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Article: New visitor's center planned for Home & Studio

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:57 pm
by DavidC

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:57 am
by outside in
surprised that all the architecture buffs on this site have nothing to say about this. The renderings are done horribly and depict a building that appears to be angled, when its orthogonal in plan. Ultimately its a quiet, sleepy neighbor that accommodates the program.

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:18 am
by Roderick Grant
This is an inappropriate building for an unnecessary purpose. Museums do not have to be all things to all people. H&S has made it this far without expanding; there is no reason to assume it cannot continue.

As much as FLW disdained the Victorian architecture of the day when he built his house, and later his studio, that is what the neighborhood looked like, and so it should remain. Whatever programs the Home & Studio thinks it needs to remain relevant should be housed in existing structures that do not violate the residential nature of the area.

There is a parallel between this misadventure and the recent kerfuffle over the planned high rise casting a shadow on Unity Temple ... same subject, differing only in the details.

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:00 pm
by JimM
First time seeing this. Not withstanding whether it's needed, what can possibly be going through their minds? I know this is Chicago, but Mies meets Frank? Simply at a loss for words. How anything remotely similar to that rendering could be considered appropriate boggles the mind.

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:08 pm
by DavidC

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:24 pm
by JimM
Additional images are even worse! Unbelievable.

“The building has to be architecturally significant in its own right, but it cannot upstage the reason people are coming there,� Ronan said.

Only honest arrogance perhaps, but this scheme not only "upstages" the historic site, but also the locale and neighborhood within which it would be situated.

Toshiko Mori's solution in Buffalo was a master stroke in comparison.

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:36 pm
by Paul Ringstrom
With 90,000 annual visitors, they do need a better solution than the current cramped garage.

Whether this design will pass muster with the city historical society is to be seen.

IMHO: Take the building and sink it a half story into the ground and put a lot of foliage between it and the street and extend the existing wall and add a "green" roof and an overhang and clerestory windows.

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:23 pm
by DRN
I think the context of the H&S on Chicago Ave. is an important thing to consider....the proposal would obliterate that context by removing the period house(s) to the east. A modern (Miesian even?) building fronting Chicago Ave is not what is needed.

The Martin visitor center is a different situation in my view...a larger lot to work with and the streetscape is not so much a part of the story...a modern pavilion works there. I'd lean toward incorporating the existing house(s) next door to act as "fronts" if feasible, even if they were just used as shells with floors moved to grade and the bulk of the center located and well screened in the rear of the lot.

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:25 pm
by outside in
so is this the house "of no architectural significance"? I think it creates a setting for the home and studio and is certainly not disposable. Maybe the paint colors are off, but that's no reason to dismiss it.


Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:27 pm
by DavidC
And, you might as well throw in the mature tree out front, too. Will that get bulldozed in the process? You would think would be part of the overall context of the neighborhood.

The could always 'replace' it with some 3-year-old pin oak whips that would only need another hundred years or so to catch back up.


Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:10 pm
by DRN
Was the Chicago common brick and shingle fence added as part of the Home & Studio's acquisition of the house to the right in John's photo to "mark turf"? Or, was it added by Wright at some point during his tenure?
It has caught my eye as out of character for the non-Wright house.

The potential loss of these two houses which set the scene for the context Wright was working within seems so at odds with current methods of presenting built history.

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:09 am
by Roderick Grant
DRN, I believe you are correct, the wall was added to incorporate the house that Anna Wright owned into the "campus."
But I disagree about the Martin pavilion; in itself, it is a fine building,
but it is out of place in the neighborhood as it was at the time Martin was built. A garrison of greenery would help.

The article says one house would be demolished, but the proposed plan would take up much more than one lot, three at least.
It would also pave a new approach. The Home should always be entered by the front door, as should the Studio.
Funneling visitors in past the garage is not an acceptable solution.

From what I can tell, John Ronan is in the business of building at a scale way beyond what is called for in OP.
They need an architect with a more residential touch that could blend in ... assuming it has to be done at all.

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:22 am
by SDR
Those seem to be sensible comments.

The very fact that the architect chose to omit the significant existing tree(s) along the sidewalk speaks poorly of his commitment to the project---doesn't it ?


Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:34 am
by outside in
I remember in the 60's and 70's many people were lamenting the loss of our cities, being replaced by malls, etc. (you know the story) but its interesting how many of these same people have now signed on to this form of retail since it is now occupied by Starbucks, Whole Foods, etc.

I think its the same in Oak Park. Years of preservation battles fought to save older homes, sometimes even garages! But god forbid anyone would stand up to the Home and Studio. I have a sickening feeling that both of these houses will come down with barely a wimper, since we all know how important the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust is to Oak Park.

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:48 am
by SDR
The monetization of art---the tendency toward commodification---is a) a necessary evil, justified on the grounds of "bringing art to the people," or b) a deplorable aspect of commercial interests' domination of our culture. Take your pick ?