A 60-year-old Arizona home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright has become the subject of one of the hottest preservation battles in the country. (Well, that along with our own dust-up over the fate of the iconic former Prentice Women's Hospital.)
The unusual David and Gladys Wright House — Wright designed the Phoenix residence for one of his sons — was purchased earlier this year by a custom home builder who sought to demolish the structure, subdivide its two-acre site and build a pair of houses there. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Chicago-based Frank Lloyd Wright Building conservancy have sounded the alarm.
Watch the video above and it is easy to see why. Completed in 1952, the Wright Home is made from concrete block. A spiral ramp not unlike the one in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City leads to the home's second floor.
The west suburban town of Maywood often gets viewed through the narrow lenses of crime and — as the Chicago Sun-Times reported a month ago — shocking municipal mismanagement.
All that tends to overshadow one of the village's best assets: It's architecture. The 140-year-old town located on the west edge of the Des Plaines River has some insanely overlooked high-quality examples of pre-World War II building design, ranging from neat Craftsman bungalows to stately Prairie School homes that can complete with those found in nearby Oak Park and River Forest.
Which brings me today's video, The Historic Homes of Maywood, sent by Tom Kus, chairman of the Maywood Historic Preservation Commission. It's a well-done piece that does right by the town — and those there who are working to preserve and enhance Maywood's buildings. My favorite is the Cluever House at 12:57 in the video, designed by architect John Van Bergen.
"It kind of gives you a nice overview of the community from an architectural and historic perspective," Kus said of the video.
Check it out and enjoy.
A day before sitting behind the drumkit for two of Bruce Springsteen's sold-out concerts at Wrigley Field last weekend, E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg entertained a small audience at Oak Park's Unity Temple.
"Besides being my generation's biggest Beatles fan, I happen to be a true Frank Lloyd Wright nerd — I mean 'aficionado,'" Weinberg told a group of about 150 people assembled in the auditorium of the Wright-designed church at 875 Lake St. last Thursday.
Weinberg's lecture was part of the "Break the Box" series of distinguished speakers, sponsored by the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation.
The New Jersey native said he has been a devotee of the architect since childhood, when a relative allowed him to visit the Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York while the modernist masterpiece was still under construction. As a teenager, he'd search out Prairie School architecture with his high school buddy and future film producer (and fellow Wright devotee), Joel Silver.
Weinberg said traveling with the E Street Band allowed him to visit Wright homes in buildings across the country.
Check out the above clip from the 1964 film Soy Cuba.
That astounding, unbroken camera shot is the stuff of cinema legend, to which sequences like the opening scene in Boogie Nights and the nightclub entrance in GoodFellas pay homage. The joint Soviet/Cuban production tells four self-contained stories of Cubans who are oppressed — but who ultimately fighting back against the corrupt, late '50s, pre-Castro (and non-communist) government.
The film ("I am Cuba" in English) was designed to serve as a dramatic reminder of why — in the eyes of the filmmakers — the Castro revolution was needed and, as such, is one of the finest straight propaganda films made. But the movie wasn't much of a hit in the USSR or Cuba and was seldom seen in this country, given the film's anti-American sentiment. Fortunately, Directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese rescued the film in 1995 and restored it. (My former Sun-Times colleague Roger Ebert reviewed the film for its 1995 re-release.)
Why talk about this film here?
City officials Thursday will seek landmark protection for a vacant 130-year-old Gold Coast residence under threat of demolition.
Staffers from the city's landmarks division will ask the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to grant preliminary landmark status to the three-story, Tudor-styled Augustus Warner House, 1337 N. Dearborn Parkway, according to a draft agenda of the commission's meeting today.
The narrow, three-story Warner House caught the attention of city officials in June when the building's owner, developer Bart Przyjemski, applied for a permit to demolish the structure. Built in 1884 and designed by architect Lawrence Gustav Hallberg, the home is rated "orange" in the city's Historic Resources Survey — the document's second highest rating — which triggered an automatic review of the demolition permit by landmarks officials.
Sandwiched between a four-story 1880s limestone residential building and a slit-windowed 15-story condo tower built in 1972, the Warner House has been marketed as a redevelopment site in recent years.