Bob Wendt-House Designer/Builder-Part 2

This home was designed by Roger Wilken, Architect and with certain adjustments suggested, built by Bob Wendt. This pin-wheel plan featured great indoor/outdoor views and multiple patios, with "japanese" steps down to them as he did in the Graves and Morgan houses, which are nearby. Around this time Bob complained about getting skilled craftsmen that could complete his plans with quality workmanship, often doing the work himself.

Below- Detail of chimney. Bob liked stone masonry and used it in most of his designs.

The house below is in Mission Hills, KS near 63rd and Aberdeen. Bob "loved a good gable" and this house is the ultimate example of that...a double gabled roof on the large public space and a gallery, low and private are for the bedrooms, walkout basement on the north side, with loads of light and a beautiful pool area with cabana. The "Barefoot Contessa" recently did a fundraiser/cooking show at this house ...

Below is Bob's own home built in the late fifties. In many ways it was an experimental house due to its unusual building components. We will be featuring some of these houses individually to show that Bob's work has merit and should be appreciated for his perfectionism in construction and design ability. A number of years ago I talked with Eugene Young, Architect and he told me a story about going to see Bob at his office behind the Westwood shops in the mid-sixties. He quoted Bob as saying "Architects don't like me because I'm not an Architect and Builders don't like me because I can design a good house and insure the quality of construction for an owner.

Photography by Bob Greenspan and Scott Lane

Bob Wendt-House Designer/Builder-Part 1

Robert Edward Wendt was born in Herington, Ks, 1924. After graduating high school he enlisted in the Army Air Corp in 1941 after bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served mostly on the island of Guam as the crew chief of a B-29 Bomber. When he returned from service he obtained his Architectural Engineering degree while working as Don Drummond's first foreman. While working with Don, Bob met Lloyd Roark, a prominent local architect. Roarke offered Bob the job of contractor and builder for a home he had on the drawing board. They worked on several jobs until Bob decided he wanted to design, draft and build from his own plans. His reputation and career evolved at that point. His brother Don a master carpenter came to work for him and did beautiful custom cabinet work. The house seen above and below was built for Dan Tyler in 1961.
Behind the stone walls that flank the entrance (below) are patios accessed from the bedrooms.

Long and low the house screams shelter and privacy...originally the large sliding glass doors opened to a large semi-circular aggregate patio.

Bob was never interested in building tract or speculative homes, only "Custom Built Homes for Owners" was what his signs and cards said. Most of Bob's homes were located in Prairie Village and Mission Hills, KS. These Homes (above and below) were built in Town and Country Estates.

This was the former home of Ray and Betty Pitman. The boomerang shaped home stretched across the corner lot. The clerestory addition on the left roofline came later. The pictures speak for themselves, this is a cool house...

The only homes Bob ever constructed for sale were also his last he ever designed and built. These two contemporay homes are located on a private cul-de-sac in Prairie Village, Ks near 67th and Nall. Plans and photos were featured in various magazines and publications, Both houses sold before they were built. The one shown below was the home of Dean Graves, FAIA. The other house was purchased by Myra and Jim Morgan, former owners of the Morgan Gallery. You might recall the large "yard-art" sculptures on the lot in front of these homes.

Photography by Bob Greenspan and Scott Lane
Some details provided by Maudell Wendt

Kansas City Homes and Gardens September/October Issue-1991 Drummond Stroll

Speaking of magazines, I found this one in a pile of stuff I saved. It featured a neighborhood tour and get together we had in was the first effort to tour and promote the houses of Ninety-Eighth Place. It couldn't have been better when in 2005 we had a KCModern Tour of the neighborhood (the houses never looked better) and hosted our special guest, Don Drummond. I talked to him the other day and he said to tell everyone hello...he'll be 95 this October and still seems spunky on the phone. I apologize for the quality, the pages have seen a few storms...Click to enlarge the pages.

Perfect Home- Real Estate Brochures from the 1960's

A friend gave me some "magazines" he found while cleaning out his wife's grandmother's house, as it turned out it was a small stack of promotional real estate magazines called The Perfect Home Magazine, published and presented by Jackson and Scherer, Real Estate-Insurance-Building. Apparently the publication was paid for by numerous sponsors. Averaging about ten to twelve pages per issue, I guess I should call them brochures. The color cover featured houses that were in the KC area but most of them were not, as seen below...

I love the photo below, the issue features exterior skylights, I'm not sure this small circular one has much impact other than visually.

About the fifth magazine down in the pile, I found this one featuring the Marcel Breuer designed house on Belinder in Mission Hills, KS. The home was 8 years old when this issue came out in May, 1962. It was never for sale and and is still owned by the original clients. Inside there are no stories, features or more photos of the house.

They do have great little stories and features covering a wide variety of topics, all in black and white. The magazine has nice photography with very little attribution.

Below: There's even a quiz to see how up to date you are...

I have never heard of this company. They have a Kansas City, KS address on the cover. If anyone has any info, please send in your remarks...A BIG salute to Jackson and Scherer!

Kansas City Modern Icon ranks #18 Worldwide

Steven Holl's Bloch Addition to Kansas City's Nelson-Atkins Art Museum just made Vanity Fair's list of of the 21 best structures built in the last 30 years!

Vanity Fair asked 52 "experts" to choose the five most important buildings since 1980. The team named 132 different structures. Kansas City's relative new Modern Icon ranked number 18 in the world with 3 votes!

Slide Show

Who voted and for what buildings
(and see who voted for themselves)

Read the entire article

So long White Haven Motor Lodge - Modernism at Risk on Metcalf

I am ashamed to say that I have had a series of posts planned about the Metcalf strip that included the White Haven Motor Lodge for over a year. Time and energy have worked against me lately on getting these posts adequately researched and photographed.

Unfortunately it is now time to say goodbye to the White Haven Motor Lodge. The sign and all of the contents of the motel will be sold this week at auction. Demolition of the motel is probably inevitable at this point. Sad to think that in this economy demolition will happen so that a vacant lot can sit there for another five years or more.

I wonder if any traction can be gained to purchase this sign and keep it in the area where it belongs!

Katz Hall Preview - 1965 Building by Architects, Kivett and Myers

Join KCMODERN in celebrating a successful Mid-Century Modern adaptive reuse.

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.

MODERNISM 1.1: Modern Interior Design that Endures Sponsored by Knoll Studio, Knoll Textiles and Hudson Home

Please Join us for
MODERNISM 1.1: Modern Interior Design that Endures
Sponsored by KnollStudio, KnollTextiles and Hudson Home

Presentations on the history of Classic KnollStudio Furniture and KnollTextiles.

See and experience Twentieth Century Modern Masterpieces.

Learn about designs by Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Warren Platner and Jens Risom.

Touch and hear about KnollTextiles designed in the 1940's and 1950's that are still in production today.

See Twenty-First Century design pieces that will be the classics of tomorrow.

Free Admission, Door Prizes, Food and Drink to be provided by Knoll Studio, Knoll Textiles and Hudson Home.

Sunday, June 6, 2010, 2:00 to 4:00 PM
Hudson Home
1500 Grand Boulevard
(2nd Floor above Retro Inferno)
Kansas City, MO 64108-1404
(816) 421-3629

We request that you please RSVP by clicking on the link below.



KCMODERN regulars will be making the trek down to Newton, Kansas for the Show.

Charles Phoenix’s Retro Slide Show will be the keynote address at this year’s Preservation at the Crossroads of America Conference in Newton, Kansas.

Check out Charles as he super-charges the classic living room slide show into a live, laugh-out-loud celebration of mid-century American life and style … car culture, space age suburbia, fast food stands, drive-ins, theme parks, local landmarks and legends and much more! Festive dress is always encouraged but not expected!

Friday, June 4, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.
Preservation at the Crossroads of America Conference
Lindley Hall in Newton, Kansas

Price $50, includes social hour, banquet and Charles’ slide show performance

For tickets call Billi Jo Wilson, The Newton Chamber of Commerce, 316-283-2560

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 .

Kansas City Star Magazine does feature on 60's Modern Architecture

photo by shane keyser | the star

Visit photo gallery here

Do You Remember...?

Do you remember this unique home? Loved it or hated it, it became a modern landmark for over twenty years...while driving on Hwy I-35 just west of downtown, you could see this modern house that for many years stood sentinal over the city's westside. I met the owner back in 1980-81, but cannot remember his name. I recall it being said that he was the designer/builder...does anyone know the name of the architect, designer, etc? I would love to hear from you...
The ground floor was a garage, support plinth was storage on different levels with a staircase and elevator for more convenient access to the living spaces. The roof top deck was breathtaking to me probably because of the "open" feeling, especially prior to the railing installation...I'm weird about heights and though I loved the interiors and could imagine a winter evening inside looking at the distant traffic and Christmas lights, I found it unsettling on the rooftop deck, like being on a heliopad on top of a building.

These photos were taken when the property had changed hands to developers and they were using the house to market the views and intending on demolishing the house. It was torn down a couple of years ago to make way for a five house development of "historic styled" city homes. I may be wrong about the details but for years not many developers would invest in this area. In the last 10 years the area has had renewed interest with many people seeking an urban lifestyle. The Westside area has some very unique architecture, from century old small brick homes, looming shingle style mansions to "Dwell" style houses. This house as a landmark has been replaced with a large, less dramatic modern house just to the south.
Below: Looking south, Crown Center on the left, the World War I Memorial and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill designed BMA Tower (now One Park Place Condiminiums) and so much more were easily seen from what was truly a viewing platform.
Here's to people with an idea and the guts (and money) to get it realized!

Bob Wendt- House Designer/Builder "What's the Story on That House"

Located near 67th and Nall in Prairie Village, KS a fine group of three mid-century modern houses was planned for construction at this site, a former apple orchard. The planner,designer and builder was Bob Wendt. To connect some dots, Bob was Don Drummond's first foreman. Educated as an engineer, Bob was fond of post and beam construction., precision was his hallmark. In 1967 he was building this house when Dean Graves, architect FAIA approached and inquired about buying the home and incorporating some of his ideas. To the west of this house on a small culdesac, Jim and Myra Morgan, art collector/gallery owner, bought the mirror image of this house. The homes sit far from the street down a long driveway and many people will remember the monumental sculptures the Morgans displayed in the vacant lot on 67th St. The third house planned for that lot never got built. The lot and Morgan's house were sold after her death a few years ago.
Dean and Ginny Graves house. This photo shows the car court featuring stainless steel art.
The stone wall on the right hid the side entry carport, now repurposed as an office, an adjoining garage was constructed. Note the unusual sidewalk aggregate/brick design.

Below you see the door to the office and the garage addition. The original siding is hardwood board and batt, with the batts on end instead their slab sides, very distinctive with great shadow lines.

Rear of house...
Living Room with danish fireplace and semi-circular stone wall...Lots of floor to ceiling windows
provide natural light and sweeping views of the parklike rear yards.

Bob often used stone aggregate slabs as a dramatic visual effect. This house served the family well for over 40 years and the Graves have recently decided to move. Bob Wendt's work is worth further study and I plan to feature him in an upcoming post...he designed and built some great modern houses during his career. These houses in this post represent the last homes he ever built...

Robert Harvey Oshatz- Architect Part Three

Some random photos of Bob and guests enjoying the architecture...some interesting detail pics...

This series of images does not compare to the images found on Bob's website. He opened his architectural firm in 1971 and has done some distinctive work...
Check out his website to see green sustainable/organic architecture:
To learn more about organic architecture go to:

Robert Harvey Oshatz- Architect Part One

A good friend of mine David Milstead, architect and Director on the Board of Friends of Kebyar, recently went to Oregon to work with Bob Oshatz on some models for projects in the works. He sent me these photos. I don't know the various projects but I do know Oshatz's work is provocative, exuberant and just downright eyecatching...Influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruce Goff, he has assimilated ideas to create his own unique brand of Organic Architecture. His work is never dull and always cool.

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.

KC Film Fest - Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture

Join KCMODERN in supporting the Kansas City FilmFest by attending a new film about one of America's best Architects, Louis Sullivan. Frank Lloyd Wright, who worked in Sullivan's office, referred to Louis Sullivan as "Leiber Meister" or "My Master." A small group of KCMODERN folks will be be gathering in the lobby before the movie. Be sure to buy tickets in advance.

Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture
a film by Mark Richard Smith

“In the Gilded Age, one architect’s vision of freedom and the American landscape brought him success, failure, and an unforgettable place in history”For anyone interested in historic architecture, don’t miss this opportunity to see the new feature-length documentary on one of America’s greatest builders, Louis Sullivan (1856-1924) at the Kansas City Film Festival April 15 and 18. This tribute to architect Louis Sullivan tells a sweeping story with a wealth of visual detail. The rise and fall of Sullivan’s career originates with the 1871 Chicago fire, which made the city a blank slate for ambitious architects. In the late 1800s, Sullivan, who had made his way west after a rigorous École des Beaux-Arts education, created an authentically American architecture at a time when most buildings aspired only to knock off European styles. His commitment to originality led him first to the pinnacle of success with notable early skyscrapers and later to a swift decline due to changing customer tastes and an economic depression. Though his late-career “jewel box” banks were a triumph, Sullivan died penniless. Sullivan’s extraordinary ornamental designs set him apart as an artist. According to Frank Lloyd Wright, who was Sullivan’s chief draftsman for seven years, Sullivan “could draw as beautifully as he could think.

The film will be offered at two screenings:
Thursday, April 15 at 4:30 pm
Sunday, April 18 at 3:00 pm

Where: 2010 Kansas City FilmFest AMC Main Street (1400 Main St., Downtown Kansas City)

Tickets to Sunday's Showing:
KC FilmFest:
Information about the film: