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By Ken Trainor
In his Cityscapes blog last Saturday, Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin broke the news that Oak Park's Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust will soon have a presence in the Loop as it moves its administrative offices to the Rookery Building, 209 S. LaSalle St.
This isn't the first satellite location for the Preservation Trust, which took over management of Wright's Robie House in Hyde Park several years back.
The new offices, Kamin notes, will be "just off the Rookery's central atrium, or light court, which Wright remodeled in 1907, covering the ornamental ironwork of Daniel Burnham and John Root in white Carrara marble, incised with gold leaf."
Wright, he adds, maintained an office in the building. The new offices should be open in December, followed by a ShopWright gift shop sometime next year.
Kamin quotes Preservation Trust board Chairman Jim Schiefelbein saying that the new location "enables us to more completely showcase the mission of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust to the entire region." By way of reassurance, he also adds, "There's no abandonment of Oak Park here. It's our base. It's our foundation. It's where our roots are. We're not leaving. You can't do the things we want to do without moving some people around."
The plan is to move 10 out of 50 staff members to the downtown offices. This will open up the second floor of Wright's Studio, which is currently used for offices.
Kamin says Schiefelbein describes the new situation as "kismet."