Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hoffman Auto Showroom Demolished

’s drawing for the Hoffman Show Room (courtesy the Foundation) via Hyperallergic.com

In late March, one of the few Frank Lloyd Wright designs in City was demolished quietly at 430 Park Avenue.  This seldom-noticed interior retail space was home to the Hoffman Auto Showroom for over five decades and just as it was considered for preservation by the Landmark Preservation Commission, the owners of the building applied for its demolition.  For many people, this may seem like an act of corporate greed or “corporate vandalism” and it may be so, but the landmark designation for interior spaces applies strictly to public space only according to NYC’s landmark laws.  

So was this space ever anything more than private property? Aside from having been designed by one of America’s most famous architects, did the design have “special historical, architectural or cultural significance”?

More after the break…

AD Classics: Marin Civic Center / Frank Lloyd Wright

© Flickr User C.M. Keiner

The Marin County Civic Center was ’s last commission and largest public project, including several civic functions that would serve Marin County and , which after the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge became closer than ever. Wright was selected for the project in 1957, winning a vote out of hope he would be able to best represent a democratic government open to the people through the Civic Center.

A Candid Conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright by JOHN AMARANTIDES, 1955. ”The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, , New York)”

If you only know Frank Lloyd Wright for his classic works - Fallingwater and the Guggenheim among them – and not for his bristly personality, then you’re in for a treat.

WNYC has just released a candid they recorded with Wright in 1957, two years before his death, in his Plaza Hotel apartment (where he’d moved to oversee construction of the Guggenheim, which he’d been working on for 14 years). The conversation covers a wide range of topics – from Wright’s quirky personal views on American culture to the significance of architecture for mankind. Some gems from the interview include: 

On the Guggenheim and its critics:  “You’re going to be awakened to the beauty of that thing [a picture, a painting] from a new point of view. And it’s going to be so enlivening and refreshing, that it will make some of these painters quite ashamed of the protest that they issued against it.”

More quotes from Frank Lloyd Wright, after the break…

Films & Architecture: “North by Northwest”

Our latest movie in our Films & Architecture series is another ’60s classic, this time by the master filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. In North by Northwest we see a New York in the heyday of its architectural glory, with one scene taking place at a newly constructed building. In fact, the last scene takes place in a “house” that, under Hitchcock’s instructions, was meant to seem designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (in reality, the house was just another set design). The film shows a variety of urban spaces, and puts special emphasis on the contrast between the densities of  urban and rural realms.

As always, enjoy and comment!

Oiio Reveals Proposal for Guggenheim Expansion

Courtesy of Oiio Architecture Office

With many museums worldwide seeking to extend to accommodate larger collections, Athens-based Oiio Architecture Office has asked: “What if we decided we needed a little more of Guggenheim?”

Their solution is to stretch ’s original building skywards, by continuing its iconic ramp, creating an additional 13 floors. 

More on the design after the break…

LEGO® Architecture Landmark Series: The Imperial Hotel

© LEGO

LEGO® aficionados, the wait is over. LEGO® has announced the details of their first edition to the 2013 Architecture series! Who better to kick off the new year than LEGO® Architecture staple with his Imperial Hotel in .

The most celebrated of Wright’s six Japanese buildings, the Imperial Hotel was designed in the, then very chic, Mayan Revival style and constructed largely of stone and reinforced concrete. It was lauded for having survived a sizable earthquake shortly after its opening, however in reality portions of the building sunk leaving residents navigating its wobbly corridors. Eventually it was decided to completely demolish the building in 1968 to make way for the high-rise building that stands on the site today.

But fret not, now instead bemoaning the loss of one of Wright’s great works, for between $90-$100, big kids and little architects can reinstate this landmark building on their very own living room floor with 1,188 glossy miniature blocks.

More photos after the break…

Anonymous Benefactor Saves the David and Gladys Wright House

Courtesy of Time, Inc. via the Frank Lloyd Wright News Blog

Christmas has come early for the international community of architects and preservationists, as an anonymous benefactor has saved the endangered David and Gladys Wright House in , . Culminating a six month saga, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy is proud to announce that it has facilitated the purchase of the historic property through an LLC owned by an anonymous benefactor. The transaction closed today, December 20, and is no longer a demolition threat.

The Wright home will now be transferred to the hands of an Arizona not-for-profit organization responsible for the restoration, maintenance and operation of the structure. The change in ownership guarantees the house will survive and be preserved. Landmark status is expected to follow shortly.

More information on the David Wright House after the break…

Controversial Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Island For Sale

Courtesy of AHALife, via Architizer

It turns out the David Wright House isn’t the only unusual (and controversial) Frank Lloyd Wright-designed gem on the market.

Petre Island (sometimes called Petra Island) is an 11-acre, heart-shaped island 47 miles from Manhattan. While Wright hand-picked the site himself in 1949, and drew up plans for a 5,000 square foot ”dream house” the following year, budget concerns forced him to scale down his vision, resulting in the construction of a smaller guest cottage.

Fast-forward 53 years later, and the island’s new owner, John Massaro, decided to make those long-sitting plans reality;  he hired architect and Wright scholar Thomas Heinz, who used ArchiCAD to model aspects of Wright’s design that weren’t obvious from the original renderings and updated the house with some modern amenities.

While the Foundation refuses to accept the house as authentic (they even tried to sue Massaro for claiming so), that hasn’t stopped AHALife, the web site featuring the island for sale, from proudly selling the “spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house” for $19,900,000 USD.

More images and info on this Wright-designed island, after the break…

David Wright House Again in Danger of Demolition

Courtesy of Time, Inc. via the News Blog

Just when we thought the saga was over, a whole new chapter has begun.

The David Wright House, an unusual home in Arizona that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son, has been in danger since July, when the developer-owners announced their plans to tear it down and split the lot in two. After considerable hubbub caused by preservationists, and an online petition that received thousands of votes, enough pressure was put on the Pheonix City Council to delay demolition until they could vote on whether or not to confer Landmark Designation on the house (this would delay demolition for another three years, but not safeguard the house from demolition).

However, the point became moot when a preservation-minded buyer swooped in to save the day. Now, just two weeks later, the buyer has backed out.

Find out more on the fate of the , after the break…

David Wright Home Sold, (Probably) Saved

The David S. Wright Home in Arcadia, . Photo via Curbd LA.

After months of following the David Wright House‘s brushes with demolition, we’re happy to report that an anonymous, -friendly buyer has bought the house.

According to Real Estate Agent Robert Joffe, who represented the sellers (the developers who wished to split the Frank Lloyd Wright house down the middle), the new owner intends to preserve and restore the home. It sold for its asking price of $2.38 million dollars.

The Pheonix City Council was slated to vote on the house’s landmark designation tomorrow; however, the vote will probably be delayed in light of the sale. As Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio shared with The Pheonix Business Journal, “The next steps are for me and the Mayor to sit down and get some direction from the purchaser in regards to a long-term vision for the property.”

Which is no bad thing – in Pheonix, landmark designation only saves a building for three years. Assuming that the buyer is indeed preservation-minded, the house will be saved for generations to come: the best outcome we could have hoped for for this unusual Wright gem.

Story via The Pheonix Business Journal and The Seattle Times 

Perspectives: The David Wright House

‘Perspectives: The David Wright House’ will be hosted by ASU on November 5, 2012

On November 5, the Design School at State University will be hosting a panel discussion centered around the David Wright House and the question of architectural preservation in the city of . Speakers will include Burton Barr Central Library architect Will Bruder, The Design School’s director, and more. The conversation will touch on efforts have been underway over the last three months in Arizona to preserve the David Wright House, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “ most innovative, unusual and personal works of architecture,” from demolition by developers.

The Latest in the Wright House Demolition Saga: The Developers Tell Their Side

Courtesy of Curbd LA

The David Wright House, a hidden gem that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son, still stands, but its fate remains precarious.

On October 9th, the  Planning Commission met to discuss the proposed landmark designation for the house, an event which attracted over 100 people. According to The New York Times, only 3 people voted against the designation, including the house’s current owners, the developers of 8081 Meridian, John Hoffman and Steve Sells.

When the pair bought the house back in June for only $1.8 million (from the pair the Wright’s granddaughters had sold the house to for $2.8 million), they thought it was “too good to be true.” The property alone could make up to $1.4 million; the pair hoped that by splitting the lot they could make even more.

Unfortunately however, Mr. Sells had no idea of the house’s architectural significance. As he told The New York Times, he didn’t know the difference “between Frank Lloyd Wright and the Wright brothers. ”

More on the Developers’ side of this demolition tale, after the break…

Non-Profit to Buy A Block of Frank Lloyd Wrights

by JOHN AMARANTIDES, 1955. ”The Foundation Archives” (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

While in Arizona developers threaten to split a unique Frank Lloyd Wright Home in two, in , preservationists just can’t get enough Wright.

A non-profit by the name of The Frank Lloyd Wright® Wisconsin Heritage Tourism Program, Inc. has just bought their fourth Wright home on the same Milwaukee block. They’re hoping to buy all six and turn the block into an interpretive center so visitors can enter and experience the homes – all American System-Built Homes that Wright built between 1915 and 1916 as prototypes for his ideas on standardized home design.

While they wait for the necessary approvals from the City of Milwaukee to get restoring their newest acquisition, they’ll rent out the home and spend their time restoring the duplex at the other end of the block. No word yet on when their vision could become reality.

Story via The Wisconsin Gazette, the Journal Sentinel Online, a 

Will Developers Demolish the David Wright House Today?

The David S. Wright Home in Arcadia, Arizona. Image via User SDR on the Save Wright Chat page.

Last we updated you on the David Wright House, the Arizona home Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son, things were looking up – the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC) had gotten the unanimous decision of the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission to recommend Landmark Preservation to the City Council.

Unfortunately, the developer, John Hoffmann of 8081 Meridian, says that really doesn’t matter to him.

According to yesterday’s New York Times article by Michael Kimmelman, Pheonix city policy requires owner consent before designating any building for historic preservation. Since “8081 Meridian never gave its consent, and has no intention of doing so, Mr. Hoffman says he rejects the landmark process outright.”

Hoffman’s demolition permit has been voided by city officials, but he maintains that the permit is legal – it just expires today.

More on the precarious fate of the , after the break…

UPDATE: Progress in Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Effort, Signatures Needed!

The David S. Wright Home in Arcadia, . Photo via Curbd LA

As we’ve reported over the last two months, efforts have been underway in Arizona to preserve the David Wright House, one of ’s “ most innovative, unusual and personal works of architecture,” from demolition by developers. No intact Wright building has ever been intentionally demolished, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC) has been hard at work to make sure this one isn’t the first.

Well, good news! Last month,the FLWBC posted an online petition to the City of Phoenix to bestow historic preservation/landmark designation upon the house. After gaining over 16,000 votes (many from you ArchDaily readers), the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to recommend Landmark designation for the building last week.

But it’s not over yet! The recommendation still has to go to the City Council in November – if it is approved, an automatic three-year delay on any demolition will be granted to the house.

So what can you do in the meantime? The FLWBC has a new goal of 25,000 signatures  (as of now, they’re only 8,000 votes away), so sign the online petition and spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, etc. now!

For more information or to get involved, check out the SAVE WRIGHT page.

Video: Darwin Martin House / Frank Lloyd Wright

based artist and director Jonathan Turner highlights the details of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House (1903-05) in , New York. Part of a multi-structure estate, the Martin House serves as a prime example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie House ideal, with strong horizontal lines and planes, deeply overhanging eaves, a central hearth, prominent foundation, and a sheltering, cantilevered roof. Although the complex suffered considerable damage over the decades, the Martine House Restoration Corporation (MHRC) has raised funds for a complete restoration of the complex, which began in 1997 and continues on today.

Frank Lloyd Wright Archives relocate to New York

by JOHN AMARANTIDES, 1955. ”The Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)”

The Museum of Modern Art, Columbia University and The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation have announced that the vast archives of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) have been jointly acquired by the University and the Museum and will become part of their permanent collections. The archive, which includes some 23,000 architectural drawings, 44,000 historical photographs, large-scale models, manuscripts, extensive correspondence and other documents, has remained in storage at Wright’s former headquarters – Taliesin (Spring Green, WI) and Taliesin West (Scottsdale, AZ) – since his death. Moving the archives to New York will maximize the visibility and research value of the collection for generations of scholars, students and the public.

“The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation takes seriously its responsibility to serve the public good by ensuring the best possible conservation, accessibility, and impact of one of the most important and meaningful archives in the world,” said Sean Malone, CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “Given the individual strengths, resources and abilities of the Foundation, MoMA and Columbia, it became clear that this collaborative stewardship is far and away the best way to guarantee the deepest impact, the highest level of conservation and the best public access.”

Continue after the break for more images and an informative video. 

UPDATE: Save A Frank Lloyd Wright! Sign the Petition Now!

The David S. Wright Home in Arcadia, Arizona. Photo via Curbd LA.

As we reported last month, one of ’s more unusual architectural specimens, the David Wright House (designed for his son), is in imminent risk of demolition by developers.

While any Frank Lloyd Wright deserves to be preserved in our opinion, this quirky house, which Neil Levine, architectural historian and Harvard professor, went so far as to describe as one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most innovative, unusual and personal works of architecture” offers us an important glimpse into Wright’s development. Because of its circular spiral plan (completed six years before the Guggenheim), concrete-block detailing, and interior design, the house was (and still is) considered to be one of Wright’s most “remarkable and praiseworthy” efforts since Fallingwater.

Although the situation is dire, work done by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy has awarded a temporary demo delay while the City of decides whether to bestow historic preservation and landmark designation upon the house. This is where you come in. An online petition to the City of Phoenix has been set-up; as of right now, they’re 360 signatures short of their 1,000 person goal.

For almost 40 years no intact Wright building has been intentionally demolished. Let’s make sure we don’t start with this one. Sign the online petition (and then share it on Facebook, twitter, etc.), now!

For more information or to get involved, check out the SAVE WRIGHT page. For more images (including sketches) of the David Wright House, check out the gallery after the break…