Peter Wege Auditorium
1130 Wealthy St SE Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Jim Sewell will speak about the ongoing historic preservation efforts at Taliesin East, the former home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright in Spring Green Wisconsin.
Frank Lloyd Wright, often called the father of organic architecture, was quoted as stating "the building should be a natural circumstance of the land". At his masterpiece estate, "the land" is slowly reclaiming his buildings. Walls are sagging, stone walkways are sinking and bricks are tilting upward. Many of the structures were not meant to be permanent and did not even meet the building codes of the time. Restoration of the estate, which could cost in excess of $60 million, continues to be a challenge as preservationists struggle to stabilize the property without affecting its historical significance.
Jim’s long association with the Taliesin Estate began in 1977 when, as the Senior Preservation Architect for the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office, he administered grants and oversaw the work on the Hillside School and Drafting Studio and the Midway Farm properties.
In 1990, Jim was made part of the newly formed Taliesin Preservation Commission to guide the restoration of the Romeo and Juliet tower. They have continued to develop the framework for restoration of the entire site.
In recent years Jim has been involved in consulting and documenting numerous projects on the estate. In March, 2010, after retiring from the State Historic Preservation Office, Jim was made an independent consultant by Taliesin Preservation, Inc. the successor to the Taliesin Preservation Commission. In his new position, Jim has a number of responsibilities including ensuring that the ongoing work is consistent with the historic character of the property and meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards, and to establish the framework for, and to chair, an internal oversight committee to develop, prioritize, and guide future work on the estate.
There will be a cocktail hour with a members only bar (membership is $12 a year) from 6:30-7:30PM and an afterglow with opportunity to speak with Jim from 8:45 – 10:00 PM. This event is open to the public free of charge.