2015 FLWBC Conference Wrap-Up: Day 1
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The first full day of the 2015 Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Annual Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was full of thought-provoking lectures, panel discussions, and amazing tours of Wright architecture. Get the details and see photos after the jump... The theme of this year's conference is "Wisconsin: Frank Lloyd Wright's Laboratory" and the first day's morning sessions focused on what is arguably Wright's most important Wisconsin laboratory: Taliesin in Spring Green. The first panel discussion...
The first full day of the 2015 Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Annual Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was full of thought-provoking lectures, panel discussions, and amazing tours of Wright architecture. Get the details and see photos after the jump...
The theme of this year's conference is "Wisconsin: Frank Lloyd Wright's Laboratory" and the first day's morning sessions focused on what is arguably Wright's most important Wisconsin laboratory: Taliesin in Spring Green.
The first panel discussion was titled "Taliesin: preserving the Buildings" and included Taliesin Estate Manager, Jim Erickson; Taliesin Collection and Preservation Project Manager, Ryan Hewson; and was moderated by Sidney K. Robinson, Professor of Architecture Emeritus, Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. They walked through the extensive and challenging process of documenting and preserving Taliesin, showing case studies of various parts of the house as example.
The next presentation was titled "Taliesin Viewscape Conservation" and moderated by Sandra Shane-DuBow, former Board of Trustees, Taliesin preservation, Inc./Board of Governors, Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Panelists were Dave Clutter (Executive Director of Driftless Area Land Conservancy), Gary Zimmer (Co-founder, President and Chief Visionary Officer of biological agriculture firm Midwestern BioAg), and Mike Stringel (Executive Director of Gathering Waters). This lively panel discussion explained the efforts undertaken thus far and what more needs to be done in the near future to preserve the character of the land surrounding Taliesin, farm it responsibly, and protect the watershed as well.
The final presentation was by Sarah Leavitt, curator of the National Building museum in Washington, D.C., who discussed her work publishing Priscilla J. Henken's diary detailing what life was like during her year at Taliesin in 1942-43. The presentation described challenges that faced the Fellowship during World War II, the drama of dealing with the unique lifestyle that made up Taliesin, and a selection of very interesting photos taken by the Henken's during their stay made this a very engaging lecture. If you have not already picked up a copy of the book, Taliesin Diary: A Year with Frank Lloyd Wright, then be sure to get a copy here.
With the morning session finished, it was time to grab our boxed lunches and make our way to the buses for our afternoon building tours.
Our first stop was the collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed American System-Built Houses on Burnham Street. There are six buildings on the block designed and built for Arthur Richards by Wright between 1915 and 1916. Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin has stepped-in and purchased several of the buildings in order to protect, preserve, and make them available to the public as house museums. We were able to tour three examples that are in various stages of preservation:
Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin has done amazing work on these buildings and the care and attention to detail really shows. If you have not had a chance to come visit these wonderful works of Modern Architecture, then be sure to follow the link to find out more info and plan your visit.
Our next stop was a short drive to outside Racine, WI to Wind Point to see the remarkably grand Wingspread. Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built this large home for Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr. in 1936. The brick, stone, wood, and glass building is comprised of four wings that pinwheel around a central living space that features a breathtaking fireplace core and series of clerestory windows. A spiral staircase leads up to the "crows nest" viewing platform where the Johnson children could watch for their father to return home in his airplane.
Wingspread is an amazing place that now serves as an educational conference center for The Johnson Foundation. Learn more about the building and the Foundation here.
Our final tour stop of the afternoon was the Thomas Hardy House in Racine, WI. Built in 1905, this lakeside Frank Lloyd Wright design is one that many architecture enthusiasts know from its iconic rendering from Wright's Wasmuth Portfolio. It's as remarkable in person, thanks in large part to a heroic restoration effort by current owner, Eugene Szymczak.
The Hardy House is a compact wonder of a home, each space and level artfully considered as part of a greater whole to create a truly magical living experience. If you want to learn more about the history of the Hardy House, be sure to pick up a copy of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hardy House by Mark Hertzberg.
With that, the day's events drew to a close for most of us. It was time to go back to Milwaukee to get some dinner and drinks and relive the fantastic architecture we saw during the tours. Make sure you check back tomorrow for the wrap-up of the day's events and more photos of the people and places we saw.
(All photos copyright PrairieMod)