Posts Tagged ‘ARchitecture’

Frank Lloyd Wright House open to guests

May 6, 2008

Derek Gee/Buffalo News Russell Maxwell, who owns the Davidson House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, marvels at the living room featuring a stunning, two-story-tall bank of windows that fills the east wall, reaching from the floor up to the cathedral ceiling. Guests will get a chance to experience fully what it’s like to live in a Prairie-style home
From The Buffalo News By Sharon Linstedt Updated: 05/05/08 7:52 AM>>read more.     GO INSIDE THE Walter V. Davidson House in an audio slideshow.     Architecture buffs who have dreamed of living in a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home will soon have the opportunity to sleep under a Wright roof in Buffalo.     Starting in June, the Walter V. Davidson House, at 57 Tillinghast Place, will join a handful of Wright residences that welcome overnight guests.     “It’s a rare chance to experience Frank Lloyd Wright architecture as he intended,” said Davidson House owner Russell Maxwell. “Guests will have the whole home to themselves to enjoy.”      Built in 1908 for Larkin Company executive Davidson and his family, it is one of Wright’s Prairie-style homes with a pale stucco facade, dark trim and low-slung eaves. The 4,400-square-foot dwelling features more than 60 diamond-patterned glass windows The fireplace in the living room offers a cozy setting for guests to relax.that ring the structure.     A stunning, two-story-tall bank of windows fills the east wall of the living room, reaching from the floor up to the cathedral ceiling.     “The windows become even more spectacular when you’re here for a full day and watch the way the light moves through the house. That’s something you can’t experience on a 20-minute, museum-like tour,” Maxwell said.     The three-bedroom, fully furnished home will be available for a two-night minimum stay, at a rate of $295 per night. Guests are on their own for meals, choosing whether to cook meals in the Davidson kitchen.     The first guests will be a British couple planning a June vacation in the United States. They’ve reserved the house with old friends from Pittsburgh.     “They found it on the Internet and thought it would be a great place to meet up with their American friends. They’re planning to use it as a base for exploring the Buffalo area,” Maxwell said.     The reservation book also includes a New York City man who is bringing his family to Buffalo in November to celebrate Thanksgiving with his fiance’s family. The group plans to hold Thanksgiving dinner in the Davidson dining room.     Maxwell purchased the house in late 2004 without an immediate plan for its future. He worked out a deal with the prior owner, Dr. Jules Constant, that allowed the cardiologist to continue living in the house through 2007.      “In researching the house and Wright, I started to think about opening it up to the public. It seemed to be a great fit with Buffalo’s growth in Wright-linked tourism,” he said.     It is located just a few blocks from Wright’s recently restored Darwin D. Martin House Complex, and Maxwell said it should be a hit with visitors who want to create the ultimate Wright experience.     “They’ll be able to build an all-Wright itinerary that includes the Martin House, Heath House, Graycliff, the new boathouse and then go home to the Davidson. That’s a tremendous package,” he said.     Howard A. Zemsky, a past president of the Martin House Restoration Corp., agrees.     “It’s pretty easy to imagine someone wanting to visit here for that purpose and taking advantage of the opportunity to stay in a Wright house, around the corner to the Martin House,” Zemsky said.      Michael and Sarah Petersdorf have been welcoming guests into their Wright-designed Illinois country home for the past three years, with an increasing number of bookings.     “Ninety-five percent of our guests are Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts, and they just love it,” said Michael Petersdorf, owner of Muirhead Farmhouse B&B in Hampshire, Ill.     “There are so many nuances of these houses you can’t get from photos or even a tour. You have to spend time in them to really understand how the design and the function come together. It’s very special,” he added.     An upcoming article on the Davidson House in the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation newsletter is expected to spark bookings by Wright lovers. The house is also being promoted through the Buffalo Convention & Tourism Bureau’s “Wright in Buffalo” marketing effort.    While Maxwell is throwing out the welcome mat in just over a month, he is warning his first batch of visitors that the Davidson House is a work in progress. A kitchen restoration is still in the planning stages, and the exterior of the house will get a major dose of stucco repair, painting and a complete relandscaping over the next several months.     Detailed information on the Davidson House and how to book a stay is available at


Poland: Converting a Palace to a Home

May 1, 2008

Piotr Malecki for The New York TimesFrom The New York Times By BEATA PASEK Published: April 30, 2008>>read more and see more pictures.
NAKLO, Poland   When Kehrt Reyher saw a dilapidated 18th-century palace in southern Poland, he fell in love with its classical design and thought it could become a weekend house for his family. He didn’t expect that, during the renovation process, he would come up with an idea that could turn his professional life around.     Mr. Reyher, a native of Indiana with a background in journalism, came to Poland in the early 1990s to work as a consultant for the country’s fast-developing media. On a trip outside Warsaw, he met a real estate agent who was showing some properties and, as prices were within his reach, he started thinking about buying a country place to renovate.     In 2002 he and his wife, Marzenna, who is Polish, looked at about 10 properties but came back to the first one: a three-story palace dating to the mid-1770s in the small village of Naklo, some 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of Warsaw.     “It was very much unlike anything we saw,” Mr. Reyher, now 54, recalled. “What I liked most was that it was not pretentious, not terribly elaborate. It is, in fact, pretty simple.”     The eight-hectare (20-acre) estate included a park with 200-year-old trees and an orchard, as well as a ruined stable, a caretaker’s house and a three-car garage. The palace, originally a summer residence for an aristocratic family, was nationalized under communism and turned into a farming school and then an orphanage. With Poland’s shift toward democracy in the early 1990s, the estate reverted to private ownership, but the only thing the owner did was to fence the site.     “The roof was in a relatively good shape and it saved the place,” Mr. Reyher said. The ground floor had been vandalized, but the upstairs still had a working fireplace. “One thing I liked about it was that we could come and stay even before we started redoing the building,” he said.

China: Building servants’ quarters, indoor pools & cultural district

May 1, 2008

THE SURVEY Design teams explore the site for the villas of Ordos. Photo Doug Kanter for The New York TimesDesign Notebook In Inner Mongolia, Pushing Architecture’s Outer Limits   From By FRED A. BERNSTEIN Published: May 1, 2008 Ordos, China images by Doug Kanter for The New York Times>>read more.     ON April 12, Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample, both 36, could have been working in their architecture office in New Haven, worrying about the darkening economic prospects of their profession. Instead, they were in China, presenting a concept for a 10,700-square-foot villa to a client untroubled by thoughts of recession, and being treated like stars. Thanks to a booming economy in this resource-rich desert region of Inner Mongolia, Mr. Meredith said, “we got a little taste of what it’s like to be Zaha Hadid.”     Or maybe one of 100 Zahas. Mr. Meredith and Ms. Sample were part of a large group of mostly up-and-coming design teams from 27 countries that descended on Ordos for five days in April at the behest of a local tycoon. Cai Jiang, who made his money in coal and dairy and has lately turned to real estate, had commissioned 100 firms to design individual houses, each large enough to include amenities like servants’ quarters and indoor pools, as part of a billion-dollar “cultural district” he is building here.     At a time when housing markets across the West are contracting and American architects’ billings are at their lowest point in 12 years, according to the American Institute of Architects, Mr. Cai (pronounced sigh) was offering his guests a rare chance to build big — and paying them, improbably, in wads of cash.     “Basically, Ordos is Texas,” explained Michael S. Tunkey, an American architect based in Shanghai whose firm has designed an opera house that, along with half a dozen museums and a boutique hotel, will anchor Mr. Cai’s new cultural district.