Save the Date for KCMODERN June Events

June is proving to be a big month for KCMODERN. We have partnered on a couple great events and we are planning a wonderful roadtrip. Please join us for:

Friday June 4, 2010, 10:00 AM in Wichita, Kansas
In-Depth Tour of the Allen-Lambe House by Frank Lloyd Wright
Tour to be given to KCMODERN enthusiasts by Howard Ellington, Executive Director of the Allen-Lambe House Foundation and Architect of the Allen-Lambe House Restoration.

Friday June 4, 2010, 6:30 PM in Newton, Kansas
Charles Phoenix Slide Show in Kansas
Roadtrip with us to see this great show.

Sunday, June 6, 2010, 2:00 to 4:00 PM at Hudson Home
Modernism 1.1: Modern Interior Design that Endures
Sponsored by Knoll Studio, Knoll Textiles and Hudson Home

Tuesday June 15, 2010, 5:30 to 7:00 PM at UMKC Campus
Katz Hall-UMKC Grand Re-Opening
5005 Rockhill Road KCMO
Tour Katz Hall, formerly Katz School of Pharmacy, built in 1965 by architects Kivett and Myers. The Mid-Century Modern building has been renovated to house the UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design .

Eric Lloyd Wright to lecture about his grandfather, Frank Lloyd Wright in Wichita

Architect, Eric Lloyd Wright, The grandson of Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright and son of Los Angeles Architect, Lloyd Wright will be presenting a lecture at Wichita State University on May 8, 2010. An Open House Reception will follow at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Allen Lambe House.

Two special events:

Saturday, May 8, 2010 1:00 pm
Lecture: Eric Lloyd Wright
“Thoughts on My Grandfather”
Campus Activities Center Theater,
Wichita State University Campus
Admission to lecture is free.

Saturday, May 8, 2010 2:30 – 5:00 pm
Open House and Reception
with Eric Lloyd Wright
The Allen-Lambe House Museum
255 N. Roosevelt, Wichita, KS 67208
Refreshments on the terrace and
self-guided tours.
$25 general public and $20 admission for Allen-Lambe House and Ulrich Museum members.
Ticket price is a birthday gift for the 20th Anniversary and benefit for restoration of The Allen-Lambe House.

Advance reservations required by calling 316-706-9286;
Reservation deadline is Wednesday, May 5, 2010.

Happy New Year from All Your Friends at KCMODERN!

I took these photos over the Christmas Holiday as the snows started to build up and drifts began to grow. This particular area on the roof of our mid-century modern ranch is a drainage point for two gables and prone to wind drifts during snow and heavy wind. I wanted to share what I thought was a lovely snow veil cantilevered from the roof.

The icicles grow...somehow a metaphor for the year as it goes by...
We wish you a Happy, Healthy and Abundant New Year!
...We were talking the other day about upcoming events for 2010 ( check back soon for announcements on our late winter events) when we reflected on 2009 and the fun we had...Here is a short list of our efforts:
In February, there was "Memphis in Missouri, " an open event at the home of our friend Rod, showcasing his collection of Ettore Sottass designed furniture and decorative accents, along with other great 80's artists and designers.
In March we hosted a modern tour for the architectural students from Iowa State University and our friend and professor of architecture, Dan Naegele.
KCModern co-hosted an April tour of architecturally important houses, Louis Curtiss, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer, Jones and Emmons, Clarence Kivett, Bruce Goff, Edward Tanner and Barry Byrne, (see previous posts) for the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy Spring Meetings, including reception dinners at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Bott and Sondern-Adler houses.
In April, we planned and recorded an audio/visual oral history of Ted Seligson, architect FAIA/educator, preservationist and wonderful man.
In June we partied with our first "Martini Modern" at the wonderful home in KCMO designed by William S. Beckett. Part of the proceeds from the event was for the benefit of the Historic Kansas City Foundation.
In August we began our co-sponsored film events with the AIGA.
September was the David B. Runnells House Tour and reception at the "All-Climate Home" with our special guest Jill (Runnells) Grose.
November was our "Showcasing Green" Event at the Studio 804 designed house in KCKS.
At this time we are in the process of seeking not-for-profit status.
This will help us in our quest for continued research and advocacy for modern architecture and preservation of our modern assets...
As we build our calender of events, please let us know what you would be interested in... and look forward to a fun filled and educational KCModern 2010... We wish you the very best the New Year has to offer!

Ennis House by Frank Lloyd Wright - Textile Block Masterpiece For Sale in LA

We have spoke about Frank Lloyd Wright's textile block, Ennis House before when we discussed the Best Houses of all time in LA. Well it seems that the not-for-profit foundation that owns the house thinks that the restoration project before them is just too big and that the house, built in 1924, would be better served by a wealthy patron owner. The house has been listed for sale at a measly $15 million and it is estimated that it will only take another $5 or $6 million to get it into livable shape. This on top of the 6.5 million that the foundation has already put into repairs to the house. This irreplaceable house has been heavily damaged by earthquakes and soil erosion, not to mention the crumbling concrete blocks that were cast on site.

Scott is going to write some more about this house and in the mean time I will look for my photos from a visit to the house a few years ago.

Photographed by Robert McLaughlin

Ted Seligson-Architect FAIA- Telling the Story of KC's Mid-Century Architecture

KCModern just completed a Video-Oral History with Ted Seligson, Architect, and Professor of Architecture at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. We recorded a two and a half hour interview in the conservatory at Epperson House, UMKC. In the photo above, Tom James ( Creative Media Services) our videographer prepares Ted for the recording. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Ted began work (1948) for Kivett, Myers and McCallum, soon becoming head of design for the firm. Below, for K&M he designed the Gerson Building in the Miesian manner and incorporated the tiles as influenced by Edward Durell Stone's 1958-59 award winning embassy in New Delhi, India.

Ted started his own office in 1962 at the New York Life building, later moving to the Power and Light building. Some examples of Seligson and Associates work: The two photos below show a custom "lifestyle" home he did in 1978-79, near Johnson Dr. and Foster in Merriam, KS. Difficult to photo and with numerous additions, it is hard to see his original concept featuring numerous curved "sky-windows" covering galleries, etc. He also designed the interiors.
This is a wonderful site with extensive natural landscaping overlooking a pond.
The tasteful and nicely scaled building below was built in 1978 for the Koch Equipment Company on a difficult site, (many of us have driven by 100's of times on I-35 Hwy) bordered by light industrial on one side and a highway on the other. Note: Ted's window arrangement and favorite doors at the time.
A much larger commission for the Seaboard Allied Milling Company building(1978-80) with wraparound ribbon windows, recessed first floor on the facade, all electric heating and cooling, an interior landscape of partitions with a central skylight
Ted noted the off-center entry canopy and stated the firm often tried to introduce irony and humor in the their architecture. There are those doors again...
The house below was built in 1994 on a large golf course lot in Hallbrook subdivision, Leawood, KS. Ted, in his "cheeky" way, said the owner was adamant about having white brick.

Ted has a unique place in Kansas City architectural history. He was young enough and enthusiastic enough to explore and question directly, many architects considered "Masters" today...such as Bruce Goff, Mies Van der Rohe, Louis Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright and he had direct interaction with noted architects: Helmut Jahn, Michael Graves, Steve Holl and Gunnar Birketts, to name a few. His skills were good enough to work for a prominent local modernist firm (K&M) at a young age, and he shared his first independant office with Bruce Goff... living and dying by the telephone, as so many architects have... In addition, he believes his preservation work has been very important, including his efforts to preserve Union Station in KCMO and the Wainwright Building in St. Louis, MO. All I can say is his anecdotes are priceless... He is truly a gentleman and a scholar... We extend a HUGE KCModern salute to Mr. Seligson and his life's work.

Frank Bott Residence Exteriors by Frank Lloyd Wright

Name: Frank Bott Residence
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Date Designed: 1956-60
Builder: Unknown
Date Completed: 1963
Size: Unknown
Location: Kansas City, MO
Type: Residential
Style: Organic
Status: Good condition with a diligent owner
Photographed by: Robert McLaughlin

The interior photos of the Bott Residence have proved to be very popular, but we did not get any exteriors that day because KCMODERN was there at dusk. So I dug back in our photo archive and found these photos from a trip to the house with noted architecture author, Alan Hess. Alan is known for some of his books on Frank Lloyd Wright among others. We were there on a beautiful Fall day and we enjoyed the house very much, Unfortunately, the entry courtyard faces north, so it is tough shooting photographs into the low fall sun.

Some exterior photos deleted at owner's request.

Frank Bott Residence Interiors by Frank Lloyd Wright - Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Leadership Circle Event

Name: Frank Bott Residence
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Date Designed: 1956-60
Builder: Unknown
Date Completed: 1963
Size: Unknown
Location: Kansas City, MO
Type: Residential
Style: Organic
Status: Good condition with a diligent owner
Photographed by: Robert McLaughlin

Some of the KCMODERN crew helped with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Leadership Circle Event a little over a week ago at the Frank Bott House. Here are some interior photos that I quickly snapped off before the guests started to arrive.

Frank Bott met his wife Eloise at the Wright designed Florida Southern College. Not much has been written about this design, but it is documented that Eloise had Wright narrow the kitchen or “work space” after the first design so she could reach everything by turning.

Construction is “rubble” stone desert masonry, consisting of over a mile of stone farm wall brought in from the Flint Hills of Kansas. The interior woodwork is Honduran Mahogany. The home features many mahogany built-ins and horizontal batten paneling that give the home an almost yacht-like feel.

The home, which is situated north of downtown Kansas City on a bluff above the Missouri River Valley, presents a rather austere facade with battered desert masonry walls and a large stone fireplace mass facing the street at the north edge of the site. Living areas face south with glazed views of the Kansas City Skyline, the downtown airport and the Missouri River below. A daring cantilevered balcony, rivaling Fallingwater's, projects boldly towards the views to the south and out over the dramatic escarpment of the site. The master bedroom is located with the main living areas at the entry level, with the secondary bedrooms located on a lower level, which daylights because of the sloping site. The plan of the house is based on a 4 foot square module.

Taliesin apprentice, John Howe did preliminary drawings for the Bott residence. The final version of the design and working drawings were done by apprentice, Cornelia Brierly. The drawings were completed in 1960, the year after Wright’s death in 1959. Construction was completed in 1963, costing just over $200,000.

All of the furniture in the house was designed by Wright and is original to the house. Cornelia Brierly also provided color and fabric choices for Wright’s designs. Many of the furniture pieces are reminiscent of the furniture line Wright did for mass production by Heritage Henredon.

Thanks to Scott Lane for help on the details about the house.

Interior photos have been deleted at the owner's request. Please see the exterior photos here.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen-Lambe House in Miniature

Recently I took my family to Exploration Place, a children's science museum by Architect, Moshe Safdie in Wichita, Kansas. I was surprised to find a miniature of Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen-Lambe House in an exhibit called Kansas in Miniature. The model was part of a model train exhibit done in HO scale-1:87. It was nice to see this unexpected view of one of the last Prairies School Houses by the Master. The unusual (for FLW) courtyard plan may be more understandable in these birds eye views than it is in photos or from the street. This museum and the Allen-Lambe house might be of note to people taking the jaunt down to the Wichita portion of Out and About Wright: Kansas City Tour on Sunday April 19, 2009.

Victor Beutner, Architect- "What's the Story on That House"?

Driving in KCMO on 39th Street east of Troost, you'll come across this home by architect Victor Beutner, who built it for himself in 1911. An example of the Prairie Style, this house is built of wood, masonry and stucco.
Today, the cedar tree is still there, the trellis is missing and "burglar" bars have been installed on the windows. This is an interesting area in our city, clearly wealthy and progressive in it's time. The form and mass of the structure is strongly reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's design for Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois which was built on a flat site... this is built on what today we would call a "walkout" lot. It's fascinating to think this was the suburb of it's day.

Frank Lloyd Wright Book, "The Women" by T.C. Boyle, Reviewed by Ward Sutton in "Daddy Frank and the Curse of Sex"

There seems to be a rush of Frank Lloyd Wright books lately. And then there is the rumor of an option to produce a feature length movie. Who should we hire to play Mr. Wright himself?

The latest book is The Women by T.C. Boyle. Barnes and Noble chose to promote the book with an interview, review and hiring cartoonist and illustrator, Ward Sutton to give his take on the book with a graphic novelette, "Daddy Frank and the Curse of Sex".
Click Here for the Slide Show.

Ward Sutton’s cartoons and illustrations have appeared in the Village Voice, TV Guide, Rolling Stone, Time, Esquire, The New Yorker, and on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times.

Community Christian Church by Frank Lloyd Wright - Modern Photo of the Week

KCMODERN friend, SkyVu, aka Jim Seelen, let us borrow this recent photo from his Flickr Photostream. Most of you will recognize it as Frank Lloyd Wright's Community Christian Church from from Main Street and the Country Club Plaza.

Name: Community Christian Church
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Year Designed: 1940
Builder: Ben Wiltscheck, contractor for the Johnson Wax Complex
Year Built: 1941
Size: Unknown
Location: Main Street at the Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, MO
Type: Religious
Style: Modern
Status: Good
Photographer: Jim Seelen

Here is our description from the KCMODERN website.

The concept for the Community Christian Church represents Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision for a “church of the future” built of modern materials. Planned as a low cost steel frame structure with walls of a concrete material called gunite sprayed over a wire mesh, the church embraced the growing “car culture.” The design called for the ultimate convenience for parishioners by providing parking terraces to allow members to travel from car to sanctuary without being exposed to the weather. Unfortunately the terraces were never built. The hexagonal plan created a dramatic interior space which feels more like an intimate concert hall than a church with its auditorium style seating and stage-like alter. An organic, sculptural skylight sits over the alter of the church. As originally planned, a light tower was to be fitted with powerful lights creating a spire. Due to blackouts in World War II, this never was realized until local artist, Dale Eldred, designed a lighting solution similar to the original design, which was installed in 1994.

Modern Photo of the Week - Vintage Allen-Lambe House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Name: Allen-Lambe House
also known as the Henry J. Allen Residence
Allen was Governor of Kansas from 1919-1923 and a United States Senator from 1929-1930
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Year Designed: 1915
Year Built: 1918
Location: 255 North Roosevelt,Wichita Kansas
Type: Residential
Style: Prairie Style (this is a very late FLW Prairie Style House)
Status: Excellent and open for tours by appointment
Photographer: Unknown

Henry J. Allen Residence, located at 255 North Roosevelt. This residence was designed by architect, Frank Lloyd Wright in the Prairie House style. It took two years to complete. Allen was Governor of Kansas from 1919-1923 and a United States Senator from 1929-1930

Bartlesville Christmas-Wright and Goff: Then and Now

There are great buildings in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. You can drive around and see some very interesting architecture. I can't mention architecture in this town without mentioning the Price Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright's "Prairie Skyscraper", very artistic and great scale...They now have a hotel and restaurant on the top floors and a very cool museum on the first two floors.
Nearby is the Bartlesville Community Center designed by Taliesin Architects, notably Wes Peters, Wright's son-in-law.Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruce Goff is ever present in the town, whether it's work by them or architects influenced by them at the University of Oklahoma or other schools nearby.
I had heard Goff's Motsenbocker house had sold recently and went by to check it out... Very interesting house and the rear of the house, on the second floor which is ground level, it has a pool... now real estate beige, the original was redwood stain and a turquoise trim with beautiful masonry...
Just north of Bartlesville is a town called Dewey. That is where Goff's Comer house is located, it is in nearly vintage condition. These two homes were designed one after the other...Comer and Motsenbacker, in 1957, which is interesting to compare how Goff reacted to different programs, budgets and sites.Two doors down the street from the Motsenbocker house is a David Runnels(architect from Kansas City) designed house that was remodeled by Bruce Goff in 1959. From the front, it's all Goff in this extensive remodel, from clear glass ashtrays in the doors and wood panels to strong geometric elements in the overall fabric of the design. (click on images to enlarge)

The Best Houses of All Time in L.A.

It seems customary these days for newspapers and blogs to present all of their top ten lists at the end of the calendar year. Here is one list that I could not help but post here.

The Best Houses of All Time in L.A.
According to the Los Angeles Times panel of experts
Click here for the LA Times Article

What intrigued me most was that all of the houses were Modern or near Modern (ala Gamble House). I also could not help but notice that most of these houses were on my list of must sees when I have been in LA. So I have included one of my photographs of each of the houses that I have visited along with the list.

1: Kings Road House, Rudolph Schindler, West Hollywood, 1921-22

2. Kaufmann House, Richard Neutra, Palm Springs, 1946

3. Ennis House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Los Feliz, 1924

4. Eames House (Case Study House No. 8), Charles and Ray Eames, Pacific Palisades, 1949

5. Stahl House (Case Study House No. 22), Pierre Koenig, Hollywood Hills, 1960
I have not been here yet, but will definitely see this on my next trip to LA. More on that later.

6. Gamble House, Charles and Henry Greene, Pasadena, 1908
I love the work of Greene & Greene, but I have not made it to Pasadena yet.

7. Chemosphere, John Lautner, Hollywood Hills, 1960
Believe me I will find this one soon too, but I hear it is very hard to see.

8. Kappe House; Ray Kappe, Pacific Palisades, 1968

9. Dodge House, Irving Gill, West Hollywood, 1916 (demolished 1970)
Well, since it was demolished when I was seven, I will just have to enjoy the photos of others.

10. Hollyhock House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Hollywood, 1921

KCMODERN and Houston's FLW Thaxton House

On a road trip to sister Marilyn's house in Tomball, Texas over Thanksgiving, we stopped by the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Houston. It was built in 1954 by William Thaxton, an insurance executive, for $125,000. FLW received a $25,000 fee. It is in an exclusive area of Houston called Bunker Hill Village on a picturesque 1.2 acre lot. Most of the original houses have been torn down and McMansions now reside on every street. In 1991, within days of the scheduled tear down, it sold to a doctor who saved the house. The original house, which was a parallelogram of 1800 square feet, was saved, the courtyard and the pool were all left original except for a doorway on each end of the house which was cut to a new 10,000 square foot addition. The addition wrapped around the courtyard from each end of the house.
The design on the gate was the best indication it was a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

Speeding along the Oklahoma Turnpike, speed limit of 75 (woohoo!!), we saw the famous Vinita McDonald's Golden Arches on I-44. Built originally as a Howard Johnsons, it was converted into a McDonald's. The golden arches stretch across the entire road. It claimed to be the largest McDonald's until the Russians built one bigger which has been rumored to have contributed towards the end of the Cold War. Charles Phoenix take note!

Welcome to the New KCMODERN Blog

As we approach the beginning of our fourth year, KCMODERN has been contemplating how to best grow our web presence and reach new members. After three years of the painful and expensive task of updating and upgrading the present website, we have decided to move our efforts to a new KCMODERN blog format. The old site will remain, but will be supplemented by the new blog.

We hope this move will make KCMODERN’s web presence a more frequently updated and dynamic experience for our readers. It will allow us to keep members informed of upcoming events, add new information about great Modern architecture in our area and allow us to do some new things. Please watch for new regular features like the Modern Photo of the Week, Modern House Photo Tours and Modern Roadtrips.

Please add us to your blog roll, subscribe to our RSS feed, leave comments and by all means, check with us frequently. The blog will be our primary way of posting KCMODERN news and upcoming events from this point on. And if you are feeling really ambitious, submit your own article related to Modern architecture and design for us to post.

Also, please make sure we have your current email address so that we can reach you about events between blog visits.

Your KCMODERN founders Robert, Scott and Bob at the top of the Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma