From May 15-18, the Iconic Houses Network will hold its bi-annual international conference in New Canaan, Connecticut and the surrounding area. This year’s conference, titled “Modernism on the East Coast – Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five,” will highlight the work of the famous five Harvard architects–Philip Johnson, John M. Johansen, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, and Eliot Noyes–who “stirred up an experimental modernist movement in the sleepy New England town.” There will be a number of different events, but perhaps most exciting is the slew of tours of modernist icons such as Johnson’s Glass House, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Usonia community,
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright/TAA drawing of Key Project for Ellis Island. Credit: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
Ellis Island, well known as the processing center for millions of American immigrants until 1954, has figured heavily in the nation’s history; once the center was closed and neither of its current owners, the states of New York and New Jersey, knew of an alternative for its re-use, the island was offered for sale. Among the bidders for the 27-acre site were a pair of young NBC executives whose idea included breathtaking plans conceived by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. According to Metropolis, Wright’s idea supported the media execs’ vision for “an entirely new, complete, and independent prototype city of the future.”
All around the Sol Friedman House at 11 Orchard Brook Drive in Pleasantville, New York, country roads wind through forests and meadows and the homes–three designed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself, the rest approved by Wright and built by noted architects of his choosing–that make up Westchester’s 1947 Usonian community of 50 houses blend perfectly into the landscape. None can be seen from the nearby highway that makes the Usonia Historic District a mere 50 minute commute to Manhattan. Documented by architectural photographers and featured in numerous publications, the Friedman house is indeed an extraordinary masterpiece, one of the three designed by the master architect–and it can now be yours for $1.5 million (h/t Curbed). The home’s overlapping circular masonry design brings structure and nature together in one of Wright’s celebrated signature styles–one which would be seen before long in the design of Manhattan’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
With major developments underway, Staten Island is slowly losing its nickname as the “forgotten borough.” While projects like the New York Wheel, Empire Outlets and the expansion of the former Stapleton homeport hope to revitalize the water-front borough with new residential and commercial space, Staten Island already offers visitors a ton of unique attractions to explore. Just take the free Staten Island Ferry to discover the miles of coastline and 12,300-acres of parkland in the city’s greenest and least populated borough. For the best spots in the borough, follow 6sqft’s list ahead of the 15 most unforgettable attractions on Staten Island.
This private island upstate in Putnam County has an incredible backstory and stunning home (it’s also located just 15 minutes by plane from Manhattan, via the houses’s rooftop helipad), and it’s up for grabs at an ask of $14.92 million. Mansion Global shared the tale of how a Frank Lloyd Wright home, designed by the architect to rival his iconic Fallingwater, ended up on the grounds of this 11-acre, heart-shaped property known as Petra Island. Not only does it employ Wright’s signature cantilevering and series of outdoor terraces, but inside, there are giant stone boulders jutting into spaces from the living room to the shower stalls.
It’s rare to own a home in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright, but here’s two just outside of NYC in Westchester County. Brownstoner showcased the homes, both designed with Wright’s “Usonian” ideals in mind–affordable homes integrated skillfully with the landscape. The first, in Pleasantville, is known originally as the Silson house and was designed in 1951 by architect Kaneji Domoto, a Wright student. It’s located within the actual Wright-planned community now known as the Usonia Historic District and asking $1.2 million. The second is a home designed by architect David Henken, another Wright disciple. Located in Dobb’s Ferry, with the same seamless connection to nature, it is listed for $1.049 million.
This week we wish a very happy birthday to architectural genius Frank Lloyd Wright. Celebrate the event with admission to the Wright-designed Guggenheim for just $1.50! The Transit Museum is also celebrating with 100 years, and the Welling Court Mural Festival celebrates eight! Experience the Philip Johnson Glass House in a whole new way during its summer soiree party, or grab a blanket for The Met Opera’s first free outdoor concert. The River to River Festival kicks off free programming with a performance by The Dance Cartel, and Quiet Lunch Magazine drops another issue with a party. Finally, immerse yourself in an arty evening with Chashama’s gala at the old Vogue offices.
Details on these events and more this way
Considering today would have been Frank Lloyd Wright‘s 150th birthday, you’d think we all know everything there is to know about the prolific architect. But the wildly creative, often stubborn, and always meticulous Wright was also quite mysterious, leaving behind a legacy full of oddities and little-known stories. In honor of the big day, 6sqft has rounded up the top 10 things you likely never knew about him, including the mere three hours it took him to design one of his most famous buildings, the world-famous toy that his son designed, his secondary career, and a couple present-day ways his work lives on.
For many, Frank Lloyd Wright is considered the archetype of his profession; he was brash and unapologetic about his ideas, he experimented and tested the limits of materiality and construction, and he was never afraid to put clients in their place when they were wrong. It was this unwavering confidence paired with a brilliant creative mind that made him one of the greatest American architects to ever live. And one of the most influential.
This week Wright would have turned 150 years old, so to celebrate his birthday and his importance to the practice of modern architecture, we’re paying tribute to the architect’s built, destroyed, and never-constructed New York works. Amazingly, of the more than 500 structures credited with his name, he can only claim one in Manhattan.
Summer is the perfect time to get out of town and explore what’s beyond the borders of the city. While there is certainly no shortage of nature escapes and historic hideouts nearby, just outside of Manhattan in about every direction are also numerous modernist treasures to admire. Ahead is 6sqft’s round-up of the 10 best destinations for architecture enthusiasts with a penchant for modern design.