Wright center should integrate, not segregate

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I am against tearing down the house at 925 Chicago to build a new visitor center for the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio. This house, along with Anna's house, can easily be adapted to the intended use. The argument that it cannot be made accessible is specious. Many historic houses have been successfully remodeled to provide accessibility to persons with disabilities, such as our own Pleasant Home in Oak Park, as well as Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana House in Springfield, the Widow Clark House in Chicago, and the Mitchel Mansion in Naperville. 

I am strongly opposed to creating a campus for the Home & Studio. The proposed structure is a brick, flat-roofed building with a large glass storefront. Adding a building that differs stylistically from Frank Lloyd Wright's design for his Home & Studio (mostly covered in stained shingles) creates a stark visual contrast that will do nothing to enhance Wright's design. 

Visitors who are interested in Wright's work may actually find the attempt to insert new architecture offensive. I know I do. What Wright seemed to understand — and the designers of the new visitor center do not seem to understand — is that the Home & Studio is nestled in a residential neighborhood. The creation of a large courtyard entrance to the Home & Studio experience will cheapen the pleasant blending of new and old that Wright successfully achieved. The new building will announce itself as a commercial endeavor transparent in its efforts to attract more tourists. 

I firmly believe that our community should remain in the driver's seat regarding the character, nature, and presentation of Frank Lloyd Wright's legacy in Oak Park, rather than the Trust, which seems to be largely focused on ticket sales rather than preserving Wright's legacy.

Liz Thompson 

Oak Park 

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