to tour four Usonian homes. Although the weather was gray and rainy, it did not dampen the excitement to view these rarely open-to-the-public private residences.
Our first stop was the Elizabeth and Robert Warren Residence by the Taliesin Associated Architects (1963):
The house was a wedding present from Elizabeth's parents, Carl and Betty Schultz, whose Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home was across the cul de sac. Although William Wesley Peters is listed as the architect of record on the project, research for the conference revealed that TAA architect David Coe Wheatley designed the home.
Our next stop was across the way to see the Betty and Carl Schultz Residence by Frank Lloyd Wright (1957) with TAA addition (1963):
This immaculate home was built on top of a steep ravine overlooking the St. Joseph river. The interior is beautifully laid out with a generous living room filled with Wright-designed hassocks and small tables and surprisingly large bedrooms featuring tons of built-ins. The addition to the home was sensitively done and fit the home well. I really loved this home and thought the interiors, the room layout, and the siting on the lot were really well done.
Our next stop was across the river and in neighboring Benton Harbor to see the Helen and Howard Anthony House by Frank Lloyd Wright (1949):
The Anthony House is a real gem—based on a 30/60˚ triangle module, the home abounds with interesting angles that make for plenty of interesting planes and corners to enjoy. The rough cut limestone walls and wonderfully rich wood ceilings and walls give one the sense of being in an origami cabin in the woods. With a fire roaring in the central hearth and radiant heat floors turned on, it was a cozy space to be in during a rainy fall day. One last item to mention was an especially interesting Midway Gardens Sprite located at the courtyard's entry (I believe cast from molds originally owned by another Wright client, Donald Loveness).
Our final stop of the afternoon was to see the Ina Morris Harper House by Frank Lloyd Wright (1950):
I've driven past this house in the past and have always admired its dramatic glass and butterfly roof facing a knock-out view of Lake Michigan. So I was really excited to get the chance to tour the inside. The homeowners greeted us at the door and graciously invited us in to see the view from the inside. We were able to explore all of the spaces, including the expanded living areas. A majestic house with a majestic view.
With our tours completed and my head spinning from all of the amazing architecture we were able to see, we loaded back onto the bus and headed back to Grand Rapids. Tomorrow's lectures and tours look even more exciting, with the chance to see many of the Wright-designed homes in Galesburg and Kalamazoo. Tune in to tomorrow's wrap-up to see more!
All images copyright PrairieMod