Frank Lloyd Wright and the East Coast: 2011 Annual Conference


In the shadow of Independence Hall conference participants will spend mornings discussing Wright’s work and influence before boarding buses for afternoon tours. Highlights of the three afternoon tours include the unique and magnificent Beth Sholom Synagogue(1953-1959) and the Suntop Homes (1938-1939), a four-unit Usonian design intended to provide a nationwide model for affordable cluster housing. Participants will also have a chance to tour the Sweeton House (1950) located just across the Delaware River in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and the Spencer House (1956) in nearby Wilmington, Delaware.

Additional tours include Bryn Gweled Homesteads—a cooperative community in picturesque Bucks County, where many of the houses designed by two early Taliesin Fellows, Robert F. Bishop and Paul Beidler, were based on Wright’s Usonian experiments. Attendees will also visit the studio of noted craftsman
George Nakashima and the adapted 18th century Quaker farmstead where Wright apprentices Antonin and Noemi Raymond established the short-lived “New Hope Experiment” apprenticeship program, based on the Taliesin model. Pre- and post-conference tours tentatively include the Wharton Esherick Studio, and works by Louis Kahn, I. M. Pei and Robert Venturi, as well as an historic Philadelphia walking tour option.

Each morning, speaker's presentations will discuss Frank Lloyd Wright's relation to the East Coast and his influence on the region: Thursday will focus on Frank Lloyd Wright and Philadelphia; Friday will investigate the influence of exhibitions and critics on Wright's legacy; and Saturday will explore Wright's relation to New York City. Speakers for the Philadelphia conference include:

Richard Cleary
: Professor and Page Southerland Page Fellow in Architecture, University of Texas at Austin
David De Long
: Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Historic Preservation, University of Pennsylvania
Jane King Hession
: architectural writer, historian, and curator; founding partner of Modern House Productions
Neil Levine:
Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Grace Ong-Yan
: Independent Scholar and Architect; Adjunct Faculty, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia
Debra Pickrel: architectural writer and principal of Pickrel Communications
Helen Searing: Alice Pratt Brown Professor Emerita, Smith College
Joseph Siry
Professor of Art History, Wesleyan University
Kathryn Smith: Independent scholar and lecturer; 2001 Wright Spirit Award recipient
William Whitaker:
Curator, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania
Robert Wojtowicz: Professor of Art History and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Old Dominion University

This year’s conference will be headquartered at the Sheraton Society Hill, situated in one of Philadelphia’s most charming historic neighborhoods filled with brick Federal and Georgian rowhouses and steps away from Center City.




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