Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
2015 Conference
Wisconsin: Frank Lloyd Wright's Laboratory
September 30-October 4, 2015
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The Pfister Hotel

UPDATE 9/17: The conference is at capacity and registration is now closed. Thank you to all who registered to attend!

Frank Lloyd Wright’s life story is intimately entwined with his home state.

To Wisconsin he left a built legacy unmatched by any other area, spanning more than seven decades. He built houses there--both simple and elaborate, from the cozy Richards Bungalow in Milwaukee to his beloved Taliesin. His Usonian house concept and his House for a Family of $5,000-$6,000 Income highlighted in the September 26, 1938, LIFE magazine were first constructed in Wisconsin. He built several lakeside residences there. He built schools in Wisconsin, including the 1887 Hillside Home School and the 1956 Wyoming Valley Grammar School, not to mention his own school at Taliesin. He built religious buildings for both the Greek Orthodox and Unitarian faiths. He built commercial and industrial buildings for Albert Dell German and for the S.C. Johnson Company, and a tall building, one of only two he ever constructed. He built apartment buildings in Wisconsin—the Munkwitz (demolished in 1973) and Richards Duplex Apartments (restored) in Milwaukee, and experimented with the American System-Built Homes and the Erdman Prefabricated Homes projects. He worked out his cast concrete ornamental friezes on both the A.D. German Warehouse and the Bogk House. And these are just some examples of the rich and varied assortment of designs he scattered around the state. Many more structures envisioned for the state remain only as dreams on paper.

Join us for tours of more than 15 of these Wright buildings, educational sessions that explore Wisconsin as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laboratory, special events in houses by Wright apprentices and contemporaries, a silent auction with one-of-a-kind Wright items and experiences, the Wright Spirit Awards gala and more.

Click here for information about donating to our auction.


The conference will be headquartered at The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The AAA Four Diamond Pfister was designed in the Romanesque Revival style by architect Charles Koch. It opened in 1893 with state-of-the-art technology like electricity, fireproofing and individual thermostats. Today The Pfister, a Historic Hotels of America member, houses the largest Victorian art collection of any hotel in the world and hosts an artist-in-residence program. Click here to reserve your room at The Pfister (Conference registrants only)

Conference Tours

This year's general conference tours (Thursday-Saturday) include these Wright works and more: SC Johnson Headquarters (1936-43), Arthur Richards American System-Built Houses (1915), Herbert F. Johnson House, Wingspread (1937), Frederick C. Bogk House (1916), Joseph Mollica House (1958), Thomas Hardy House (1905) and Albert Adelman House (1948).

Morning Sessions

Two dozen experts will make educational presentations and speak on panels addressing such topics as Wright’s designs for low-cost housing, the preservation of Wright’s Wisconsin home and studio at Taliesin and 1915 A.D. German Warehouse in Richland Center, and his Research Tower for SC Johnson, which opened to the public for the first time ever last year and will be part of the conference tour.

Pre-Conference Tour

Wright’s many Wisconsin works are spread far and wide throughout the state. This pre-conference tour will travel an hour and a half north of Milwaukee for a relaxing lunch and tour at Wright’s Bernard Schwartz House, Still Bend (1939) in Two Rivers. Originally designed as a “dream house” for LIFE magazine in 1938, the two-story house with brick and cypress board-and-batten construction is set diagonally at a scenic turn in the East Twin River. Along the way, we’ll tour two houses from Wright contemporaries: the Russell Barr and Nola Mae Williamson House (1950), built on the shores of Lake Michigan by architect Russell Barr Williamson, who worked for Wright in the late 1910s and supervised some of his Wisconsin projects, and the Harold and Janet Schulz House (1961) by organic architect and former draftsman to Williamson, John Bloodgood Schuster. Tickets $150. Tour departs at 9 a.m. from The Pfister.

Opening Reception

Located in the 1879 Mackie Building, an eclectic Gilded Age building designed by E. Townsend Mix and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Grain Exchange is a soaring, 10,000-square-foot Italianate hall that once housed the world’s largest wheat exchange. Catch up with your Conservancy friends and make new acquaintances as we kick off the conference with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres in this beautifully restored local landmark. Tickets $40. The Grain Exchange is located within easy walking distance, 2.5 blocks from The Pfister Hotel. A shuttle also will be available.

Leadership Circle Reception

Leadership Circle Reception Following Wednesday’s opening reception, members of the Leadership Circle will step inside the rarely seen James Jr. and Patricia Jeffords House (1963) in Elm Grove. Designed by John Howe for Taliesin Associated Architects, the three-level house on a sloping site was originally built for public exhibition as The Milwaukee Journal’s “Ultimate House of 1963.” Guests will enjoy dinner and fine wine in this little-known TAA gem. By invitation only.

Conservancy Benefit

Guests at our annual benefit will receive an exclusive exterior tour of Wright’s Willard H. Keland House (1954) in Racine before enjoying food and drinks at the exceptional Richard and Ada Christensen House, Ogawa-uchi (John Randal McDonald, 1954). Tickets $150. Transportation will be provided directly from SC Johnson campus after Friday tour.

Homeowners and Public Sites Dinner Meeting

Own a Wright house? Or work in one? This one’s for you! Staff and docents from Wright sites open to the public and owners of Wright homes are invited to a special gathering at The Pfister Hotel on Thursday, Oct. 1 with dinner, cash bar, useful presentations and time to talk with other owners, site managers and volunteers. Tickets $55. Specify affiliated house/site upon registering.

Post-Conference Tour

Another survey into Wright’s farther-afield Wisconsin work, this half-day tour takes in three houses: Wright’s Maurice Greenberg House (1954) in Dousman, with its cantilevered wraparound balcony offering treetop-level views of the valley below, and E. Clarke and Julie Arnold House (1954) in Columbus, a long, low Y-shaped design now occupied by a second generation of the Arnold family. We’ll also see a unique Usonian-style design by Wright contemporary LaVerne Lantz at his own LaVerne and Mollie Lantz House #2 (1966). Tickets $150. Tour departs at 8 a.m. from Pfister and drops off at Milwaukee airport at app. 2:30 p.m. then Amtrak downtown station and returns to hotel.

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