2013 FLWBC Conference Wrap-Up: Day 3
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It was another crisp, sunny autumn day in Grand Rapids, Michigan—a perfect time of year to tour some of the beautiful homes in the historic Heritage Hill neighborhood as part of the 2013 Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Annual Conference. Get the details and more pics after the jump... For the last morning of lectures, the roster was filled with a host of engaging speakers and topics. The first discussion was a panel of people...
It was another crisp, sunny autumn day in Grand Rapids, Michigan—a perfect time of year to tour some of the beautiful homes in the historic Heritage Hill neighborhood as part of the 2013 Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Annual Conference. Get the details and more pics after the jump...For the last morning of lectures, the roster was filled with a host of engaging speakers and topics. The first discussion was a panel of people associated with the saving of the David Wright House in Phoenix, AZ. The panel was moderated by Neil Levine, Emmet Blakeney Gleason professor of History of Art and ArchiTecture at Harvard University with the panel consisting of Scott Jarson, Owner and Partner of Jarson & Jarson Real Estate; Janet Halstead, Executive Director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy; Larry Woodin, President of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and Executive Director/Founder of EcoHome Foundation. The group spoke in detail about the trials, tribulations, and ultimate triumph in saving one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most important residential designs. It brought back some harrowing memories of the events of that ordeal and I was as relieved as everyone else when a heroic buyer was found to save the house.
The next speaker was Mike Jackson, FAIA, chief architect and preservation services division manager for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and visiting professor of architecture at the University of Illinois. Mike spoke at length about the project he's involved in of digitizing historic home building and furnishing catalogs and how a search using the resources reveals Frank Lloyd Wright's influence on what was being designed and sold at the time.
I was eager to hear the next lecture on the schedule by Scott Perkins, Director of Preservation at Fallingwater. Scott spoke on "Abstract Patterns: Screens and Murals by Eugene Masselink." Scott was able to give us some background biographical information about Gene and present a series of screen and mural projects that were executed for different clients and architects during his all too short career. Scott is working on the diffinitive study of Eugene Masselink's life and work and this lecture was a sneek peek at the wonderful gold mine of information that awaits us when he is finally finished and published.
Next up was Tawny Ryan Nelb, President of Nelb Archival Consulting, Inc. who spoke on the first completed project designed through the Taliesin Fellowship: Alden B. Dow's Stein House (1933). Tawny explored Alden Dow's early experiences at Taliesin and the subsequent history and interiors of the first commission that was completed while Alden was with the Fellowship, the remarkable Stein House in Midland, MI.
To wrap-up the morning presentations and prepare us for our afternoon tour, Joan Lupton, former site manager for the Meyer May House provided some background information and her memories about the restoration of the home by the Steelcase company in the late 1980s. We were then able to view the video on this amazing restoration titled The Renewing of a Vision: The Meyer May House. Architect on the Meyer May restoration, John Tilton was in attendance and was coaxed into speaking about his experiences and answering questions related to the project.
With the morning presentations over, we ate our boxed lunches while listening to Rebecca Smith-Hoffman give us a brief overview of the Heritage Hill historic district and some of the diverse architecture that can be found there. We finished up and began boarding the shuttles to take us to the various tour locations around the neighborhood.
Our first stop was at the J.H. Amberg Residence by Marion Mahony (1909):
Because Wright originally received the commission in 1909, this home was originally attributed to be a Frank Lloyd Wright design. However, Wright fled to Europe before work could happen on the house and careful study of the built design now squarely attributes the home to Marion Mahony.
Just a few short blocks away was our next stop, the stunningly restored Meyer May House by Frank Lloyd Wright (1908):
The Steelcase company performed a comprehensive restoration in the late 1980s of this important Prairie era design, returning it better than new to Wright's original vision. The house literally glitters on the inside, with warm golden and earthy hues all around and opulent little touches like cut glass inserted in the horizontal mortar joints of the the fireplace. It is open to the public as a house museum and provides anyone the unique opportunity to see a pristine example of Frank Lloyd Wright's total art ideas brought to life. I can't recommend a visit to this magical place enough to anyone who loves design and architecture. Find out more info about the home and plan a visit here.
Our final tour stop of the day was at the Rowe Residence by Eugene Osgood (1913):
This house draws heavy inspiration from Wright's "A Fireproof House for $5000" design originally printed in the April 1907 issue of The Ladies Home Journal. Built by local architect Eugene Osgood, the home has been painstakingly restored from being divided into apartments back to a single family home. The interior is spacious and the flow between the rooms open and intuitive. A very livable house with lots of Prairie features.
We returned to the hotel after our tour in time to get refreshed, our formal attire on, and head down to the silent auction to place our final bids on special Wright-related items. I designed a special piece for the silent auction this year, a wooden stacking puzzle of Wright's Romeo and Juliet Windmill (1896) on the Taliesin estate in Spring Green, WI. The puzzle is made of numerous cut wooden cross sections and is complete with real turning windmill blades. I packaged it up in a custom red square box with printed instructions. People really loved the idea and I'm proud to say bidding was brisk on it!
With the bidding closed, we proceeded to dinner and the presentation of the Wright Spirit Awards. This year, four awards were handed out for work related to preserving the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright. The winners were Daniel and Dianne Chrzanowski for their extraordinary work restoring the Dobkins Residence (1954) in Canton, OH; Dale Morgan and Norman Silk for heroically saving and restoring the Turkel Residence (1955) in Detroit, MI; Peter Rött for his efforts as restoration architect for numerous Wisconsin Wright projects; and finally the FIrst Unitarian Society and Friends of the Meeting House for their efforts to keep the church lovingly maintained and ensure the long-term viability of the building for generations to come. Congratulations to all of the award winners!
With the ceremony and speeches over, the 2013 Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Conference came to a close. The PrairieMod squad would like to sincerely thank everyone at the FLWBC for putting together such a wonderful conference and letting us take part in it. We met so many passionate people who love the architecture and design of Frank Lloyd Wright and my only regret is that I could not have spent time with them all.
If you missed this conference (or the past conferences) and want to experience some of the lectures, you can purchase conference videos on DVD here.
Be sure to mark your calendars for next year's conference on October 29 - November 2, 2014, which will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the FLWBC in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona...it's sure to be a memorable experience you will not want to miss!
To stay up-to-date with news and events for future events and help the efforts to save Frank Lloyd Wright's built works, be sure to become a member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy here.
All photos copyright PrairieMod