Woburn, Massachusetts
May 4-5, 2024

Explore contrasting visions of Modernism in New England with the Conservancy. See two vastly differing manifestations of Wright’s Usonian principles, the Zimmerman House & the Kalil House, juxtaposed in Manchester, New Hampshire. In the northern suburbs of Boston, an area strongly influenced by European Modernism, tour houses by Walter Gropius, Paul Rudolph, Sarah Harkness, Walter Bogner & more.

All tours and programs are subject to change. 

Online registration will open to Conservancy members at the Benefactor level & above via email on January 29, and to all Conservancy members via email on February 5. Join or renew your membership for early access and member rates. Any remaining spaces will be made available to the public via this page on February 19. Rates increase for all tickets on February 28. If you have questions or require assistance registering, email [email protected] or call us at 312.663.5500. It is anticipated that AIA credits will be available.

This event has sold out and we are now keeping a waitlist for both Saturday and Sunday tours. Please contact the office at [email protected] or 312.663.5500 if you would like to be on the waitlist.

Register

Saturday Tour (May 4)

On Saturday, we drive to Manchester, New Hampshire, to tour two remarkably intact Frank Lloyd Wright-designed houses. Built five years apart on the same street, the Zimmerman House (1950) and the Kalil House (1955) invite us to compare markedly different manifestations of Wright’s vision for affordable, efficient homes. The Zimmerman House is an excellent example of a Usonian in brick and cypress, its characteristic narrow passages and dramatic open living spaces enlivened by original furniture and gardens designed by Wright. The Kalil House, one of only seven Usonian Automatic houses ever realized, has a radically different structural system comprised of cast-on-site concrete blocks. The Kalil House was only opened for visitation recently.

A house constructed of concrete block with light shining through the windows, in a wooded setting. Photo showing garden room and fireplace of Zimmerman House, constructed of brick and wood Photo showing fireplace of Kalil House, constructed of concrete block

Top left: Zimmerman House; top right & bottom: Kalil House photos by Sean Dungan courtesy of the Currier Museum of Art

Both Wright houses were acquired directly from the families of the original clients by the Currier Museum of Art. We will also have time to explore the museum’s collections of European and American paintings, decorative arts, photographs, and sculpture.

While in Manchester, we’ll venture to the Abbey Church at St. Anselm College, designed in 1965 by Koehler & Isaak, the most notable New Hampshire architecture firm of the era. Cylindrical walls of brick and glass and a lofty timber roof enclose a space for worship that brings people and priest together, its design embracing the liturgical modernization of Vatican II.

Photo of Abbey Church interior showing vaulted timber roof of cylindrical space, stained glass windows on the walls to either side, and brick arches Exterior of Abbey Church showing front doors and then a taller, cylindrical brick building with windows behind Aerial view showing the Currier Museum of Art building situated in Manchester, New Hampshire

Top and bottom left: Abbey Church at Saint Anselm College photos courtesy of Saint Anselm College; bottom right: Currier Museum of Art photo courtesy of the Currier Museum of Art

Near our hotel, we’ll tour the Woburn Public Library, the first of a series of highly-influential small-town public libraries by H.H. Richardson. The 1876 stone building is typical of Richardson’s highly-ornamented early work. Wright may have looked the library’s plan – which includes, at one end, an octagonal space originally used for special collections – for the basic layout of his own Oak Park studio. A recent addition by CBT Architects allowed for restoration of the original building.

Image of the exterior of the Woburn Public Library at twilight, showing the original historic building to the left and the contemporary addition to the right.

Woburn Public Library photo courtesy of CBT Architects

We’ll end the tour day with a light reception at the Guastavino Tile Factory before dinner on your own. Now home to the offices of construction management firm TOCCI, which renovated it beginning in 1999, the factory started producing tile for a host of remarkable structures around the country in 1907.

Buses depart around 9 a.m. and return to the hotel by about 7 p.m. Lunch and reception are included in registration. The itinerary is still under development and subject to change.

Interior of TOCCI headquarters showing Guastavino tile arch ceiling and mosaic tile floor Exterior of TOCCI headquarters in former Guastavino Tile Factory Interior detail of Guastavino tile arch in TOCCI headquarters in former Guastavino Tile Factory

Tocci offices in the former Guastavino Tile Factory photos courtesy of TOCCI

Sunday Tour (May 5) - WAITLISTED

Our Sunday tour will traverse the northern suburbs of Boston, where the influence of the European Modernists who came to teach at Harvard and MIT can be seen directly.

Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, designed the Gropius House in 1937 for himself and his wife, Ise. Operated as a house museum since 1984, it combines elements of traditional New England architecture with European Modernism, and includes original furniture designed by Marcel Breuer.

The Yanofsky House was designed in 1956 by Paul Rudolph, who studied under Gropius and was dean of the Yale School of Architecture. A modest and elegant one-story house that pinwheels outward from a courtyard-like living room, the current owners have carefully restored it while maintaining its integrity, down to original wood cabinetry and a lively color scheme.

Interior photo of the Yanofsky House, showing the fireplace Exterior of the modernist Walter Gropius house in spring, showing a green lawn and trees and strikingly modern white house Interior of Gropius House showing hallway and stairs

Left, top and bottom: Gropius House photos courtesy of Historic New England; right: Yanofsky House photo by Molly Schaeffer

The Architects Collective, a firm whose cofounders included Gropius and Sarah Harkness, began creating Six Moon Hill, a National Register-listed residential neighborhood, in 1947. Harkness, a prominent early woman architect, designed the Tucker House there in 1949. In 2020, Flavin Architects added the Swan Studio to the property, a studio building that steps down the sloping garden, with vertical board siding and a flat roof that integrate it aesthetically with the original house and surrounding neighborhood.

Walter Bogner, whose career as an architect and teacher at Harvard spanned the transition from Beaux Arts to Modernism, was a major force in shaping the architecture of New England. The Schwann House & Studio consists of two buildings he designed for a renowned organist and music publisher. The simple and functional house, dating to 1947, displays the influence of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, and was built around an inviting central space with a stone fireplace and acoustics optimized for live music. Bogner added the studio in 1962. The current owners received a DOCOMOMO Modernism in America Award for their restoration work in 2023.

Buses will depart the hotel around 9 a.m., and will make a stop at Boston Logan International Airport no later than 3:30 p.m. before returning to the hotel. Lunch is included in registration. The itinerary is still under development and subject to change.

Photo of interior of Tucker House showing dining table and wall of windows, with the Swan Studio visible across the yard Photo showing Swan Studio in the foreground and the Tucker House in the distance to the right Interior of Schwann House showing stairs with an integrated storage unit and unique woodwork

Top and bottom left: Tucker House and Swan Studio photos by Nat Rea Photography courtesy of Flavin Architects; bottom right: Schwann House photo by Matt Andersen Miller

Hotel

All tours depart from and return to the Crowne Plaza Boston-Woburn (15 Middlesex Canal Park Rd., Woburn). Event registrants stay at the special group rate of $139 per night, with complimentary breakfast.  Booking instructions and information about transportation to/from the hotel will be included in your registration confirmation email.

Registration

Early Bird Rates (through February 28):

Saturday Tour (May 4): $350 members, $400 non-members
Sunday Tour (May 5): $300 members, $350 non-members

Rates increase by $30 each tour ($60 for both tours) after February 28.

Registration Details

Rates are per person. Lunches are included in each day’s tour registration. Maximum of two attendees per registration. Friend-level members may only register a single attendee at the member rate. Space is limited and waitlists will be kept. Registrants are required to agree to the policies listed below on this page.

All tours and programs are subject to change. It is anticipated that AIA credits will be available. If you have questions or require assistance registering, email [email protected] or call us at 312.663.5500.

Key Dates

  • January 29: Registration opens to Conservancy members at the Benefactor level & above and Board members, who will receive the link via email.
  • February 5: Registration opens to all Conservancy members, who will receive the link via email.
  • February 19: Registration will open to non-members if capacity remains. The registration link will become available on this page.
  • February 28: Last day of early bird rates. Rates increase by $30 each tour ($60 for both tours) after February 28.
  • April 11: Deadline to book a hotel stay at our special group rate. Booking instructions are included in the registration confirmation email.
  • April 19: Deadline to cancel registration and receive a refund.

Register

Policies & Agreements

Cancellation Policy

Registrants may cancel through April 19 for a full refund. Cancellations made after April 19 will not receive a refund for any reason, including testing positive for COVID. Email [email protected] or call 312.663.5500 to cancel your registration.

The Conservancy reserves the right to cancel this event at any time if we feel that it cannot be held safely, for any reason. In this case, the Conservancy would refund participants the cost of their registration, but will not be responsible for any other costs incurred as a result of our decision to cancel the event.

Attendees may wish to consider purchasing travel insurance, which may reimburse certain costs in the event that the event is canceled or you are unable to participate. The Conservancy does not recommend any specific insurer or insurance product, and is not able to provide guidance.

Photography and Video

By attending this event, you may be included in photography and video recordings that may be used for the Conservancy’s educational or marketing purposes. Photography by participants is generally allowed, but might be restricted or prohibited at the request of specific venues.

Physical Condition Considerations & Special Accommodations

Tour attendees may encounter and must be capable of walking through tight spaces, up staircases, and on unpaved surfaces with no assistance. Private residences featured on our tours are not subject to ADA requirements.

If you have questions or require special accommodations to participate, please contact [email protected] to discuss your needs prior to registering.

Transportation

Transportation is provided for all tours and events unless otherwise noted. Attendees are not permitted to drive themselves to tours for which transportation is provided. Tour participants must be capable of boarding and exiting coach buses.

Liability Waiver

By registering for this event you consent to the following: “In consideration of my admission to the properties toured through the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC), I agree to waive, release, hold harmless and indemnify FLWBC and the owners, operators, members, officers, directors, trustees, agents, successors and assigns, of the FLWBC and each and every house, site and entity included in the conference, including any announced changes, from any and all claims, injuries, causes of action, demands, costs, liability and/or harm of any kind that I may have or may acquire against each of them as a result of my participation in this event.”

Posted January 24, 2024