That’s me, Guillermo Luna, in the visitor center at the Johnson Wax Building. This is in Racine, Wisconsin and it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. (It was a HOT summer day in Wisconsin.)
My visitor sticker.
Since I’m interested in architecture — I collect souvenir buildings. This is a souvenir building of the Johnson Wax Research Tower. My understanding is that these were given to selected guests at the ceremony commemorating the building’s opening. It’s a cigarette lighter too.
Here I am at the Unitarian Meeting House in Madison, Wisconsin. This is a church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. [Guillermo Luna at the Unitarian Meeting House.]
The entrance to Taliesin.
Waterfall at Taliesin. When you go to Taliesin you park at the visitor center and then take a small shuttle bus to Taliesin. The shuttle bus travels by the waterfall.
I’m at Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
Taliesin. It looks great in this photo from the Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly, v. 22, Winter 2011. I’ve never seen a better picture of Taliesin. (The photographer is Aris Georges.)
This is one of the views — looking out from the house — to the surrounding landscape. It’s very pretty.
Here’s a picture I took of Taliesin. While at Taliesin I thought it had an overgrown look. I’m not sure it’s deliberate.
It’s a postcard. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building is the structure on the far right — in front of the factory. The Larkin Building was demolished around 1950. I bought this oversize postcard at a “paper and postcard” show in Pasadena, CA.
Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s favorite architect. This photo is from a book called, Frank Lloyd Wright in New York: The Plaza Years, 1954-1959. This book’s filled with photographs that I’ve never seen before. If you like FLW you should buy it. It’s a really nice book. Whoever designed it did a great job. (The photographer is Halley Erskine.)
I don’t have any photos from Wingspread but I do have this brochure. Two things I remember about Wingspread. 1) I went with a friend and we arrived about 10 minutes before the place opened. There was a large gate across the driveway which prevented us from driving in so we decided to wait in front of the gate but then a voice came over a speaker and told us we could not wait there and would have to come back when the venue opened. We found that weird. 2) I had an arguement with the person I went with so during the tour we didn’t speak to each and tried to avoid each other. Sometimes, traveling with other people is difficult. Wingspread was built for Herbert F. Johnson of Johnson & Johnson back in 1937. The architect for Wingspread was Frank Lloyd Wright.
I found my pictures from that day! This is the gate we couldn’t park in front of. It’s not like there was a huge line. We were the only ones there. Uh, next time cut us some slack Wingspread.
Going to Wingspread was an afterthought. It wasn’t a place I had ever planned on going to.
Here’s a shot from the lawn with our tour guide giving her spiel.
This is the main room at Wingspread. The room is very vertical and it has a compact fireplace considering the size of the room.
This staircase is behind the fireplace. Climbing up and looking around the room was fun. I’m still not quite sure why this lookout is located in the living room though.
As this point, I was pretty much done with the tour.
Unity Temple. I was in Oak Park at the post office sending post cards and I asked the clerk where Unity Temple was. (Unity Temple was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.) He looked at me and said, “It’s right across the street.” Unity Temple is in scale with the rest of the buildings on the street and doesn’t call attention to itself. It’s possible that I’m an idiot and not always aware of my surroundings too.
The columns remind me of the Hollyhock House.
This image is from an old postcard. Unity Temple is a wonderful building that many people don’t know anything about. It’s well worth a visit and I urge anyone who is interested in Frank Lloyd Wright to find a way to get there. It’s one of the FLW interiors — that when I saw it — I said, “WOW!” When I was there they were doing work on the building and they have a restoration fund:
Dana-Thomas House. Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright. I went to this house so long ago (20 years?) that I’m amazed I still have these two postcards from my visit. (See the other one below.) The photographer of this postcard is Dave Beatty.
This is an interior photo of the Dana-Thomas House. The house was erected in 1904 and it is located in Springfield, Illinois. The photographer of this postcard is Mick Cochran.
I’m in front of the St. Louis Art Museum. I traveled there because not only was the building designed by Cass Gilbert but it was used for exhibits at the 1904 World’s Fair. [Guillermo Luna in St. Louis.]
This is a postcard I bought at the St.Louis Art Museum regarding their sculpture hall. I like sculpture and I like Neptune so I bought the card.
Cass Gilbert from the book Cass Gilbert Life and Work by Barbara S. Christen and Steven Flanders. This photograph of Cass Gilbert is unusual because in other photographs, I’ve seen, he always looks “uptight” and “prissy.” Cass Gilbert designed the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. He also designed another building of note…
The Woolworth Building. It’s an amazing structure constructed between 1910-1913.
I found that beautiful graphic in this publication. It appears to be something tourists could buy and was published in 1916.
This is a postcard I found (bought). They’re selling the observation gallery as being “above the clouds.” How totally cool.
This is the reverse side of the card. I enjoy reading what others have to say on old postcards. It’s like having a “party line” into the past.
The Woolworth Building is part of my slightly geeky collection. This version of the building was made by Microcosms. The guy who ran that company made some terrific souvenir buildings.
I went to the Sears Tower Skydeck but I can only find two photos from the visit and one is of an exhibit they had concerning Chicago architecture. I’ve never been a big fan of the International Style but I find the Sears Tower pretty amazing.
This is the other photo I found. It’s really hard getting a good picture of the Sears Tower from the street but this is a good shot.
The Skydeck exhibit had a section on Burnham and Root. This image is from Memorial of the World’s Columbian Exposition by the Joint Committee on Ceremonies. It was published in 1893.
Burnham and Root’s two most famous buildings in Chicago are probably The Rookery Building (1885-88) above and The Monadnock Block (1889-92). I’ve been to both of them.
This is a well composed photograph of Burnham and Root. Both of these photos are from a book called The Meanings of Architecture: Buildings and Writings by John Wellborn Root. It was edited by Donald Hoffmann and published in 1967. According to the book the portrait was originally published in Inland Architect.
After Roots untimely death in 1891, Daniel Burnham went on to design one of New York City’s most famous Buildings: The Flatiron Building. This image is circa 1902. When I visited the Flatiron Building I found that even though it’s a large building it didn’t seem overwhelming or oppressive. As a matter of fact, it seemed very light. Maybe, because of the shape and scale?
A Flatiron Building souvenir. It’s part of my extensive souvenir building collection. These can be purchased in Times Square for $11.95 or less. Uh, it’s extensive not expensive. I had part of my souvenir building collection in my office at work and a co-worker, Gabe, came in and was trying to identify the buildings. He got most of them right and then he said, “Oh, and there’s the Wedge Building.” I looked at him and said, “The Wedge Building?” That kind of made me chuckle. Now, whenever I see it I think, “Oh, there’s the Wedge Building.”
This is from Architectural Record. It’s from January 1912.
Me in front of the People’s Savings Bank in Cedar Rapids, IA. The bank was designed by the sensitive architect Louis Sullivan. This picture of me is not so sensitive. I look like I’ve got a bad attitude and just got out of prison. Thankfully, my shoes make me look less menacing.
This photo scares ME but what I’m pointing at in the picture is a bronze marker that says: LOUIS SULLIVAN * ARCHITECT 1911
[Guillermo Luna at the People’s Savings Bank.]
This image is from the same journal. These street lamps are no longer there. That’s a shame. The name of the article is The People’s Savings Bank of Cedar Rapids, Iowa — Louis H. Sullivan: Architect by Montgomery Schuyler. There are many interior photographs within the article. It’s a long article too: 12 pages from 44-56.
This is Louis Sullivan. I bought this photograph, years ago, from the Art Institute for $35. (I hung it above my desk so I could look at him every day.) On the back of the photo it says that if the photo is published it must contain the following information: Louis H. Sullivan, Architect; full length portrait, leaning on tree. Photograph c 1995, The Art Institute of Chicago, All Rights Reserved.
Sullivan designed the Carson Pirie Scott Building. It was erected in 1899. I have been there a number of times. The first time I went it was still being used as a department store.
The Schiller Building was constructed between 1890-92. It was designed in collaboration with his partner Dankmar Adler. It was demolished in 1961.
At Adler & Sullivan’s Wainwright Building in St. Louis, Mo.
This is what the Wainwright looks like from the sidewalk.
Some “top of the building” detail.
This is stone detail from the entrance. I don’t like this picture of me because I look fat but I like the stone detail.
The tablet says it better than I could.
Dankmar Adler. The other part of the architectural firm Adler & Sullivan.
photograph c 1995, The Art Institute of Chicago, All Rights Reserved.
While in St. Louis I also went to the St. Louis Arch. Architect: Eero Saarinen. It’s a great structure. You can go to the top of the Arch in egg shaped cars that seat five. The picture I use on my Bold Strokes Books author page was taken while I waited in line to board one of those egg shaped cars.
I took this picture at the base looking up. At the very top is a series of windows where tourists can view the surrounding St. Louis area.
This is the cover of a brochure I bought while at the Arch. It was a deal for 50 cents!
Eero also designed The John Deere Building. This is in Moline, Illinois which is right across the river (Mississippi) from where I grew up in Davenport, Iowa.
Back to Louis Sullivan—————–After Adler retired in 1895 their partnership ended, and in the early years of the 20th century, Sullivan designed a series of banks in small towns throughout the Midwest. This bank, The Merchants National Bank, is in Grinnell, Iowa. I stopped by Grinnell during the summer a couple of years ago. The street was deserted. The bank had an elderly man as a docent. Since I was the only one there he gave me a leisurely private tour.
The sign above the entrance.
This is the brochure the bank gives out.
This is the National Farmers’ Bank in Owatonna, Minnesota. Architect: Louis Sullivan. The outside isn’t as spectacular as some of the other banks but the inside made me gasp.
All this terra cotta is above the inside front door. It’s pretty impressive.
This is one of the light fixtures hanging from the ceiling in the Owatonna bank. They’re huge!
Farmers & Merchants Union Bank in Columbus, Wisconsin. Architect: Louis Sullivan. It’s a tad out of focus around the edges. It’s not the best angle and it appears as if I took this photo out of the window of my car while it was moving BUT I hope you look at his picture and say, “What is that?”
Okay, here’s a better angle. I forgot to bring my camera for this trip. When I saw the bank I knew I had to have pictures so I went to a local convenience store/gas station. They had “throwaway” instant cameras but they weren’t Kodak they were an off brand. If I remember correctly it was, like, Phil’s Instant Camera. On top of that, the camera had passed its “best if used by” date so I’m really amazed these pictures even came out.
When I walked inside it was a quiet little bank. I asked one of the tellers about the bank and the teller said, “See that woman over there in the green dress talking on the phone?” I nodded. The teller said, “When she gets off the phone she’ll show you around.” When she hung up, that woman in the green dress, was the kindest woman in all of Columbus, Wisconsin. (Population: 4,997.) She gave me a tour of the bank, she took me into the board room and up to the mezzanine where she showed me all these beautiful architectural drawings and artifacts. The people in the Midwest are the nicest people anywhere. They didn’t have any postcards of the bank for sale but they did have these note cards.
Merchants National Bank in Winona, Minnesota. The architects were Purcell & Elmslie. I drove up to Minnesota to see this bank.
This is the terra cotta eagle above the main entrance. He’s pretty goofy looking which makes me just like him more.
This is the brochure the bank gives out.
This large stained glass window is above the entrance to Winona’s Merchant’s bank.
Milwaukee Art Museum. Quadracci Pavillion. Architect: Santiago Calatrava. It looks like a boat to me.
This looks like a mast.
That’s me inside on the left.
I felt as if I was in a spaceship.
I like the inside A LOT! (That’s me walking down the hallway.) There was a Gilbert and George show running while we were there. I thought it was quaint that there was an advisory at the entrance to the exhibit that warned the exhibit might not be appropriate for all ages.
A couple of summers ago I drove from Chicago to Detroit to see the Diego Rivera murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts. On my way there I stopped at the Henry Ford Museum to see the Dymaxion House. I’m glad I stopped because it’s super-dooper cool. I also sat in Rosa Park’s bus which may have been even cooler. The Henry Ford Museum is worth a visit if you’re in the area. They also have one of JFK’s limos. Yes, that one.
Two of the Diego Rivera murals are visible in this DIA hand out.
The architect for the DIA was Philadelphia architect Paul Philippe Crane.
I like this image of the museum because of the cars. I want the tiny one on the right. The image is from Federal Architect.
My parents live in Iowa. During one of my visits to see them I decided to drive to Mt Rushmore to add some excitement to my visit. According to AAA it’s a 12 hour drive. It took me two days to get there but I was in no hurry. This is the entrance. It was a cold, sunny day.
They’re really big heads. I found them to be very cool. Note: The cafeteria looked very similar to the one in North by Northwest. I know Mt Rushmore isn’t technically architecture but it seems like architecture to me.
The United Nations Building. Archtect: Wallace K. Harrison. It’s something somebody would have bought in the 50s or 60s probably at the gift shop. I went to the U.N. Building a long time ago and sought out the Cary Grant locations from North by Northwest. I asked a number of people where the locations were but nobody knew. Ugh. People need to watch more classic movies.
The Guggenheim Museum. Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright. I bought it at the Guggenheim for WAY too much money but I had to have it.
This is the Getty. Architect: Richard Meir. I’m somewhat ambivalent about it. Once there I like how spacious it is and the types of materials used. The views looking out to the surrounding city are astounding. Yet, from far away it looks like a big, massive jumble. One of my co-workers says it looks like a bunch of hospitals thrown together. I went on Sunday, 2/10/2013 because I was taking a class about Italian Renaissance Art. I went there to see Saint Jerome in the Wilderness (circa 1470) by Ercole de’ Roberti.
In February of 2015 I went up to San Francisco and stood across the street from the Trans America Pyramid. (Architect: William Pereira) It was very pyramid-y. The street guide I had said the building’s observation deck was closed after 9/11 which is a bummer. I wanted to go up.
THE ODDS AND THE END
I’m in a teacup but I’m not a teabag or teabagger.
If I remember correctly I was driving on state highway 20 in Illinois and came upon this sign. I wanted to go but I was alone and it looks like it would have been more fun with a friend.
This is a caricature of me drawn by Melissa Vetter.
I’ve kept this fortune for years. It spoke to me.
The photos of me at The Unitarian Meeting House, The Johnson Wax Building, Taliesin, The St. Louis Museum of Art, The People’s Savings Bank, The Wainwright Building, Wingspread, The Milwaukee Art Museum and Disneyland were all taken by my lifelong friend, Robert C. Graef. Thank God for him and his camera.
My book was released on December 16, 2013. It’s called the Odd Fellows.