Usonia the Beautiful

Roman Mars:
This is 99% Invisible. I’m Roman Mars.

Frank Lloyd Wright:
“The future of architecture is the future of the human race. The two in one. If humanity has a future, it is architecture.”

Roman Mars:
That is architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who never shied away from making grand statements about architecture, or himself.

Frank Lloyd Wright:
“I’ve been accused of saying I was the greatest architect in the world and if I had said so, I don’t think it would be very arrogant.”

Roman Mars:
Wright believed that the buildings we live in affect the kinds of people we become, the tastes we have and the comforts we seek and he said that he could rebuild the entire culture of the United States. He claimed that he could change the nation by changing its architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright:
“I did say that and it’s true. It’s amazing what I could do for this country.”

Avery Trufelman:
And a big part of his plan, his philosophy, his proposed building system, was called Usonia.

Roman Mars:
That’s reporter Avery Trufelman, and if you’re like, “Usonia, what’s that?” Well, listen to part one of this story. That’s the last episode of this show. This is part two and it’ll make a lot more sense after part one.

Avery Trufelman:
But to summarize, Usonian homes were simple but beautiful custom homes designed to exist in harmony with the natural landscape around them. Wright had hoped to make these homes inexpensive enough to be affordable for middle and working-class Americans.

Roman Mars:
The first Usonian home cost $5,500, about 85 grand today. Wright built it for journalist Herbert Jacobs and his wife Katherine in Madison, Wisconsin in 1937 and many would come after it, though none managed to be as inexpensive as the first one, but there are Usonian houses in Alabama, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and beyond.

Archive Tape:
“The house that Herbert Jacobs built was the first of the Usonian houses. Usonian, a Wright word meaning the United States as it ought to be at its democratic zenith. Nowadays, Usonian houses may be seen the countrywide. You don’t need a guide book. You’ll know when you see one. Long, low, part of the very earth. You can practically hear the house boasting, ‘designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’.”

Roman Mars:
But that old-timey announcer actually doesn’t have it quite right. They’re not all designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Towards the end of his life, Wright would become preoccupied with large commissions, things like the Marin Civic Center and the Guggenheim. He would have less time to focus on his vision for Usonia.

Avery Trufelman:
But Wright’s ideas about living in harmony with nature, using organic materials in a modern way and creating affordable, democratic housing had inspired a new generation of architects, so much so that they would go on to found an entire community based on Wrightian principles.

GPS Navigation:
“Turn right on to Usonia Road.”

Roman Mars:
Nestled in leafy hills near Pleasantville, New York, about an hour north of Manhattan, is a little village called Usonia. All the homes have low flat roofs. They’re tucked away into the trees so you can hardly see them on lush summer days. It almost looks like some sort of Star Wars planet, fit for suburban Ewoks. There’s no big welcome sign, no gift shop or leaflet. In the middle of the community, there is a plaque.

Avery Trufelman:
“Usonia Homes, a cooperative was founded in 1944 by idealistic young families to pursue the dream of owning a modern affordable home in the country following World War II.”

Roman Mars:
The cooperative was started by a couple of Wright disciples who had studied at Frank Lloyd Wright’s school, Taliesin, most notably a man named David Henken. And although Wright would be involved with the project, it was Henken who guided it, as the plaque says.

Avery Trufelman:
“This land was acquired in December 1946 and in April 1947, Frank Lloyd Wright, the supervising architect, sent the unique site plan.”

Roman Mars:
The site plan put 40 some houses on circular properties without fences so that the property boundaries would flow into each other. Homes wouldn’t be on little square plots with white picket fences.

Avery Trufelman:
David Henken and his family looked for other, similarly-minded people who could come and join their community and invest in it. And among those idealistic young people was Roland Reisley. He and his wife had just been married in 1950.

Roland Reisley:
We had no money, we had no children. We were both only children. We wanted to plant our roots and start a family and we heard from a friend that there’s a community in Northern Westchester that’s building affordable homes, supervised by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Avery Trufelman:
This building project had a communal mortgage. They would pay for the houses together on land they all own.

Roland Reisley:
It’s a cooperative. Let’s take a look, curious. And we came up here and there were already 10 or 11 homes that were nearing completion or beginning to be occupied. We were welcomed with open arms and the enthusiasm of the people who were here and talking about their project was infectious and we were hooked. We decided that we’ll join the community.

Roman Mars:
But it wasn’t all a big romantic adventure. It was a real risk.

Roland Reisley:
First of all, first it was radical. These days it’s called mid-century modern. But the architecture then was radical.

Avery Trufelman:
Meaning these homes were so strange looking to the larger world that the people who chose to live in them were seen as radical and in some ways they were. Some of them were lefty Jews from the Bronx with socialist ideals about land ownership.

Roland Reisley:
The true cooperative that we were, was radical.

Avery Trufelman:
True cooperative is in the sense that no one owned their house?

Roland Reisley:
Yes.

Roman Mars:
Also, this was a financial risk. Since the houses were not as cheap as they were supposed to be.

Roland Reisley:
The supposed $5,000 cost, turned out it was not a realistic number.

Avery Trufelman:
During and after World War II, materials and labor became more expensive and the building of Usonian homes involved special skills and custom fixtures and the houses ended up being double or triple their price estimates. The Reisley’s house was over 20 grand, but the members of Usonia would not be deterred.

Roland Reisley:
We were determined to go forward with this. We were all very optimistic. People would come occasionally to see these houses under construction. ‘You got to come and see Insania.’

Roman Mars:
When Roland and his wife signed up for the community, they thought they’d work with one of the Taliesin graduates to design their house, not the master himself.

Roland Reisley:
We didn’t dream of approaching Frank Lloyd Wright, I mean really. Who would have thought such a thing?

Avery Trufelman:
But Frank Lloyd Wright did, in fact, want to design Roland’s house. They met up in New York and they exchanged letters and ideas about the plans and Roland went out to see Wright at Taliesin.

Roland Reisley:
He was a real person. You could talk to him, you could exchange your joke. I mean people don’t see him that way, but there it was.

Avery Trufelman:
Roland was 26, Wright was 83.

Roland Reisley:
He said, “Come on Roland, sit down. You’re my client. I’m your architect. I’ll redesign your house as many times as I have to until I’ve satisfied all of your needs. You have to speak up. If you don’t, you’ll take what you get.”

Roman Mars:
Roland’s house would be one of three in Usonia, New York that Frank Lloyd Wright-designed himself. About five years after the Reisleys moved in, when Roland and his wife had kids, Frank Lloyd Wright added an extension to their house.

Avery Trufelman:
In fact, Roland is the last living owner of a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home built specially for him and he still lives in it.

Roland Reisley:
I came to realize, after some years living here, that there’d not been a day in my life when I didn’t see something beautiful. Even the terrible days that occur in every life.

Avery Trufelman:
The house is completely Usonian with a simple carport and sumptuous wooden walls that almost glow and one big main room and a tiny kitchen. It almost feels like you’re outside because it has these big glass windows with long roof overhangs to draw the eye out towards the thick forest of trees just outside.

Roland Reisley:
I think that it has had an effect on me in many ways. The neuroscientists say that that kind of sense reduces stress and is good for your emotional health and maybe good for physical health too. I’m 92 years old. I’m in pretty good shape for 92…

Avery Trufelman:
I’ll say.

Roland Reisley:
… and I attribute that partly … I mean, who knows… I’d like to attribute that to experiencing the beauty around me for most of my life, which is quite remarkable.

Roman Mars:
As Roland sees it, Frank Lloyd Wright’s idea that better architecture could create a better way of life has been entirely true.

Roland Reisley:
We could depend on each other if there was a problem or a need. The kids knew all the adults by their first name. Used to say that children growing up here had 50 aunts and uncles in Usonia.

Roman Mars:
For the first 40 years of Usonia, New York, only 12 of the 48 houses changed hands.

Roland Reisley:
Six of those to next-generation members of the community. There were only two divorces. I had to joke they couldn’t decide who would get the house.

Avery Trufelman:
But life started to move at different paces for people living in Usonia. Suddenly they weren’t all new young families. They were all groups of people in different phases, with different needs.

Roman Mars:
And when it was time for homes to change hands, prospective buyers were thrown off by the cooperative nature of the village. In the first decades of Usonia, members didn’t own their homes.

Roland Reisley:
We decided, very reluctantly, to grant title to the individual home sites to each member, while retaining all of our common land as a cooperative, and that made a big difference, so suddenly people were willing to look at them.

Roman Mars:
But if you’re not Roland Reisley and your house wasn’t custom-built for you by Frank Lloyd Wright himself, the Usonia houses can be a bit of an adjustment. Today most of the homes in Usonia, New York have been expanded.

Avery Trufelman:
Any and all new additions have been built in a Usonian-style, using local materials, flat roofs, big glass windows and Wrightian sensibilities. They have to be built that way.

Evan Kingsley:
While the outsides are not landmarked, they are governed by the board of Usonia, the insides are not at all.

Avery Trufelman:
This is Evan Kingsley. He’s one of the newcomers to Usonia, relatively. He’s been there since 2003.

Evan Kingsley:
But I think for the most part, those of us who have chosen to move here are really sensitive to the aesthetic of the interior.

Avery Trufelman:
But there’s one specific part of the interior that has changed in a lot of the Usonian homes.

Evan Kingsley:
We’ve completely redone the kitchen.

Roman Mars:
As was the case in most Usonian homes, the kitchen in Evan’s home was this little alcove, very efficient and very, very tiny.

Avery Trufelman:
Wright never realized that the whole family might actually want to hang out in the kitchen. Nowadays, it’s as much a place to gather as the living room or the dining room. Evan has added new tiling and appliances and expanded his kitchen, but not by much.

Evan Kingsley:
Well, we bumped that wall out by taking some closet space away and we gained, I don’t know, maybe 10 inches there. That’s all that we gained in doing that.

Roman Mars:
There are a smattering of Usonian homes throughout the United States, some designed by Wright and some by his apprentices, but all following the same basic principles. And like Evan Kingsley’s home, many of these other Usonian houses are hard to modify because they’re often governed by boards who are trying to preserve them as historic pieces of architecture and also the owners themselves want to make sure they keep within the principles of the house.

Betty Moore:
“You have X number of cabinets, you don’t have cabinets up at the top. They weren’t put there and if you could add them, you would violate the principles…”

John Moore:
“There’s no Frank Lloyd Wright police who come around and look and see if you changed the inside.”

Betty Moore:
“That’s what we joke about but there isn’t.”

Avery Trufelman:
That’s Betty and John Moore. They live in Wisconsin in the house called Jacobs II. It’s the second Usonian house that Wright designed for that journalist, Herbert Jacobs.

John Moore:
“Yeah. Well, you want to make sure that you can adapt to the house because it’s not going to adapt to you.”

Betty Moore:
“You aren’t going to change it much.”

Roman Mars:
Like most Usonian homes, Jacobs II had a carport, big windows, and open plan and concrete floors with a heating system in it.

John Moore:
“The floor is nice and cool now.”

Betty Moore:
“But the winter, you come downstairs with bare feet, it’s nice and warm.”

John Moore:
“And it’s nice and warm.”

Avery Trufelman:
I mostly wanted to play that clip because I love how Betty and John actually complete each other’s sentences.

Roman Mars:
Betty and John’s house needed a lot of attention, which is why it was on the market for four and a half years before they bought it.

Betty Moore:
“Oh, everybody wanted to look at it as a curiosity, but nobody wanted to live here.”

John Eifler:
They’re really not for everyone. The reason they sit on the market sometimes for so long is because people consider them difficult to live in.

Roman Mars:
That’s John Eifler, an architect in Chicago who has restored a number of Wright houses, including Usonia 1.

John Eifler:
In order to preserve them, you sometimes have to modify them in order to make them more livable.

Roman Mars:
But even experts like Eifler have a tough time keeping track of how many Usonian homes exist.

Avery Trufelman:
“So how many are there?”

John Eifler:
“I don’t know, I have no idea.”

Avery Trufelman:
I’ve heard numbers ranging from 27 to 140. It all depends on your definition of what an authentic Usonian house is. You could consider Usonia a period in Frank Lloyd Wright’s life, a period in American architectural history, which would include the houses by the apprentices or just a general architectural style. Depending on your definition, the number of Usonian houses continues to grow. In 2013 a new Usonian house was built on the campus of Florida Southern College. It was a design of Wright’s from 1939 but constructed 74 years later, all according to Wright’s plans and principles.

Roman Mars:
Usonia certainly never came to pass in the way that Frank Lloyd Wright originally envisioned, with every American living in an affordable custom home and in fact elements of the Usonian home have evolved into something else entirely.

Avery Trufelman:
“So it is kind of true that Usonia directly influenced the development of the ranch home?”

John Eifler:
“Oh, without a doubt. Yes, I think so.”

Avery Trufelman:
Ranch-style houses are all over the country in nearly every suburb. They are horizontal, close to the ground, one story, they have an open floorplan with few walls, so it’s not hard to see the similarities to Usonia. Although ranch homes are generally less inspired, they don’t have the elegant details and they’re made with standard materials.

Roman Mars:
Wright might not have been pleased the concepts of Usonia got absorbed into essentially the epitome of cookie-cutter suburban housing, but at least these houses really were affordable for the middle class, unlike all the Usonian houses after Usonia 1. After World War II, the American suburbs were full of ranch homes.

John Eifler:
There weren’t that many variations after the war and the suburban ranch home was pretty much it. I mean, unless you were living in some humongous mansion or something, everyone was living in ranch homes in suburbia. It was a very prevalent form of housing.

Roman Mars:
Frank Lloyd Wright died in 1959 at age 89, three years after finishing Roland Reisley’s house in New York.

Avery Trufelman:
He died having created an American style for home building, a way in which natural wood bricks and masonry are used in a simple, modifiable way. A way that is cozy, stylish, organic and honest. His influence is there, where you see lots of wood and stone and where you see big open floorplans, where homes are oriented to the sun or away from the street, or you see a structure built into a hill instead of on top of it, connected and responding to the landscape.

Roman Mars:
And yes, whether he would have liked it or not, Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence can be found in ranch homes in the suburbs, and in the details of all kinds of homes all around us, in ways Wright never imagined. Usonia lives on.

Credits

Production

Producer Avery Trufelman spoke with Roland Reisley, occupant of a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Usonia, New York and author of Usonia, New York: Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright; Evan Kingsley, resident of Usonia since 2003; Betty and John Moore, who live in Jacobs II by Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin; and John Eifler, an architect in Chicago who has restored a number of Wright houses (including Usonia I).

  1. Andrew Cassel

    Well done. On the subject of Wright and his Usonian homes, you might be interested in this piece I wrote for The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1989.

    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
    DATE: THURSDAY June 8, 1989
    PAGE: A01 EDITION: FINAL
    SECTION: NATIONAL LENGTH: LONG
    GRAPHICS: PHOTO
    SOURCE: By Andrew Cassel, Inquirer Staff Writer
    DATELINE: SPRING GREEN, Wis.

    FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: HIS SPIRIT RAGES ON
    One warm June evening here a few years ago, Richard and Bernice Smith stood before Frank Lloyd Wright’s grave, telling him about their house.
    It had been one of the master architect’s later designs, an example of his ”organic” building principles at work. In architecture circles and in their home town of Jefferson, about 65 miles east of here, it was famous. Students and historians dropped by frequently to study it. Magazine photographers took pictures.
    But the Smiths weren’t there to say thanks.
    ”The bathrooms were inadequate. The closets were inadequate. The bedrooms were terribly small,” Richard Smith recalled. ”The first winter we were in there we pretty near all froze to death.
    ”You could never air-condition it, and it was so humid that all the books mildewed. . . . I can still smell that pungent smell. And the kids could never bring their friends to that damn house. It just didn’t lend itself to anything.”
    When the house was new, Smith had tried complaining to a very-much-alive Wright, telling him for example that the concrete slab on which it sat got cold during Wisconsin winters.
    ”I said, ‘Mr. Wright,’- I called him Mr. Wright. He called me Smith – ‘This is a nice house, but it’s totally impractical.’ He said, ‘Smith, you can’t have both beauty and practicality.’ ”
    Twenty-five years and thousands of dollars in repairs later, Smith and his wife stood in the Wright family graveyard, just down the valley from Wright’s own famous house, Taliesin, and bluntly explained why they were finally selling out.
    ”My wife did an oration, a harangue actually, and told the old man all the things she didn’t like,” Smith said. ”We didn’t get any response from the old gentleman, but then he always was terribly difficult to deal with.”
    A lot of people here think of Frank Lloyd Wright that way. For decades, the man considered America’s greatest architect alternately graced and insulted, enthralled and repelled his neighbors until his name was almost an invitation to battle.
    Thirty years after his death – and precisely 120 years after his birth on June 8, 1869 – Wright is the height of international fashion. A single small table he designed sold recently for $175,000 at Sotheby’s auction house. But here in southern Wisconsin, eyes still roll, and stories are whispered about his out-of-wedlock liaisons, his unpaid bills, his grandiose pronouncements on everything from war to zoning.
    And though the man’s remains were removed to Arizona four years ago at his widow’s posthumous request – a final insult, many locals felt – Wright’s contentious spirit is once again threatening to haunt the lush green valley where he grew up, settled and built what some argue was his greatest residential structure, Taliesin.
    ”Here We Go Again,” proclaimed the Wisconsin State Journal last month, about a plan to revive a 96-year-old Wright design for a boathouse in the city of Madison. The proposed 100-foot-tall structure, to be built on one of the Wisconsin capital’s two adjacent lakes, has revived memories there of a bitter, 30-year battle over a mammoth civic center Wright wanted to build in the city he considered his home town.
    Meanwhile, a subtle struggle is taking shape over the future of Taliesin, Wright’s name for the sprawling home he built and rebuilt over 50 years on the brow of a hill near Spring Green.
    Age, weather and Wright’s own building methods have caused the buildings to age rapidly. The commune of disciples he left behind has been unable to keep it up, despite their ownership of an estate valued in the tens of millions.
    State officials, including Wisconsin’s governor, would like to step in, renovate the property and use it to promote local business and tourism. But they must overcome expected resistance by both Wright’s former apprentices and the Wisconsin electorate, which has historically balked at spending tax dollars on anything connected with Wright.
    ”Just the other day I was at a party, and a doctor’s wife said to me, ‘I wouldn’t give you anything for that scoundrel,’ ” said Marshal Erdman, a Madison architect-developer who worked with Wright during his last years. ”Most people he scared, but it’s hard to describe what a genius he was. . . . He was ahead of his time in everything you can think of.”
    At Erdman’s urging, Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson last year formed a commission to study restoration of the 600-acre Taliesin complex, which dominates a section of the Wisconsin River valley 45 miles west of Madison. Like many in the state’s current business-minded political establishment, Erdman sees Taliesin as a state treasure that has been grossly underappreciated.
    ”Last month, the governor went to Switzerland. When he tried to sell cheese, instead of people asking about cheese they asked him about Frank Lloyd Wright,” Erdman said.
    Erdman envisions executive conferences, political gatherings and tens of thousands of tourists filling Wright’s buildings, buildings that now are unused much of the year. He points to Illinois, where the state government has spent heavily to restore a single Wright-built home near the capital of Springfield. ”For the state of Wisconsin not to do a thing like this is pure stupidity,” he said.
    Since the late 1930s, members of the commune-like architecture school Wright founded have migrated each year between the grounds here and a winter home in Arizona called Taliesin West. From June to October, tourists are admitted to part of the school complex, but Wright’s own house and studio are off-limits except to a handful of scholars and invited guests.
    What those privileged few see is both marvelous and distressing. Wright played with ideas constantly at Taliesin, adding and rebuilding as his style and vision changed. ”There was a house that hill might marry and live happily with ever after,” Wright wrote in his autobiography. ”I fully intended to find it.”
    Named for a mythic Welsh poet whose name means ”shining brow,” the house emerges from the brow of its hill, commanding wide views of the valley. Inside its semi-enclosed courtyards, living rooms and passages are stunning examples both of Wright’s inventive mind and of his passion for collecting fine Asian art.
    But throughout the building, plaster is cracked, stone is loose and wood is worn rough with age. An elaborate Japanese screen above his studio is rotting. Original pieces of Wright furniture, like those that have sold recently for five and six figures, are chipped and stained.
    Heating systems are ancient and insulation nonexistent, moreover, making the house uninhabitable in winter. Worse, there is no sprinkler system, and much of the electrical wiring is outdated. Fire is a continual worry; just last month, a gas leak sparked a blaze that damaged one of the outlying buildings.
    Members of the Taliesin Fellowship, who double as faculty in the school and directors of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which owns the property, say they have been diligent in keeping up the property, which for many of them is home half the year.
    ”It’s a gigantic estate,” said Richard Carney, managing trustee of the foundation. ”We have not had enough money to do a good job of rebuilding, but to say that the buildings are on the verge of collapse is not correct. . . . The buildings are actually in better shape now than they were when Mr. Wright died.”
    Wright built on a shoestring, usually strapped for cash despite his fame, and ended up using cheap materials and unskilled labor. He was also often oblivious to existing technology, designing structures that seemed to call for methods and systems not yet invented.
    Building Taliesin from the ground up today would be considerably cheaper than restoring the original building, which is expected to cost about $14.7 million, according to Erdman.
    The situation has grown more ironic as the market value of original Wright objects has soared in recent years because the foundation itself owns what is certainly the largest collection of his papers, furniture and glasswork in the world. In the archives at Taliesin West are 23,000 original drawings and 200,000 documents and manuscripts, and the two Taliesins hold what may be one of the largest collections of Asian art in the country, Carney said.
    Charles Montooth, who has lived here since he was a Wright apprentice in the 1940s, said some members have suggested – in jest – selling a few original pieces, replacing them with copies and using the profits for restoration. ”We kid among ourselves,” he said.
    But Erdman said Taliesin’s predicament is no joke. ”They are struggling,” he said of the fellowship members. ”They are having a fight among themselves.”
    At issue specifically is a state proposal to transfer ownership of Taliesin to a new organization, whose board of directors would be stacked in favor of non-fellowship members. Although members of the fellowship generally support some restructuring, the group is reluctant to cede control of the property, according to Erdman.
    ”That’s a hard thing for them to give up because it’s their home,” Erdman said. In addition, the state plan calls for opening up Taliesin to tourists, and projects that up to 200,000 people a year might visit, something that could dramatically change the atmosphere on what has historically been a bucolic, retreat-like campus.
    But even if the state wins full cooperation from Wright’s former disciples, there remains the problem of raising money in a state where Wright’s name is still legend for reasons other than architecture. ”He didn’t pay a lot of bills,” said Nicholas Muller, head of the Wisconsin State Historical Society.
    When Wright moved back to Spring Green, near his birthplace, from Oak Park, Ill., in 1911, leaving behind his wife and children for another woman, his neighbors asked the sheriff to evict him. During World War II, he angered war-effort groups by arranging agricultural deferments for his apprentices, who farmed the Taliesin grounds part time. His relationship with the community remained equally tenuous through his several marriages and affairs and was not helped by his penchant for sounding off in public.
    ”He enjoyed needling people,” recalled Carroll Metzner, a Madison lawyer who fought for years against Wright’s civic-center plan there. ”He used to call us a one-horse town – this while we were supposed to be considering his project.
    ”We had a debate once, he and I. He finished speaking, then I got up, and as I was talking, I got heckled. After a minute, I realized it was Wright, heckling me from behind. I turned around and said if he wasn’t through, he could come back and continue speaking. . . .
    ”It was after we defeated the project that he said publicly I should be assassinated.”
    Any state proposal to finance Taliesin’s restoration will be controversial, Metzner predicted. ”I think the public will be outraged if they use any tax money to revive the thing,” he said. ”For a lot of people, it still carries a lot of bad memories.”
    But Erdman is hopeful that those memories are sufficiently dim, at last, to allow some state aid. ”I am surprised at how well accepted (the Taliesin project) is,” he said. ”I’ve had people call me to offer support who 15 or 20 years ago wouldn’t have dreamed of supporting Mr. Wright.”

    GRAPHICS: PHOTO (2)
    1. Taliesin means ”shining brow,” but Wright’s 600-acre estate has been
    tarnished by age and a bare-bones maintenance budget. (Special to The Inquirer / MORRY GASH)
    2. Some see value in the estate; others see only a distasteful man.
    KEYWORDS: BIOGRAPHY BUILDING WISCONSIN END OF DOCUMENT.

  2. Very much enjoyed this podcast — especially as I live in Wisconsin and have visited the Second Jacobs House. The house is one of only 43 Wisconsin locations identified as a National Historic Landmark. Two historical markers are at the location — one for the National Historic Landmark status: http://wisconsinhistoricalmarkers.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-second-herbert-and-katherine-jacobs.html — the other placed by the Madison Landmarks Commission: http://wisconsinhistoricalmarkers.blogspot.com/2015/04/jacobs-ii-house-frank-lloyd-wright.html.

    Wisconsin born, many sites honor the world-renowned architect. One of the first Wisconsin Historical Society “official” markers, erected in 1964, honors him: http://wisconsinhistoricalmarkers.blogspot.com/2013/07/marker-134-frank-lloyd-wright.html

    His Spring Green home, Taliiesin, is also a National Historic Landmark:
    http://wisconsinhistoricalmarkers.blogspot.com/2012/12/taliesin.html

    My favorite Frank Lloyd Wright building is the Unitarian Meeting House — also a National Historic Landmark — in Madison: http://wisconsinhistoricalmarkers.blogspot.com/2015/04/unitarian-meeting-house.html

    A Southern California native, I never appreciated the work of Frank Lloyd Wright until I moved here. This podcast gave me an even deeper understanding and appreciation for his work. I’m going to link it to all my posts.

    Thank you so much for 99% Invisible. I LOVE every podcast!

  3. Sean

    Couldn’t it be said Joseph Eichler continued Wright’s vision? I don’t know much about Eichler, but from a distance, it seems like he achieved what Wright was going for.

  4. Iván León Trujillo

    Nice work, it is really a good post, and it is so easy to listen to. Unfortunately reading it I have noticed that have a mistake with the age of the architect when he passed away. In 1959 Frank Lloyd Wright has 92 years old. On the other hand, I couldn’t let pass that in the footnote of the Florida’s southern usonian home, you people, forgot to stablish that is a FLlW design. The fact that was built by the firm or persons that you have indicated doesn’t take the authorship of the building.
    Cheers.

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