Today, the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust announced that John Ronan will design a new visitor and education center for Wright’s famed Oak Park home and studio. The expansion, which will add more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, will create a new arrival point for the public and allow the non-profit to increase its educational programming.
The Trust selected John Ronan from a group of all Chicago-based finalists including Krueck + Sexton, Pappageorge Haymes, Perkins + Will and Vinci Hamp Architects, citing his proposal’s “design simplicity, quiet presence within the site, and use of materials referencing the site and surrounding neighborhood,” said board chairman Bob Miller in a statement. “This is the most important initiative since the Trust’s founding and restoration of the home and studio. It will ensure that Wright’s legacy remains vital to future generations.”
The design includes an outdoor plaza, conducive to gatherings, lectures, and receptions, extending from the visitor center to Chicago Avenue. This grassy lawn will connect to the grounds of the home and studio, which will become a gallery for the Trust’s permanent collection. A new education center will offer a conference room, space for student and family classes, and areas for work by local artists and designers to be displayed. And the organization’s existing offices—a 1960s building that once was the residence of Wright’s mother—will be converted to a library and research center. “The new Center will be a building of architectural importance set gracefully into the context of a beloved historic site and neighborhood. It is a natural next step into a bright future for Oak Park,” said Celeste Adams, president and CEO of the Trust.
Ronan’s plan will be submitted for review to the Village of Oak Park.