The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust has announced it does not plan to pursue its current proposal to demolish a historic home and substantially alter a second building to make room for a new visitor and education center adjacent to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park.
The announcement comes about a week after the Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission unanimously rejected the request to tear down or move the residential building at 925 Chicago Ave. and remove additions to another home – now used as office space by the trust – at 931 Chicago Ave.
The proposal faced fierce opposition from historic preservation organizations and members of the public, several of whom own Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District.
The trust could have appealed the commission's decision to the Oak Park Village Board of Trustees, which would have had the final say on the proposal.
The trust released the following statement on Sept. 5: "The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust will not exercise its option to appeal the decision of the Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission but will reconsider its plan. Cultural and educational values are central to the Trust's mission and will continue to guide us."
Frank Lloyd Wright Trust's executive director, Celeste Adams, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Douglas Gilbert, a local architect who has advocated against the proposal, said he has not spoken with anyone at the trust since it released its announcement, but added, "We're obviously pleased with the decision."
"I think we all hope they continue to develop a plan or design for a visitor center but one that incorporates the historic buildings that are there," he said.
Gilbert reiterated his position that the site is large enough to accommodate the historic homes as they currently exist as well as the visitor center.
He hopes the trust studies the buildings in greater depth and produces a historic structure report to give more detail about the two homes east of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.
One of the points of contention is over additions made to the building at 931 Chicago Ave., which served as a residence for Wright's mother during the time he lived in the home and studio.
It is unknown whether the additions to the building, which the trust planned to remove, were added by Wright or some other architect.
"I hope they do [a historic structure report] even if they're not proceeding with the demolition," Gilbert said. "This unveiled the curious question about what did happen with that house, and what was Wright's involvement."
Answer Book 2019
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