There’s little that we can tell you about Frank Lloyd Wright—purveyor of “organic architecture” who led the Prairie School movement and pioneered the affordable, accessible Usonian home concept—that you don’t already know. But perhaps you needed the reminder that today, June 8, 2016, would have been the American architect’s 149th birthday. To mark the occasion, we’ve rounded up news about and around Wright’s legacy from the past year, which includes the restoration of his winter haven at the Taliesin West campus, a massive fundraising campaign by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, and the re-entry of a number of homes Wright designed onto the market.
Experience summer on the campus of Taliesin East, in Spring Green, Wis., in this essay from Aaron Betsky, dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Then, read about Chicago-based Harboe Architects' plan to restore Taliesin West, Wright's winter home and school in Scottsdale, Ariz. The biggest challenge in saving the desert campus? "Taliesin West, more than any of Wright’s creations, was subject to the architect’s incessant tinkering, which often went unrecorded," wrote journalist Henry Grabar for ARCHITECT in December 2015. "Like a sketch, it could be as easily altered as lines on paper, a belief that Wright’s wife and disciples took to heart after his death."
The Taliesin campuses, together, form the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, the modern-day incarnation of Wright's historic apprenticeship program that is in the process of becoming an independent subsidiary of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and accredited with the Higher Learning Commission to be able to continue offering an M.Arch. program. Last year, the school met an ambitious fundraising goal of $2 million in order to become financially independent of the foundation. We're expecting to learn more about the status of the school as early as this month.
Meanwhile, a number of Wright-designed homes have gone on the market. Among them was the last residence Wright designed before his death in 1959. Located in Phoenix, the hillside Norman Lykes Home (shown above) emulates its natural, desert surroundings with a series of concentric circles and arches in concrete. In Los Angles, Wright’s 1939 Usonian-style George D. Sturges Home sold to new owners for the first time in half a century earlier this year. The 1,200-square-foot hillside residence features Wright’s signature cantilevered architecture and pairs red brick and redwood on its exterior.
Another of Wright’s Usonian homes changed hands in the last year. The 1,700-square-foot Bachman Wilson House (shown above) was disassembled, moved from its home in Somerset County, N.J., and then reconstructed at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, in Bentonville, Ark. The museum purchased the house from its previous owners in 2013.