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

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Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I doubt anyone would argue that there is no need for additional space. But that isn't the problem with the proposal. H&S owns two old houses that could, combined at the back, provide all the ancillary needs of the H&S without disrupting the neighborhood's residential quality. Katz's letter reads like a PR piece for John Ronan.

outside in
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Post by outside in »

today Blair Kamin reported that Vinci/Hamp scheme proposed retaining the house and building the visitor's center between with additional space in the back. Interesting that the Trust didn't print that solution.

SDR
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Post by SDR »


DavidC
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Post by DavidC »


Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

What an excellent idea! The Unity Temple neighbor would be a far superior choice, which would serve more than just the H&S.
All of the Oak Park architectural attractions could be centered in one building.

JimM
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Post by JimM »

Considering the acquisition of 925, methinks the Trust will resist retreating from an already decided upon desire to have their own headquarters.

The Unity Temple locale would appear to solve every "problem". With considerate modification of the two houses, the H&S would have plenty of space
to comfortably stage for tours and provide basic amenities. It's also essential to emphasize their importance providing context to Wright's architecture,
and the value they would contribute maintaining the integrity of a thriving residential neighborhood.

Did I miss if the proposed plan intended to address the arrival of 90,000 visitors before they step over the curb?

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The Lake Street option, if it turns out to be viable, would necessarily have a broader program for the entire community. If it were developed for H&S, Unity Temple, et alia, the 925 house, as an asset of H&S, could always be resold; that wouldn't be a serious problem.

Still, the obvious solution is the addition of new space at the back end of the two Chicago Ave. houses done discreetly enough to maintain at least the image of a residential construction. And I maintain the wall around Anna's house, which should never have been built, should come down.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

To the extent that the wall doesn't represent typical Oak Park building practice of the period, making it "out of place" on Chicago Avenue in that neighborhood, I fully agree. When was the wall built---do we know ?

S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

The date would coincide with H&S purchase of Anna's house, which I am not sure of. Probably not until the entire restoration of H&S had been completed, though, which was by 1987.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

The house proposed to be demolished existed when FLW lived and practiced architecture in the Home and Studio. To tear it down and replace it with L- shaped courtyard building that creates a big void in the street wall is idiotic, anti-preservation, and grossly insensitive. It is a terrible idea that reflects poorly on the judgment of the home studio leadership and John Ronan, the Architect.

I predict a groundswell of opinion against this baffling proposal. However, if this project goes ahead as designed, the Davenport House will never be on Wright Plus while Cheryl and I or one of our children own it.
Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Paul, get support from other FLW homeowners. If the availability of the houses comes into question, the H&S board would undoubtedly relent.

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »


pharding
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Post by pharding »

Yesterday I researched the 1895 and 1908 Saanborn maps which show the building footprints as they existed at the time of FLW in the home and studio. 40 percent of the Anna Wright House as it existed in FLW's time is being demolished for the proposed visitor center. A non-historic raised terrace is being added to the house in another baffling move. The 925 Chicago Avenue House that is proposed for demolition predates the 1895 Sanborn map. It is a contributing structure in the national historic district and has special significance. The FLW Trust has floated the idea of moving as if that is good solution. The current low wall along Chicago Avenue in front of the Anna Wright that was added in the 80's never existed before then and is fictional.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust is creating Wright Disneyland and has zero appreciation or understanding of the importance of historic architecture in a national historic district and the importance of retaining the historic context for the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. They are in propaganda mode right now and they are failing in their core mission as they attempt to mislead the general public, preservation organizations, and the Village of Oak Park about what they are doing. The proposed visitor center footprint is larger than that of the home and studio. Historic Preservation is not mutually exclusive with building a vistor center. The Frank Lloyd Trust is not only doing irreparable harm and damage to the home and studio with their Wright Folly but they are in the process of seriously damaging their second most valuable asset, their creditibility.

I am doing a very thorough objective study to get facts out there. I would appreciate it if my friends here would suggest organizations and people that might be interested in the facts about the proposed Wright Disneyland.
Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Christine Gawne Vernon's very useful history, given in the OakPark.com opinion piece linked above by DavidC, concludes with this paragraph:

"Putting the proposed visitor center behind Wright's mother's house sounds like one of the ugly stepdaughters trying to force her foot into Cinderella's shoe. A building that is going
to have "events" and, in essence, be a commercial enterprise, does not belong on a lot zoned residential in a residential neighborhood. http://flwright.org/visitor-center."

I am unclear whether she is responding to the proposed construction, or to subsequent suggestions like those given in this thread as alternates to that highly controversial proposal.

S

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