Johnson Wax Company Administration Building Furniture, Frank Lloyd Wright 1936

Posted by George Pudlo on December 23, 2011 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Desk and Chair from Johnson Administration Building, 1936

Johnson Administration Building, Frank Lloyd Wright 1936

In 1936, Frank Lloyd Wright designed the ultra modern Johnson Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin. It was typical of Wright to design not only the building itself, but to handle the interior decorating, including furnishings, and the Johnson Administration Building commission was no exception. This matching desk and chair were originally a part of the daily lives of the Johnson workers. They were manufactured by Steelcase, Incorporated in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The furnishings are made of steel and formica, a smooth, heat resistant plastic laminate with melamine resin. The desks and chairs were intended to match not only the color scheme of the Johnson Administration building, but also its curvaceous form. The story goes that many of the new employees of the Johnson Wax Company would tip over in the chairs because they only have three legs, often to the mischievous pleasure of senior workers. 

Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright 1911

Posted by George Pudlo on November 10, 2011 at 1:20 AM Comments comments (1)


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Home & Studio was his longest ongoing project, begun in 1911, Wright constantly made alterations and additions until his death in 1959. 2011 is the centennial year for Taliesin, and what we see now is completely different than what would have been there 100 years ago.

The land where Taliesin is located is in the rolling hills of Spring Green, Wisconsin, an area that had been in the possession of Frank Lloyd Wright’s maternal side of the family –the Lloyd-Jones’- for generations before Wright. As a young boy, Wright’s mother would send him to the farmlands of Spring Green to work the land with his uncles. And in 1911, at perhaps the climax of Wright’s personal drama in Chicago, Anna Wright, his mother, gifted him several hundred acres to build on.

Wright, having been originally from Richland Center, Wisconsin, moved to Chicago in 1887 to be an architect after dropping out of engineering school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Two years later, he moved to suburb of Oak Park with his first wife, Catherine (Tobin) Wright, where he built his first home and studio. The Wright’s would live in their shingled Oak Park home with their six children until 1909.

Aside from being a controversial architect, Frank Lloyd Wright was very scandalous in his personal life. In 1903, he designed a house for Mr. and Mrs. Edwin and Mamah Cheney. Wright was always the type of architect that got to know the personality of his clients, to then match to the personality of their house. Frank Lloyd Wright got to know the personality of Mrs. Cheney a little too well, and the two of them began what started off as an emotional relationship. The relationship eventually became physical, and culminated in 1909 with the two of them both leaving their respective families in Oak Park and moving to Europe for a year. It was during this year in Europe that Frank Lloyd Wright published the Wasmuth Portfolio in Berlin, a portfolio of his entire collection of work up until that point. Upon their return to Oak Park, Mamah divorced her husband Edwin, and Wright unsuccessfully tried to divorce Catherine, and the two illegitimately moved to Spring Green, Wisconsin where Wright then built Taliesin.

Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick (by then, Mamah had reverted back to her maiden name) lived at Taliesin very happily for a few years. Wright made constant trips back and forth between Chicago and Spring Green for work, and in August of 1914, a terrible tragedy ended the relationship between Frank and Mamah. A deranged servant by the name of Julian Carlton boarded up the windows and doors of the wing at Taliesin where Mamah and her two children from her first marriage, Martha and John, were eating lunch. Julian Carlton then poured gasoline around the perimeter of the wing and lit it on fire. As if that wasn’t enough, Julian then went in with a shingling axe and brutally murdered Mamah, her two children, and four other household workers. By the time Frank Lloyd Wright was able to return to Taliesin later that evening after receiving word of a fire, Taliesin was in ruins, and the love of his life gone. The tragedy would have easily broken many people, but Frank Lloyd Wright began to rebuild Taliesin shortly after the event. In 1925, Taliesin was struck by lightning, and nearly burned to the ground again. Wright rebuilt Taliesin, and what remains today is the third reality of Taliesin.

People are often curious about the origins of the name Taliesin, and even the pronunciation –pronounced “tally-eh-sin”. The word is a Welsh word meaning shining brow, and is named after a poet of the same name. Taliesin is built like a brow on the edge of the hill, and not on top of the hill. Wright felt that you should never built on top of anything directly, saying, if you build on top of the hill you lose the hill, but if you build one on the side of the top, you have the hill and the eminence that you desire.

While Taliesin technically refers to the cluster of buildings that comprise the main home and studio, it has come also to refer to the whole valley that also contains the Hillside Home School (1902), the Romeo and Juliet windmill (1896), Tan-Y-Deri (1907), Unity Chapel (1886), the Midway Barns (1938), the Wyoming Valley Grammar School (1957), and the Visitor’s Center (formerly the Riverview Terrace Restaurant) (1956).

Monona Terrace, Frank Lloyd Wright 1938/1994

Posted by George Pudlo on November 9, 2011 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Monona Terrace, Frank Lloyd Wright 1938/1994

Monona Terrace Parking

Monona Terrace

One John Nolen Drive

Madison, WI 53703

Located off of Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin, the Monona Terrace was originally designed in 1938 by Frank Lloyd Wright but failed to pass approval. Frank Lloyd Wright's original plan for the Monona Terrace was to include a rail station, courthouse, city hall, and marina, and the plan failed by just one vote. Fast forward several decades to the early 1990's, and the voters of Madison approved a convention and community center on the same site that Wright originally designed the concept for. Site was always of utmost significance to Wright as every structure was meant specifically for its site and was to be built according to the land and surrounding environment. Construction of Frank Lloyd Wright's Monona Terrace began in 1994 and cost more than $64 million. The shell of the building, or the facade, is Frank Lloyd Wright's design. However, because the specific function of the building had been altered by the time it was built, the interior design was modified from Wright's design. Tony Puttnam, a former Taliesin architect of Wright's, was responsible for the modifications in plan.

The Monona Terrace elegantly graces Madison's lakefront with it's beautiful views and connection to nature. Like most of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings, the Monona Terrace has a unique design, but maintains a strong sense of geometry and other underlying Wright themes. The parking structure built for the Monona Terrace is reminiscent of the Guggenheim Museum.

Robert Lamp House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1903

Posted by George Pudlo on November 8, 2011 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Robert Lamp House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1903. Madison, Wisconsin.

Located in the center of Madison, the Robert Lamp House was built just a few blocks from Wisconsin's state capitol. 

The landmark plack in front of the house reads:

Robert Lamp House


This unusual midblock residence was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his boyhood friend, "Robie" Lamp, a realtor and insurance salesman. The simple, boxy shape of the house, with its open floor plan, was very modern for the time. Wright called it "New American" in style. While the diamond paned casement windows were "Old English" in inspiration. The penthouse on the roof is a later addition, replacing an elegant roof garden complete with grape arbors and a greenhouse. Please respect the privacy of the residents.

Designated January 28, 1976

Madison Landmarks Commission 

Joseph Mollica House, Erdman Prefab #1, Frank Lloyd Wright 1958

Posted by George Pudlo on May 5, 2011 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Joseph Mollica House
1001 West Jonathan Lane
Bayside, Wisconsin 53217

Located just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Joseph Mollica House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1958, just one year before his death. The Joseph Mollica House is a Usonian House, and was quite difficult to photograph because of the abundance of landscaping around it. The house is L-shape in plan with a board and batten pattern in the wood of the longer part of the L, with the smaller part of the L -the garage- comprised of irregularly cut stone. The house has a very low hipped roof with a screen of windows extending the entire length of the longer portion of the L-shaped floor plan. The Joseph Mollica House is one of the nine Erdman Prefab #1 homes built. 

Albert Adelman House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1948

Posted by George Pudlo on May 5, 2011 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Albert Adelman House
7111 North Barnett
Fox Point, Wisconsin 53217

Photographs do not do justice for the Albert Adelman House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This structure is located just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is discreetly hidden in the back of a very large front yard. The Albert Adelman House is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian style houses, built toward the end of his life. It has a very low profile, only one story tall, but is incredibly long. A view of the front of the house does not give the onlooker a glimpse of house far back the house stretches. The entrance is in the middle of the house, flanked by two long halls of concrete blocks. A low hipped roof and overhanging roof eaves push the building down into the earth. Narrow screens of windows along the entire side facades of the Albert Adelman House allow an abundant amount of light into the structure.

Frank Lloyd Wright later designed a house for Albert Adelman's father in 1951, the Benjamin Adelman House, in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Frederick C Bogk House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1916

Posted by George Pudlo on May 5, 2011 at 4:57 PM Comments comments (0)


Frederick C Bogk House
2420 Terrace Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211

The Bogk House does not receive due credit for greatness. Designed in 1916 by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Bogk House is simple is design but complex in detailing. The frieze above the two screens of windows on the Bogk House's front facade features an interesting mesoamerican theme. This mesoamerican theme is repeated on the sills above and below the windows. The Bogk House has a low hipped roof that broadly extends over the structure. A broad, central chimney is centrally located on the roof. Beautiful art glass windows designed by Frank Lloyd Wright cover the house. There are narrow slit art glass windows to the left and right of the central ribbons of windows -similar to those seen in the Unity Temple of Oak Park. As with most of Wright's designs, the "front door" is displaced off to the side of the house to prevent the breaking up of strong vertical and horizontal lines on the Bogk House's front facade. The house is immaculately well kempt on both the exterior and interior.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Frank Lloyd Wright 1956-61

Posted by George Pudlo on April 20, 2011 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (1)


Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church


9400 W Congress Street


Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 53225




The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was designed in 1956 and completed posthumously in 1961, two years after Wright's death. Located just outside of the border of Milwaukee in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, the church has a striking appearance, not only for its design features, but because it rests in the center of a very large plot of land. When approaching the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, one is initially drawn to its unique form resembling a flying saucer. What is this thing? A church one finally realizes after focusing in on the small Greek cross on top of the domed structure. Frank Lloyd Wright had a knack for designing churches, unconventional in design, that didn't resemble traditional churches. The only other clear indication, from the exterior, that this is a church is the stained glass windows. These were not originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but were added later on. The slits enclosing these stained glass windows resemble eye lids. The dome at the top of the structure was originally faced in blue, ceramic tiles that were later replaced by a different material. The dome itself rests on a series of small, steel spheres that expand and contract with Wisconsin's ever changing weather to prevent cracking. The base underneath the dome is made entirely out of reinforced concrete. When one gets closer to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, it is seen that the entrance is flanked by two massive, horizontally natured fountains resembling the planters Wright designed for his Prairie Houses. Another, larger eye lid shaped opening is the entrance to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, topped with blue ceramic tiles.




Anyone who looks up is mesmerized by the claw-like overhang screen that fans down from the domed structure. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church with seating for over 1,000 people, thus being one of his largest church commissions. The total cost for the church mounted $1.5 million dollars.



Richards Bungalow, Frank Lloyd Wright 1916

Posted by George Pudlo on April 20, 2011 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Richards Bungalow

2700 Block of West Burnham Street

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53215

The bungalow at the corner of West Burnham Street and South Layton Boulevard was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1915. The particular 2700 block of Burnham Street in Milwaukee is unique in that every structure on the block was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright - six structures in all. The first four American System Built Houses are virtually identical, other than in color and minor detailing. The last two structures are bungalow variations. The Richards Bungalow on the corner is easily visible from the street and varies significantly in exterior materials than the others. It is faced in irregularly cut stone, something we would see in Frank Lloyd Wright's later work. Overhanging roof eaves shelter every angle of the structure. Horizontal bands of casement windows outline the perimeter of the home. The overall appearance of the house looks like something from the 1940's or 1950's rather than 1916. 

2720-22 Burnham Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, American System Built Home -Model Flat C, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1916

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 3:19 AM Comments comments (0)

Arthur L Richards Duplex Apartments, American System Built Homes, Model Flat C, 1916

2720-22 W Burnham Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Arthur L Richards Duplex Apartments are four Model Flat C designs of the American System Built Homes all built on a strip of Burnham Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The four homes, plus the two adjacent American System Built Homes of a different model make up the largest continuous strip of Frank Lloyd Wright homes. These apartments were built to have one unit on the upper floor and unit on the lower floor. All of the duplexes have been restored and are now a part of a historic district in Milwaukee.

Arthur L Richards Small House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1916

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 3:09 AM Comments comments (0)

Arthur L Richards Small House -American System Built Home -Model B1, 1916

2714 W Burnham, Milwaukee Wisconsin

The Arthur L Richards Small House is an American System Built Home adjacent to the Arthur L Richards Duplex Apartments.  The house is a single story, and of relative small size compared to the majority of Wright's work. The house contains a living room, kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms, dining nook, and a slightly elevated basement. The house still contains a fireplace near the center of the house, a signature Frank Lloyd Wright mark. More drawings were made for the American System Built project by Frank Lloyd Wright than for any other of his designs, however, the concept of these precut structures was a relative failure despite the fact that designing low cost affordable housing was a lifelong strive for Wright. Only seventeen American System Built Houses were built. Four of these houses were a row of duplex apartments similar to the ones seen next to this house, known as the Arthur R Munkwitz Duplex Apartments, though they were demolished in 1973.

SC Johnson Wax Research Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1951

Posted by George Pudlo on December 17, 2010 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (0)

SC Johnson Wax Research Tower

1525 Howe Street, Racine Wisconsin

The Johnson Research Tower was added to the SC Johnson & Son Administration Building complex in 1951, fifteen years after the original complex was built. The tower is an alternating pattern of brick and glass bands on the exterior while the inside conveys incredibly advanced concepts of cantilevering for the time period. Behind each band of windows is a floor cantilevered from a central core, a concept Chicago would later see in Bertrand Goldberg's Marina Towers.


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