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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

KCMODERN Hosts Iowa State University Architecture Students

Last week, on March 26th and 27th,our friend Dan Naegle, Professor of Architecture at Iowa State University brought his students to town. When they arrived they had a very interesting tour of A. Zahner Metal Fabricating Co. Later in the the evening they went to the new Block addition at the Nelson-Adkins Art Museum, seeing the use of light in architecture.
On Friday we went to the Mod4 house by Studio 804, in KCKS. The owners hosted a tour of the house and and gave great insight into their lifestyles there. One of Professor Naegele's classes attending were researching "Affordable Portable"which seemed appropriate.

From there we went to the current project by Studio 804. It is a site-built two story house ( unusual compared to their past work) with many green features. There are 22 students working on the project. The photo below shows the east facing front and toward the rear, the ample window/door openings

After a lunch at "Grinders" on 18th street, we proceeded to 60th and Charlotte to see the "Home Contained" house. Built with custom designed shipping containers, windows and doors and connected with structure like this stairwell, the house during construction does not look like your typical residence.
Innovative industrial designer, Debbie Glassberg of Home Contained, teamed with BNIM Architects to get some of the details right. She sees her home as an extreme example of the possibilities this building type has. She thinks with proper design this could be a solution to housing demands in areas damaged by major weather events. Shelter, sized and designed for victims needs and shipped, trucked or railroaded ( full of necessities for a home) to the location.

She feels that architecture and the way we build is changing around the world, and we should be open to new ideas and techniques that have proven successful elsewhere in the world.

For more on this house go to:
For some great photos and articles on Shipping Container Housing go to:
After this tour we saw a cluster of Lustron houses, MCM commercial buildings in O.P. KS and looked at some classic architectural landmarks before they left town. It was cold, wet and miserable but we had fun.