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Presents Legacy Awards to Ruth & Russell Kraus
and Board of the FLW House in Ebsworth Park
Kraus (right) with AIA President Vernon Remiger
American Institute of Architects presented the 12th Annual AIA Excellence in Design
Competition in late October. The awards recognized "excellence
in built environments and the craftsmanship that supports these environments."
Russell and Ruth
Kraus were recognized for their "exceptional commitment and vision in the
design and construction of their home, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the
wisdom to see this valuable asset transferred to a public setting."
Joanne Kohn received the AIA Legacy Award for the Board of the FLWHEP. The award
recognized the board for "creating the nonprofit organization to purchase,
restore and manage the Kraus House, and for partnering with the St. Louis
County Department of Parks & Recreation.
Kraus during construction of the Kraus House
Announces the Legacy Fund in Honor of Ruth & Russell Kraus
order to guarantee the ongoing care of the Kraus House and to continually honor
the couple whose imagination, persistence and courage brought about the alliance
of Frank Lloyd Wright and the
building of an extraordinary house, the FLWHEP
has created a special fund: The Ruth & Russell Kraus Legacy Fund.
to the Legacy Fund will provide for the care of the House and for the creation
projects that explore the value of architecture and design for the benefit
of the public.
to the Fund, either directly or through planned giving, are welcome and greatly
appreciated. Contributions may be sent to:
40 Upper Ladue Road,
St. Louis, MO 63124.
A Note From the Chairman
want to say how delighted I am that Russell Kraus has returned to St. Louis. At
the meeting for The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy in San Francisco in
September, where I was asked to speak about the Kraus House, I met other owners
of Usonian houses like Russell who worked directly with Wright and cherished their
memories of him. Russell continues to share his memories with us, and
grateful to him.
The SF meeting put into perspective the challenges we
faced with restoring the Kraus House. I heard about the condition of the Malcolm
E. Willey House in Minneapolis where the wood was extensively rotted. I was reminded,
too, of the sad state of decay of many Wright houses such as the Jacobs and Weltzheimer
Houses in John Eifler's talk on Nov. 12 in St. Louis at Washington University.
The Kraus House, with all its needs, was in much better shape than those houses.
the San Francisco conference I visited the Walker, Buehler, Bazett/Frank, Hanna
and Fawcett Usonian Houses and noticed similar features in some and contrasting
features in others to the Kraus House. For example, the dramatic thrusting triangle
like our terrace was seen in the Walker House sitting exquisitely on the Carmel
beach. Others had rooms at the end of the carport like our tool house, but they
were heated and comfortable bedrooms or offices.
The most common feature
I saw in the houses was the Cherokee red floors, in different configurations
the parallelogram, but all showing signs of wear with owners looking for ways
to renew them. We, too, are searching for a product and procedure to restore the
Kraus House floors.
The meeting was structured with a mixture of scholarship
and viewing of architecture. In addition
to houses, we saw the renowned public
building Wright designed, the Marin County Civic Center.
The next Conservancy
meeting will be in Madison, Wisconsin, in October 2004. I hope many of you will
consider attending. It will open your eyes as the San Francisco meeting did mine.
The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park
Alice Gerdine has had a long-time interest in architecture,
specifically contemporary architecture.
Her earliest interest was in
watching the process of the design of her own parents home in the 1920s.
her husband John Philip Meyer, and their four children lived in Huntleigh Village
for twenty-five years in a house designed for them by Charles Eames. Furnishings,
including a light fixture, furniture and a rug designed by Eames for Alice's home
were included in the recent Eames exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum.
interest in FLW architecture includes traveling to Taliesin many years ago, but
added that she did not know there were Wright houses in the St. Louis area until
She is thrilled that the Kraus House was saved. "It's
wonderful for our city. The restoration is done
perfectly. The proportions
of the house feel right when you're in it, something that you cannot describe.
But it feels right." Wright made a house, a great house, a happy place, Alice
believes. "I love to go
She points out,
"I'm so happy that the Kraus House has developed into a wonderful resource
for the community. We owe a lot of thanks to Joanne Kohn for her perseverance
in seeing the House
Joanne encouraged Alice to join
the board of the FLWHEP. Even in her ninth decade, Alice continues her dedication
to community cultural assets.
Max Lippman first became aware of the Kraus House when he served
on the St. Louis County Historic Preser-vation Commission. He and his wife, Zoe,
toured the house and met Russell Kraus. He
thought the house was a "dazzling
strong presence of that period of architecture and a great potential house museum
Saving the Kraus House is part of his continuum
of restoring structures of historic value. The first building he helped save was
the Old Post Office in downtown St. Louis. He has been on the boards of the Piper
Palm House in Tower Grove Park, the DeMenil and Eugene Field Houses and presently
serves on the Campbell House board. He was on the St. Louis County Historic
Preservation Committee for 15 years and chairman for two years.
of history brought him to St. Louis from Jacksonville, Florida 40 years ago to
get a graduate degree in history. He taught American history at Hazelwood High
School until seven years ago when he
Max has always had an
interest in architecture being curious about how people live, how structures work
and how they affect people. He continues to share his enthusiasm for the Kraus
House with his multitude of friends and has benefitted our efforts greatly.
Eifler Lectures on "Usonian Houses Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright"
Eifler, of Eifler and Associates of Chicago and master plan architect for the
restoration of the Kraus House, brought his experience and expertise with FLW
Usonian houses to more than 150 Friends, architectural students and others gathered
in Steinberg Auditorium at Washington University November
explained the difficulty of keeping Wright houses alive, the restoration difficulties
and what is needed to preserve them for future generations, including the L-shaped
brick and redwood Jacobs Home, the first Usonian in Madison, Wisconsin; L-shaped
masonry Usonian Weltzheimer House in Oberlin, Ohio, and the square-plan native
stone and wood Seth Peterson Cottage in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. All of these houses
have benefited from Eifler's restoration expertise. Slides illustrated how the
Kraus House compared with these other houses.
Wright, Eifler explained,
believed that everyone should enjoy good architecture.
were Wright's answer to housing for the middle class. The first Jacobs House in
1936 was built for $5,000; the next cheapest Usonian was $10,000. FLW was, according
to Eifler, "trying to build great works of art within a budget," with
everything used to the fullest. The houses required precision fitting of the components
What distinguished these homes were the slab floors, the use
of pine and redwood, no attic, the smallest basement, one continuing flowing space,
and sandwich wall construction of three different layers of wood about 2 1/4"thick.
An example of Wright's experimentation was his innovation of
in the floor in the Jacobs House. At the same time, the Johnson Wax Building was
being built in Racine. He took the liberty of sharing bricks from Johnson Wax
with the Jacobs House.
Wright developed more and more variations of Usonians,
but not a standardized model; every home was custom, and highly detailed. Each
one was an improvement over the previous, contends Eifler. The architect was designing
these homes at the same time as some of his more well-known buildings --
in Pennsylvania, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and Wingspread in Racine,
Describing some of the unique features of the Kraus House Eifler
offered that Russell Kraus' studio was not originally designed to be a part of
the house, but to be where the tool house is now. Like the Kraus House, which
was built by Lee Patterson, other Usonian houses were typically the first house
built by a contractor. He also added that the main terrace of the house off the
living area has been restored now for the second time.
The Kraus House,
although small, is incredibly complex, Eifler pointed out. What makes the Kraus
House most remarkable, Eifler believes, is that the Krauses maintained everything,
doing an incredible job of keeping everything involved with the house together.
The long wait for completion of the Kraus House can probably in part be
attributed to the large quantity of work at Taliesin on major projects, Eifler
Wright continued to play with geometry, his first hexagon design
was the 1936 Hanna House in Palo
Alto; the Kraus House developed using the
parallelogram. We were incredibly lucky to get the drawings for the Kraus House
from Taliesin, Eifler explained. The level of craft and energy in the Kraus House
is really phenomenal, Eifler noted.
Wright always depended on the structural
people to make the houses work, thinking he could defy the laws of physics. He
thought that 2 x 4s could do almost anything, experimenting to see what worked
and what didn't.
Restoration of these Usonian houses has included the
finishes, roofs, cantilevered structures, windows.
"These are beautiful
houses that need to be kept up and watched over carefully,"Eifler said. Usonian
houses were far more complex than Wright had envisioned them.
the restoration process on the Kraus House, Eifler undertook an assessment of
the building and the "terrible shape"of the brick, evaluating why the
brick had failed: specifically, no flashing under the top layer of brick. To make
the terrace brick work, detailed specifications were drawn up and a great job
was done by Markway Construction and Bergmann Masonry, putting the brick back
the way it should have been built. The brick was matched to the original,
lights close to the original, doors redone. "It's fortunate that the contractor
did high-quality work. The Kraus House was in much much better shape than the
Jacobs House,"Eifler pointed out.
Coming back to the House for the
first time in many months, Eifler pointed to the quality of restoration of the
furnishings brought back by the conservators. "I'm impressed by how well
the house has been treated," Eifler said.
Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
Each year The Frank Lloyd
Wright Building Conservancy spotlights Wright designs in an area of the country
at its annual conference. This September, the meeting: "Frank Lloyd Wright
and Mid-Century Modernism"was held in San Francisco.
Joanne Kohn attended the meeting and presented an update on the restoration of
the FLWHEP. Earlier this past year an article about the restoration written by
Joanne was included in the Conservancy's quarterly "Bulletin".
meeting was divided between presentations, i.e. "The Rise of Mid-Century
Modernism in California", "Protective Easements for Wright Properties",
and "Public Sites Valuing Volunteers"Work in Interpreting Wright Sites",
and tours of Wright-built properties.
Lloyd Wright's Marin County Civic Center
California area boasts a number of Wright properties. One of the most notable
is the Marin County Civic Center, including both the administration building and
the Hall of Justice, described as "a kinship of architecture and landscape",
and a national and state designated historical landmark.
The design was
completed in 1958; Wright did not see the completion of this four-story structure
that looms over the Marin County hills area on 160 acres. The county building
has been described as the "last and one of the most important works"
by Wright. The photo illustrates the roof, sand walls,
archways of cement
stucco, and exterior balconies with internal walkways which cantilever over the
posts. Built to lessen the effects of earthquakes, the structure is segmented
to allow for expansion. Atriums provide beautiful plantings that flow with the
One of the most recognizable homes open to Conservancy attendees
was in Carmel, described as a little "cabin on the rocks" - the Della
Walker residence, 1951. If you haven't seen it as you've driven down the coast,
you may have seen it in the 1959 movie, "A Summer Place". Built for
an addition designed by Wright after the Walkers moved in in 1956,
the house was one of Wright's favorites. Distinguished by its stone
terrace that juts out into Carmel Bay, the large stone chimney/fireplace
and the blue metal cantilevered roof, and the bank of windows, the
house is the only building on the ocean side of the road in Carmel.
The Della Walker residence, Carmel, California
homes were also included on the tours. The one-story rubblestone and wood Usonian
Berger house was built by the owner Robert Berger in the 1950s in San Anselmo.
The Randall Fawcett House in Los Banos was built on a working farm. Another Usonian
house, the expansive two-winged house,
has 60 and 120-degree angles and is
made of exposed concrete blocks, and has a "walk-in" fireplace in the
main living area.
The Conservancy was established in 1989 to "facilitate
the preservation of the remaining structures designed by FLW", in the wake
of the demolition of a number of FLW buildings, including the Imperial Hotel in
Japan and the Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo, New York. Since The FLW
Conservancy started, not one Wright-designed building has been destroyed.
During the past 13 plus years, the Conservancy has waged numerous successful efforts
to help preserve threatened FLW buildings.
Scherubel, Executive Director of The FLW Building Conservancy,
For additional information on the Conservancy
and the annual conference,
The restoration/renovation of the tool house is complete
with the exception of the floor.
The structure, connected to the house
by the carport, was unfinished and had been used for storage. The large old porcelain
sink and water heater have been removed. A new water heater has been put in the
basement, a smaller sink installed, the squirrel-damaged windows repaired, and
the ceilings and walls treated and painted.
The work included installation
of a heating and air conditioning unit. Bricks were removed and stored to allow
for the installation. Birch cabinets were built similar to the kitchen cabinets
complete with as close
as possible Cherokee (FLW) red counter tops and brass
pulls that match the kitchen cabinet pulls.
The building is used for storage,
space for caterers, a planned small shop, and showing of the video. These services
will eventually be included in the planned visitors' center, and the bricks removed
will be reinstalled.
The tool house restoration/renovation is funded by
the Gateway Foundation of St. Louis.
Lloyd Wright Birthday Party
The FLWHEP again celebrated the anniversary
of Frank Lloyd Wright's birthday on June 8. Wright was born June 8, 1867 in Richland,
On another glorious June day, like last June 8, Friends and
guests gathered on the lawn of the House. The afternoon included hearing Jan Greenberg
and Carole Kroeger talk about their pottery collections and seeing the exhibit
of art pottery, touring the house and viewing the new video. With music by the
St. Louis Ragtimers, guests enjoyed delicious food and birthday cake.
exhibit of pieces from Jan and Carole's art pottery collections were on display
during tours through August.
Special thanks to Party Chairman Sally Pinckard,
and her committee including Laurie Hellman, Susan Gelman, Marilyn Vollet, Joanne
Fogarty, Edie Binder, Bryan Erdmann, Anne and Jack Heisler, Kay Kinsella, Jan
and Tibor Nagy, Julia Rapp, Marsha Rusnack, Peggy Gundlach, Mary Ann Janssen,
Susan Ehrenfest, Michelle Walter, Ruth Pinckard, Sharon Bateman, Ann Plunkett,
Mary Ottoson, Ann Smith Carr and all the docents who led the tours, whose efforts
resulted in a highly successful benefit.
with Russell Kraus
FLWHEP docents joined Russell Kraus (seated center
right), and hosts Jan and Tibor Nagy at the Nagy's home on North Ballas in Kirkwood.
The Nagys, who are neighbors of the House and Russell's long-time friends, invited
the docents for a lovely evening of delicious food and to meet Russell. Thanks
Jan (far right), a board member of the FLWHEP, and Tibor (far left), who
designs many of our communications, for generously hosting this opportunity to
learn about Russell's experience of building and living in the House.
The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park is
the proud recipient of the Excellence in Design award of the Masonry Institute
of St. Louis.
Recognizing an exceptional example of masonry construction
in Eastern Missouri, the award states: "It took an insightful masonry repair
plan to restore this house to former glory and protect it for the future."The
Masonry Institute awards are presented every three years for design and craftsmanship.
Jeff Markway of Norbert Markway Construction Co., General Contractor; Joanne Kohn,
Chairman of FLWHEP accepting for the FLWHEP, and Dave Bergmann, masonry contractor.
Also honored were John Eifler, restoration architect of Eifler & Associates,
Chicago, for masonry repair design; McGinnis & Associates, Engineer; Missouri
Brick & Supply and Sioux City Brick & Tile and
Brentwood Supply for
work on the restoration and materials supplied.
Acquisition Fund Established
We have received our first contribution
to the Art Acquisition Fund - a $100 gift from Leon and Gloria
Anderson's gift is greatly appreciated.
This acquisition fund is being
set up to purchase pieces of art, accessories and books to fill the empty shelves
and add to the enjoyment of the house tours.
If you would like to donate
to the Fund, send your check payable to the FLWHEP, indicating Art Acquisition
Fund. Contributions, tax-deductible, to this special fund will be specifically
recognized in upcoming newsletters along with the items purchased by the funds.
For more information contact: (314) 822-8359 (8FLW) or send your contribution
c/o 40 Upper Ladue Road, St. Louis, MO 63124. Please indicate Art
gift of Susan Lorenz
Lorenz, a Friend of the FLWHEP, and friend and fellow student of Russell Kraus
this metal and wood piece designed by Eugene (Frederick Jean)
Thalinger to the FLWHEP.
Thalinger, who attended the Washington University School of Art at the same time
as Russell Kraus, did commercial sculptures at his studio on Delmar in St. Louis.
One of his distinctions was
his design of the first educational mobile depicting
the planets, for the New York Museum of Natural History. Thalinger was included
in the St. Louis Artist Guild's Centennial Exhibit in 1977. He was the son of
artist E. Oscar Thalinger, who was associated with the Saint Louis Art Museum
for nearly 40 years.
Other recent gifts will be featured in upcoming issues
of "Wright Focus".
to Oak Park and Elmhurst, Illinois
spending a day in Oak Park at the Wright Plus House Walk, friends of FLWHEP visited
the 1901 Wright Prairie Style Henderson House in Elmhurst with owners Penny and
Pat Fahey. Special thanks for planning the trip to Janet Schoedinger, Jim Mann
and Ellen Post.
Plans Trip to Bartlesville and Tulsa
Join the Friends of the FLWHEP
on our next tour April 23 -25, 2004, when we visit Bartlesville and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Bartlesville, 45 minutes away from Tulsa, is the home of the 1952 Wright-designed
Price Tower and "Hillside", the 1954 Harold Price, Jr. House, as well
as several other architecturally significant buildings.
A New York Times
article on October 16 touted the work being done in Bartlesville to restore the
Price Tower, one of two skyscrapers designed by Wright. The tower has been recently
renovated, including an inn on six of the top floors and an art center below.
The group will stay for two nights at the Inn and have dinner one evening at the
Tower's Copper Restaurant and Bar.
We will attend the newly opened Robert
Indiana show in the art center and see several examples of the work of prominent
architect, Bruce Goff, former head of the Oklahoma School of Architecture.
is also home to a Community Center designed by William Wesley Peters, chief architect
of Taliesin. Most of the interior decor of the Center, located adjacent to the
Tower, was selected by Mrs.
Planned is a trip to the countryside
to visit the 3,600 acre Woolaroc Ranch, Museum and Wildfire Preserve, the rustic
country estate of Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips Petroleum, now filled
Russells and Remingtons where ostriches and emus roam, and a hike or
ride through a renowned prairie noted for its flowering beauty.
morning, we will travel to Tulsa for brunch and a visit to the famed Philbrook
Museum of Art and to the equally renowned Gilcrease Museum. The group will return
to St. Louis Sunday evening.
Lloyd Wright's Price Tower,