Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Frank Bott Residence Interiors by Frank Lloyd Wright - Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Leadership Circle Event

Name: Frank Bott Residence
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Date Designed: 1956-60
Builder: Unknown
Date Completed: 1963
Size: Unknown
Location: Kansas City, MO
Type: Residential
Style: Organic
Status: Good condition with a diligent owner
Photographed by: Robert McLaughlin

Some of the KCMODERN crew helped with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Leadership Circle Event a little over a week ago at the Frank Bott House. Here are some interior photos that I quickly snapped off before the guests started to arrive.

Frank Bott met his wife Eloise at the Wright designed Florida Southern College. Not much has been written about this design, but it is documented that Eloise had Wright narrow the kitchen or “work space” after the first design so she could reach everything by turning.

Construction is “rubble” stone desert masonry, consisting of over a mile of stone farm wall brought in from the Flint Hills of Kansas. The interior woodwork is Honduran Mahogany. The home features many mahogany built-ins and horizontal batten paneling that give the home an almost yacht-like feel.

The home, which is situated north of downtown Kansas City on a bluff above the Missouri River Valley, presents a rather austere facade with battered desert masonry walls and a large stone fireplace mass facing the street at the north edge of the site. Living areas face south with glazed views of the Kansas City Skyline, the downtown airport and the Missouri River below. A daring cantilevered balcony, rivaling Fallingwater's, projects boldly towards the views to the south and out over the dramatic escarpment of the site. The master bedroom is located with the main living areas at the entry level, with the secondary bedrooms located on a lower level, which daylights because of the sloping site. The plan of the house is based on a 4 foot square module.

Taliesin apprentice, John Howe did preliminary drawings for the Bott residence. The final version of the design and working drawings were done by apprentice, Cornelia Brierly. The drawings were completed in 1960, the year after Wright’s death in 1959. Construction was completed in 1963, costing just over $200,000.

All of the furniture in the house was designed by Wright and is original to the house. Cornelia Brierly also provided color and fabric choices for Wright’s designs. Many of the furniture pieces are reminiscent of the furniture line Wright did for mass production by Heritage Henredon.

Thanks to Scott Lane for help on the details about the house.

Interior photos have been deleted at the owner's request. Please see the exterior photos here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Al and Margaret Hunt- Hill House- Colorado Springs, CO

I have admired this home for years...It was built for Mr. and Mrs.(Hunt) Hill. The Hunt family ( yes from Texas) developed the area as Kissing Camels Golf Resort, after the famed rock formations to the west known as "Kissing Camels". The Hunt family own the land that also encompasses the Garden of the Gods, in Colorado Springs, CO. We had an appointment to see the house, but Mrs. Hunt was ill so I don't have any interior photos out of respect for her...she passed away shortly after this visit. I tried to find out who the architect was but was unsuccessful...the staff didn't know or couldn't remember as well as the neighbors, though they thought he was from Denver ( I will find out eventually and report in). It's an incredible MCM design, built like a fortress. The light, shadows and views are first class and the landscaping is exceptional.
Nicely sited with fine landscaping...the entry is tucked under the deep overhang...You can't tell how large this home is from the street because of the privacy walls and the landscaping.
This shows the east terrace with separate personal and entertaining spaces divided by a water feature. The deep overhangs provide a sense of security on windy days...note the large glazed areas.
Above, another view of the east terrace auxiliary bedroom wing in the background.
The west side terrace with "shademakers" on a steel framework, an incredible contraption... In the background is the access to the master bedroom wing. Looking to the right you would see the below view..walled, garden terraces with water fountains...Pike's Peak is to the right in the photograph.

Julius Shulman - Oklahoma Modernism Rediscovered - April 30 through June 7

Organized by the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Julius Shulman: Oklahoma Modernism Rediscovered is the first-ever retrospective of photographs taken in Oklahoma by legendary architectural photographer Julius Shulman. The exhibit runs from April 30 through June 7 and will feature over 65 images - many unseen by the public for decades - of buildings designed by such world-renowned architects as Bruce Goff, Herb Greene, William Caudill, Truett Coston, Robert Roloff, and Paul Harris. Twenty-one architectural projects from six Oklahoma cities and towns will be represented in the exhibition, including homes, banks, churches, museums and hospitals.

In addition, on Saturday, May 2, the Museum will sponsor an architectural bus tour of several Oklahoma City-area buildings that Shulman photographed during the years he worked in Oklahoma.

St. Francis Xavier Church - Modern Photo of the Week

Name: St. Francis Xavier Church
Architect: Barry Byrne and Joseph Shaughnessy
Scupture: Alfonzo Ianelli
Year Designed: Unknown
Builder: Unknown
Year Built: 1951
Size: Unknown
Location: 1001 E. 52nd Street, Kansas City, MO
Type: Religious
Style: Moderne
Status: Good
Photographer: Robert McLaughlin

Here is a teaser image from the Out and about Wright Tour. Look for a lot more from this event soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hyde Residence Fireplace by Architect, Bruce Goff - Bonus Photo of the Week

Name: Hyde Residence
Architect: Bruce Goff
Year Designed: 1964
Builder: Michael Rothstein Construction
Year Built: 1965
Size: 3400 sq. ft. 5 bedroom 3 ½ bath
Location: Prairie Village, Kansas
Type: Residential
Style: Organic Modern
Status: Very Good
Photographer: Robert McLaughlin

The ten foot by ten foot central skylight over the brick hearth is penetrated by the fireplace chimney, which has a purple mirrored triangular wall behind. Strips of “cellophane rain” hang from the skylight, creating a magic play of light on carpet and walls. With a fire burning, you understand the concept of Earth, Fire and Water. Many people know the house from the use of green dime store ashtrays used as stained glass elements in the doors and railing.

Castilian by Architects, Jones and Emmons - Modern Photo of the Week

Name: Castilian
Architect: Jones and Emmons ( A. Quincy Jones)
Year Designed: 1956
Builder: Don Drummond
Year Built: circa 1956-57
Size: Unknown sq.ft. 3 or 4 bedroom variations with 2 baths
Location: Prairie Village, Kansas
Type: Residential
Style: Modern Atomic Ranch
Status: Excellent
Photographer: Robert McLaughlin

We will be posting a lot more about the design of this home a little later.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Snower Residence by Architect, Marcel Breuer - Photo(s) of the Week

Name: Snower Residence
Architect: Marcel Breuer
Year Designed: 1954
Builder: Unknown
Year Built: 1955
Size: Unknown sq. ft. 3 bedroom 2 bath
Location: Mission Hills, Kansas
Type: Residence
Style: International Style
Status: Endangered due to the value of the lot in Kansas City's most affluent neighborhood
Photographer: Robert McLaughlin

Description: This residence was built by its current owner who commissioned Breuer to design it for them in 1954. The owners have painstakingly maintained the original interiors as designed by the architect. The exteriors also remain exactly as they were originally planned. The house was designed as a long and narrow box, housing the living and bedroom spaces, built on a masonry base containing the garage and a family room. Large cantilevers at both ends dominate the design much like Breuer's own house built in 1947, in New Canaan, Connecticut. This may be one of only two Breuer House built West of the Mississippi. It is likely one of the most original Breuer Houses standing today.

I had to dig around my hard drive to find these photos taken with my first digital camera back in April of 2004. They are more candid snapshots than architectural photography but they give you a taste of the exterior and interior of the house.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Before You Buy a House by John Hancock Callender

Back in 2004, co-blogger Scott and I went to California to visit with Don Drummond at his home in Carmel, California. After an entire day of chatting about his years building Modern homes in Kansas City, he began to look for some old magazines and books about his projects in KC. He took us to a hall closet, which had some of his wife's books on design and there was this book with the Revere Homes from Prairie Village, KS on the cover. It was called, Before You Buy a House, by John Hancock Callender. My heart skipped a beat with excitement when I saw it. Seeing my enthusiasm, Don offered to give me the book. I resisted the tempting offer, suggesting that he give it to one of his children or grandchildren instead. I did except his offer on another fabulous book, but that is a story for another day. Ironically, I found the same book on the shelf of Stephen Ritchings, another Mid-Century Modern enthusiast and friend in California later that same weekend. Making note of the title, I immediately ordered a couple copies of this rare title from used book sellers upon my arrival back home.

This has proven to be one my favorite titles in my extensive vintage architecture book collection. It has early 1950's homes by many of the great house designers and builders of the time. Most notably. there is extensive coverage of the early Eichler homes by Anshen and Allen and Jones and Emmons in California. Also of note are homes in Hollin Hills, Alexandria, VA by Architect, Charles M. Goodman and Builder, Robert C. Davenport. Closer to home, there are projects in Arapahoe Acres, Denver, CO by Architect, Eugene R. Sternberg and Builder, Edward B. Hawkins.

The book is titled Before You Buy a House: How to Judge, How to Value, How to Decide by John Hancock Callender and authorized by the Architectural League of New York and the Southwest Research Institute. Published by Crown Publishing, New York in 1953.
160 pages, 34 Houses and developments, 211 black-and-white photographs, drawings, and plans, and an Evaluation Checklist prepared by The Housing Research Foundation.

Because some of these homes will be on the upcoming KCMODERN Runnells Modern House Tour I thought I would share this book with you. Here are the pages from the book pertaining to the Revere Home by Architect, David B. Runnells and Builder, Donald H. Drummond.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nicol Residence by Architect, Bruce Goff - Modern Photo(s) of the Week

Name: Nicol Residence
Architect: Bruce Goff
Year Designed: 1965
Builder: Michael Rothstein Construction
Year Built: Third Version 1965
Size: 2868 sq. ft. 4 bedroom 4 bath
Location: Kansas City, MO
Type: Residential
Style: Organic Modern
Status: Excellent Condition with an owner sensitive to the architecture
Photographer: Robert McLaughlin

Here is another classic Kansas City Modern home scheduled to be on the upcoming Out and About Wright: Kansas City Tour put on by the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen-Lambe House in Miniature

Recently I took my family to Exploration Place, a children's science museum by Architect, Moshe Safdie in Wichita, Kansas. I was surprised to find a miniature of Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen-Lambe House in an exhibit called Kansas in Miniature. The model was part of a model train exhibit done in HO scale-1:87. It was nice to see this unexpected view of one of the last Prairies School Houses by the Master. The unusual (for FLW) courtyard plan may be more understandable in these birds eye views than it is in photos or from the street. This museum and the Allen-Lambe house might be of note to people taking the jaunt down to the Wichita portion of Out and About Wright: Kansas City Tour on Sunday April 19, 2009.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cumonow Residence by Kivett and Myers, Architects - Rambling Ranch House - Modern Photo of the Week

Name: Cumonow Residence
Architect: Kivett and Myers
Year Designed: 1951
Builder: Unknown
Year Built: 1951
Size: 3400 sq. ft. (720 sq. ft. on lower level)
Location: Mission Hills, Kansas
Type: Residential
Style: California Ranch
Status: Excellent
Photographer: Robert McLaughlin

This large Rambling Ranch built by the Cumonow Family is a rare residential example of the work of Kansas City's venerable Modernist Architects, Kivett and Myers. It is said to have been designed by Clarence Kivett himself. It is sited in one of Kansas City's most prestigious neighborhoods right smack next to the site of the Cliff May Mega ranch that was torn down a few years ago. This large brick ranch house steps down to follow its equally large site just like the neighboring Cliff May house did. The question is, can we assume that this fine home is safe?

This home is scheduled to be on the upcoming Out and About Wright: Kansas City Tour put on by the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy. More information about the tour at