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

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

"Sold as is Where is." Corner of Chicago and Forest. Bring wrench.

S
Last edited by SDR on Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Paul, I think the credibility of the board is already damaged beyond repair. Whoever on the board responsible for this should all be replaced ASAP.

outside in
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Post by outside in »

Roderick - though I agree with you, it appears that the H&S and their Board is essentially doubling down on their proposal. I continue to run into press releases announcing Ronan's winning design - its as if they haven't heard any of the concerns or complaints!

SREcklund
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Post by SREcklund »

SDR wrote:"Sold as is Where is." Corner of Chicago and Forest. Bring wrench.

S
:D :twisted: :P
Docent, Hollyhock House - Hollywood, CA
Humble student of the Master

"Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old." - Frank Lloyd Wright

pharding
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Post by pharding »

This evening we completed our 14-page graphic analysis with objective commentary. The study will be rolled out shortly. Some of the highlights. The footprint of the proposed visitors center has a bigger footprint than the FLW Home & Studio. It is also bigger than the footprint of Unity Temple. The scale of it is out of character with its context. After the Anna Wright House has original 1895 and earlier historic portions needlessly demolished and a 19th-century house is demolished to make way for the supersized visitors center, it looks quite prominent in relation to the FLW Home & Studio.

The Anna Wright House has limited value to the FLW Trust as they see it. She lived in an expansive middle-class house of the period. Now they are trimming away substantial original historic architecture.

The study includes an alternative concept that retains all essential portions of the Anna Wright House as it actually existed in 1895 and all of the adjacent historic house scheduled for demolition. The visitor center becomes less overwhelming in scale and not visually dominant over the FLW Home and Studio.
Last edited by pharding on Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:11 am, edited 3 times in total.
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 »

I'm sorry to hear that, Paul. Thanks for the update.

What are the remedies to this situation ? Is there any recourse in law---if it comes to that ?

I look forward to hearing the response to your efforts. Perhaps this is a case where one could be grateful that the newsmedia thrive on controversy ...

S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

That the board of H&S has been quiet about all this does not bode well. I still maintain they are the problem, and no solution will be found while they are there. All of them should resign.

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »


pharding
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Post by pharding »

Saving those two houses, including the Anna Lloyd Wright House, and building a new Visitor Center is not an all or nothing choice, It is not a binary choice as some would lead us to believe. By removing minor rear additions to the Anna Lloyd Wright House, and the 1885 Italianate House there is more than enough room for the gigantic visitor center. A compromise solution will be far better.

The proposal by the FLW Trust as a potential compromise that they may offer to build the overwhelming new visitor center as designed, reduce the Anna Wright House by 40 percent and MOVE the Italianate House does nothing for an authentic 1905 context for the Home studio. It just continues to make a mockery of historic preservation for the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and the Frank Lloyd Wright National Historic District. Plus it sets a dreadful legal precedent and it blows apart the Oak Park Historic Preservation Ordinances. It is bad for historic preservation ordinances across the Chicago area and the US.
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

pharding
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Post by pharding »

outside in wrote: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.
The graphics are not designed to effectively communicate what the building actually looks like to the community. The extreme wide-angle perspectives are designed to mask the proposed visitor center's design flaws. The site plan is also quite misleading as it masks the exceptionally large footprint of the visitor center in relationship the Home and Studio, which it dwarfs. That visitor center could be anywhere. It is not the least bit contextual or appropriate.
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

outside in
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Post by outside in »

July 3, 2019
Chris Payne, Chair
Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission Village of Oak Park
123 Madison Street
Oak Park, IL 60302
Dear Chris,
I am writing to state my objection to the proposed new visitors center planned for the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. As a matter of reference, I have served as a Board member of Landmark Illinois, The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, and the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Our firm has been involved with the restoration of over two dozen buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, for which we have received numerous preservation awards.
While I have a great deal of respect for both the organization and John Ronan, I believe a solution should be explored that does not include the demolition of the house known as 925 Chicago Ave. It is clear that the house was built well before the construction of Wright’s home and studio, and is therefore an important component of the neighborhood and setting. It is disappointing to read that the organization believes the house is “of no architectural significance� when it actually serves as a model to compare typical housing of the period to Wright’s Home and Studio.
Furthermore, I believe the new building creates an inappropriate image of a “corporate center� for the organization; an organization that at one time was made up of individuals passionate about architecture and dedicated to the preservation of Oak Park. Unfortunately, the organization now consists of board members with little architectural and preservation training and experience. As such, I believe they have “missed the mark� with their advocacy of this proposed project, as it presents a building that is inconsistent with its residential setting as well as the previous preservation goals of the organization.
I ask that the Commission deny their request for a Certificate of Appropriateness, and further recommend that a new design competition be held that maintains the existing house at 925 Chicago Ave. so that it can be preserved and incorporated into the visitors center program requirements.
Very truly yours, John Eifler, FAIA

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Kudos to John Eifler for his stance on this. Preservation organizations abhor what the FLW Trust is proposing and they are taking appropriate steps. Everyone knows that a lot is stake. This includes everyone recognizing that this is incredibly wrong for so many reasons. And sets a horrible precedent when a preservation organization decides that the Oak Park Preservation Ordinance, National Historic preservation Standards, and UNESCO Preservation guidelines that were clearly articulated in selection of 8 Wright buildings, including Unity Temple. The FLW Trust coordinates tours and trumpets their association with World Heritage site, Unity Temple, which they falsely claim as theirs. And Robie House which they own. Yet somehow UNESCO Preservation criteria and National Preservation Standards are not applicable or relevant to demolition for the Wright Home and Studio. The FLW Trust was advised repeatedly that the demolition was wrong yet they chose to barrel on ahead. The demolition was rejected by the Historic Preservation Commission. Yet this Zombie-like demolition is back again and they have indicated that it will be handled as a political matter if rejected again to be decided by the Village Trustees. Hopefully the Trustees will stand behind the HPC and community and preservation organizations rather just letting it be political.

I can't get over how much this thing reminds me of "The Emperor's New Clothes". There is still time for the FLW Trust to reconsider and make a modest compromise. This would allow them to demonstrate reasonableness and not further damage their credibility.

For me there is nothing personal here, I just believe that they are making an uncharacteristic major blunder that has gigantic lasting implications.
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 »

How is power structured at H&S? Is there a standard that board members must meet in order to stay on? Is there an authority that can say STOP! and be heard?

The problem is with the running of the "corporation." All involved should be shown the door.

John Ronan can be as fine an architect as he likes, but if he has no understanding of how wrong this project is, if all he gets out of it is money, if he has no sense of, nor interest in, architectural history, he should withdraw.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

How the FLW Trust operates is their business. We are looking to stop the proposed demolition 40% of the Anna Lloyd Wright House and the adjacent 1875 Italianate House. The visitor center as proposed is too large in my opinion. The massing as presented does not work with the historic context. The building is way too dominant over the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.
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

pharding
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Post by pharding »

The FLW Building Conservancy, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Landmarks Illinois are all taking very strong public positions in opposition to the full and partition demolition of the 2 houses adjacent to the FLW Home and Studio. This includes the Anna Lloyd Wright House and an 1866 Italianate House which may be the oldest house in Oak Park. FLW Foundation is also opposed and is working behind the scenes to lobby against the demolition. Go to the home page of this web site. The second image to scroll in announces the FLW BC position. Follow the link for the full article. Then click on the link below to see two drawings prepared by Harding Partners to better understand graphically what is proposed.
https://www.savewright.org/
https://www.savewright.org/news/conserv ... or-center/
https://www.savewright.org/wp-content/u ... -plans.pdf
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

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