Encouraging the next generation of advocates

Established in 2016 to honor prominent restoration architect & longtime Conservancy board member John G. Thorpe, the Thorpe Fellowship provides funding for emerging professionals & graduate students in architecture or historic preservation to attend the Conservancy’s annual conference. Conference tours and talks enable them to deepen their understanding of Wright’s architecture and immerse themselves in the community of scholars, practitioners, Wright building stewards, and others who are dedicated to preserving this important architectural legacy.

The 2023 Thorpe Fellows posed in a group in front of a building at the Lovness Estate in Stillwater, Minnesota

2023 Thorpe Fellows, from left: Inga McGuire, Mojtaba Saffarian, Dariel Chaidez, Daichi Shigemoto, and Bridget Bartal

2022 Thorpe Fellows, from left: Greg Maxwell, Patricia Moriel, Shivani Rajwade, Sudhiksha Srinivasan, Ha Leem Ro, Andrew Campbell; Olivia Breytenbach not pictured

2021 Thorpe Fellows: Branden Gunn, Izabela Pieniadz, Sierra Beighey and Miranda Black. Photo by Joe Cascio.

2020 Thorpe Fellows Meeting

2020 Thorpe Fellows Virtual Meet-Up

2019 Thorpe Fellows Greg Socinski, Drew Barnhart, and Elise Skulte. (Not pictured: Walker Shadle.)
Photo by Benjamin Simpson

2018 Keepers Fellow Vivien Lasken, and Thorpe Fellows Kristi Jamrisko Gross, Allison Semrad, Ashley Williams, and Rebecca Hagen

2017 Thorpe Fellows Emily Butler, Catherine Deacon and Christopher Locke
Photo © Mark Hertzberg

2016 Thorpe Fellows Suzan Ozcelik, Arianna Urban and Matthew Palmquist with former Conservancy Executive Director Janet Halstead
Photo © Mark Hertzberg

Eligibility

Applications are invited from:

  • Professionals in the first five years of their careers in architecture or historic preservation
  • Graduate students in architecture or historic preservation (or other design disciplines whose research aligns with the conference subject matter), enrolled full- or part-time or having just graduated in the months before the conference

Application & Selection Process

Applications are accepted online via this page. After the application deadline, the Conservancy’s Awards & Recognition Committee will select fellowship recipients. The selection process is competitive. The 2024 members of the Awards & Recognition Committee are:

  • Chair: Jeffrey Herr
    Retired Curator, Hollyhock House and Simon Rodia’s Towers in Watts
  • Liz Allen
    Owner, E. Fay Jones Sequoyah Project
  • Janet Parks
    Retired Curator of Drawings and Archives, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University
  • Scott W. Perkins
    Sr. Director of Preservation & Collections, Fallingwater
  • Fred Prozzillo
    Nord McClintock Family VP of Preservation and Collections, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
  • Tim Quigley
    Principal, Quigley Architects

Award

Fellows receive one free core registration to attend the Conservancy’s annual conference, including the opening reception, three days of conference talks and tours, and the gala dinner with Wright Spirit Awards. Fellows may add on additional events at their own expense, subject to availability. Recipients are responsible for their own transportation to the conference and lodging, but those from outside the area where the conference is taking place may be eligible for a small travel stipend. Fellows will be introduced at the conference and will be required to submit a brief report following the conference. The award also includes a one-year Conservancy membership.

Apply to be a 2024 Thorpe Fellow

The 2024 annual conferenceFrank Lloyd Wright & the American City Today, will take place in Detroit, Michigan, September 25-29. Applications for Thorpe Fellowships will be accepted through Monday, July 22. Notification will be made to applicants by Tuesday, August 6.

Apply Online

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Past Fellows share their experiences

After each conference, we have asked the Thorpe Fellows to share reflections on their experiences. Read what Thorpe Fellows had to say about some of our past conferences:

Make a gift to support the Thorpe Fellowship

Help us encourage the next generation of advocates in our mission to save Wright! Tax-deductible donations to the Thorpe Fellowship may be made online by clicking the button below, or contact the office at [email protected] or 312.663.5500.

Donate to the Thorpe Fellowship

About John G. Thorpe

John Thorpe

When longtime Conservancy board member, architect and preservation advocate John G. Thorpe died in January 2016, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Wright’s built legacy, the Conservancy set up a fund in John’s name to underwrite costs for graduate students in architecture and related fields or young practitioners to attend the annual Conservancy conference. There, they can deepen their understanding of Wright’s work through presentations and by directly experiencing Wright’s architecture. The first Thorpe Fellows attended the 2016 conference in San Francisco, and one or more Fellowships have been awarded each year since.

About John G. Thorpe

John Thorpe earned renown as a restoration architect through work on numerous Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and elsewhere, including the Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago, the Isabel Roberts House in River Forest, Illinois, and the Arthur Heurtley House, William Martin House and Unity Temple in Oak Park.

He was instrumental in the preservation of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, serving as author, with Don Kalec, of the master plan for the property’s restoration to its 1909 condition, published in 1978. He also acted to secure its purchase by the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation (now the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust), which he helped to found, and to implement its 13-year restoration process.

Thorpe was a longtime board member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy who acted tirelessly to preserve existing Wright structures, to formulate plans for their continued use and to provide technical preservation advice to prospective purchasers, homeowners and Wright public site stewards.

Among his many other volunteer efforts, Thorpe was an architectural consultant for the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park and served on the board of the Pleasant Home Foundation, providing strategic and practical planning related to the restoration and preservation of the George W. Maher-designed National Historic Landmark house in Oak Park. He was the first docent at the H.H. Richardson-designed Glessner House in Chicago when it first opened for tours in 1971.

Thorpe received many awards, including the national and Chicago chapter AIA Honor Awards for his restoration work on the Wright Home and Studio. He received his master of architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, and his bachelor of architecture from the University of Illinois. He previously worked for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in their Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Algiers offices before starting his own practice.