To mark the 75th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House, architect Steven M. Reiss has published the book Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House, which tells the fascinating story of the Usonian house. The house, originally built for journalist Loren Pope and his family, was completed in 1940 in Falls Church. Second owner, Marjorie Leighey, helped save the house when it was threatened by the construction of I-66. She donated it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which moved the house to Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria in 1964. It was later moved again, although only 30 feet, because of soil issues. The house was the first of only three Wright homes built in Virginia. Here’s a short recent review from The Washington Post to learn more about one of our local architectural treasures.
Tag Archive for: Frank Lloyd Wright
What could have been? This is the question an upcoming (November 2011) National Building Museum exhibition (entitled “Unbuilt Washington”) will explore as it looks back at some of the designs for buildings, bridges and monuments that were never built in Washington. Some of the these designs also happen to be by some of the country’s leading modern architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward Durrell Stone, Chloethiel Woodard Smith and Kevin Roche. I came across one of these–a proposed aquarium by Roche in collaboration with the Eames Office–several years ago so I am excited to learn more about it along with the other projects. Can you imagine an aquarium on Haines Point in East Potomac Park designed by proteges of Eero Saarinen (Roche and John Dinkeloo continued Saarinen’s practice) and Ray and Charles Eames. Unfortunately, it did not happen. “In 1962 Congress approved construction of the National Fisheries Center and Aquarium for East Potomac Park,” the Washington Business Journal writes. “Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates LLC designed the project, slated to cost $10 million at the time and include a 60-foot greenhouse for living ecologies. The project fell victim to the economic and political turmoil of the time. The aquarium today makes its home in the Herbert Hoover Department of Commerce headquarters.”
Another interesting part of the aquarium story is that Smith, who was the leading force in the redevelopment of Southwest DC, designed the Channel Waterfront Bridge. The bridge was to link the Southwest waterfront to West Potomac Park and the aquarium. The plan included interior and exterior pedestrian walkways and more than 100 shops and restaurants. The design was inspired by the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. The currently planned redevelopment of the Southwest waterfront is seeking to bring some of these ideas to fruition.
You can see the designs by these and other architects in this great slideshow produced by the Washington Business Journal. You can read a story about the expected exhibit by G. Martin Moeller Jr., senior vice president and curator at the museum.
Here are a couple upcoming lectures at the National Building Museum that may be of interest. As part of its annual Three Movements in Architecture series, the museum will hold a session on July 16 on the Prairie School of Frank Lloyd Wright. David Bagnall, director of interpretation for Sites and Collections at the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, Oak Park, Illinois, will discuss the Prairie School phenomenon through the work of Wright and his contemporaries. On July 23, G. Martin Moeller, Jr., the museum’s senior vice president and curator, will looks at the resurgence of The Glass Box in contemporary architecture and how glass curtain walls can be used in a greener way than in the past.