Erosion of a Legend? - Page 2

Impending closure of architectural school founded by FLWright dismays modernists
Fridays on the Homefront
Outside Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Photo: Andrew Pielage

"From our perspective, the destruction of this profound legacy and jewel in the American cultural landscape is a preventable disaster," declares a statement issued by the student body. The somber declaration from seemingly the final class of the alma mater of innovators like John Lautner and Gay Jones concludes, "We feel the results of this outcome do not reflect the best interests of the school, its students and faculty, and the vision of Frank Lloyd Wright."

The foundation board has been saddled over the years with bills for extensive repairs maintaining the two sites, partly due to wear and tear; and also from extensive damage, and in particular as a result of a 1998 storm in Wright's native state of Wisconsin.

The foundation issued statements assuring that tours and K-12 education at the two sites will continue and even expand in the school's absence. Hess sees that as critical to sustaining Wright's legacy, noting that both were "architectural experiments." Various tours of the properties will also continue.

Fridays on the Homefront
Inside Taliesin. Photo: Andrew Pielage

"It's absolutely essential to visit them, to see they're all about," the Southern California-based historian effused. "They're magnificent, both of them."

Right now, that may be small consolation to dedicated Wright devotees like Reed Kroloff, a former board member for both FLWF and SOAT, now dean of the School of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology.

"The foundation would have had to make the decision that it was excited to have a school, and was willing to go the extra mile to make that happen," Kroloff told Architectural Digest, adding, "It was not my experience during my time as a trustee that the school enjoyed this type of relationship."

Class dismissed…maybe forever.