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Houlihan Lawrence

A Rare Frank Lloyd Wright House in Usonia, New York Just Hit the Market

Houlihan Lawrence
Houlihan Lawrence

The Guggenheim Museum isn’t Frank Lloyd Wright’s only distinctive building inspired by circular shapes. In the 1940s, the architect was recruited to create the master plan for Usonia, an affordable—albeit tiny—planned community in Pleasantville, New York. One of the three houses in Usonia that Wright himself designed recently hit the market, and for a cool $1.5 million, it can be yours.

Usonian houses were Wright's modest, single-family residences, a trademark style he first adopted in Wisconsin during the 1930s. While affordable, they were also all unique. The cylindrical Sol Friedman House, built between 1948 and 1949, was one of the Pleasantville community's first homes.

Wright designed the three-bedroom residence, also known as “Toyhill," to sit atop a rocky hill. Characteristic of his style, the two-story stone and concrete structure melds seamlessly into its natural surroundings, with large windows, Wright's signature Cherokee Red floors, stone walls, and built-in furniture. Adjacent to the main house, there's a concrete pedestal carport that looks akin to a giant mushroom or flying saucer.

You can view some pictures of the Sol Friedman House below, or check out the listing here.

A photograph looking up the driveway of the Sol Friedman House
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An exterior view of the back of the house
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A view of the living room of the house
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The Sol Friedman House features a stone fireplace, custom-built furniture, and Cherokee Red floors.
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The Sol Friedman House, or “Toyhill,” one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s first homes built for his Usonia community in Pleasantville, New York.
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The Sol Friedman House living room is filled with wooden chairs, a stone table, and short shelves.
Houlihan Lawrence

The Sol Friedman House features a carport that looks like a giant mushroom.
Houlihan Lawrence
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Courtesy of Fernando Artigas
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architecture
Step Inside This Stunning, Nature-Inspired Art Gallery in Tulum, Mexico
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

Upon closer inspection, this building in Tulum, Mexico, doesn’t seem like a suitable place to house an art exhibit. Everything that makes it so visually striking—its curved walls, uneven floors, and lack of drab, white backgrounds—also makes it a challenge for curators.

But none of these factors deterred Santiago Rumney Guggenheim—the great-grandson of the late famed art collector and heiress Peggy Guggenheim—from christening the space an art gallery. And thus, IK LAB was born.

“We want to trigger the creative minds of artists to create for a completely different environment,” Rumney Guggenheim, the gallery’s director, tells Artsy. “We are challenging the artists to make work for a space that doesn’t have straight walls or floors—we don’t even have walls really, it’s more like shapes coming out of the floor. And the floor is hardly a floor.”

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

A view inside IK LAB
Courtesy of Fernando Artigas

IK LAB was brought to life by Rumney Guggenheim and Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel, the founder of luxury resort Azulik. The two properties, which have a similar style of architecture, share a site near the Caribbean coast. IK LAB may be unconventional, but it certainly makes a statement. Its ceiling is composed of diagonal slats resembling the veins of a leaf, and a wavy wooden texture breaks up the monotony of concrete floors. Entry to the gallery is gained through a 13-foot-high glass door that’s shaped a little like a hobbit hole.

The gallery was also designed to be eco-conscious. The building is propped up on stilts, which not only lets wildlife pass underneath, but also gives guests a view overlooking the forest canopy. Many of the materials have been sourced from local jungles. Gallery organizers say the building is designed to induce a “meditative state,” and visitors are asked to go barefoot to foster a more sensory experience. (Be careful, though—you wouldn't want to trip on the uneven floor.)

The gallery's first exhibition, "Alignments," features the suspended sculptures of Artur Lescher, the perception-challenging works of Margo Trushina, and the geometrical pendulums of Tatiana Trouvé. One piece by Trouvé features 250 pendulums suspended from the gallery's domed ceiling. If you want to see this exhibit, be sure to get there before it ends in September.

[h/t Dezeen]

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Engineers Have Figured Out How the Leaning Tower of Pisa Withstands Earthquakes
iStock
iStock

Builders had barely finished the second floor of the Tower of Pisa when the structure started to tilt. Despite foundational issues, the project was completed, and eight centuries and at least four major earthquakes later, the precarious landmark remains standing. Now, a team of engineers from the University of Bristol and other institutions claims to have finally solved the mystery behind its endurance.

Pisa is located between the Arno and Serchio rivers, and the city's iconic tower was built on soft ground consisting largely of clay, shells, and fine sand. The unstable foundation meant the tower had been sinking little by little until 2008, when construction workers removed 70 metric tons of soil to stabilize the site. Today it leans at a 4-degree angle—about 13 feet past perfectly vertical.

Now researchers say that the dirt responsible for the tower's lean also played a vital role in its survival. Their study, which will be presented at this year's European Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Greece, shows that the combination of the tall, stiff tower with the soft soil produced an effect known as dynamic soil-structure interaction, or DSSI. During an earthquake, the tower doesn't move and shake with the earth the same way it would with a firmer, more stable foundation. According to the engineers, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the world's best example of the effects of DSSI.

"Ironically, the very same soil that caused the leaning instability and brought the tower to the verge of collapse can be credited for helping it survive these seismic events," study co-author George Mylonakis said in a statement.

The tower's earthquake-proof foundation was an accident, but engineers are interested in intentionally incorporating the principles of DSSI into their structures—as long as they can keep them upright at the same time.

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