Irvington architect to close 2014 Viewpoints
, 2014


Irvington architect to
close 2014 Viewpoints

The 2014 Viewpoints series at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury, 132 Lancaster Drive, Irvington, will continue at 11 a.m. June 2 with a presentation by Irvington architect Steven M. Reiss.

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His topic will be American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Reiss will speak about the three Wright houses constructed in Virginia and discuss a little-known exhibition pavilion designed by Wright for Jamestown in 1907.

Reiss’s lifelong interest in Frank Lloyd Wright began during his high school years growing up in Chicago.

“I lived a few blocks away from the Robie House, one of Wright’s most famous houses built in 1908,” said Reiss. “It’s considered the greatest example of Wright’s Prairie School style, the first architectural style that was uniquely American.”

He also remembers discovering and exploring many of Wright’s other houses in Chicago’s southside neighborhood of Hyde Park.

Reiss is a nationally recognized expert on Frank Lloyd Wright and his small house designs, called Usonians. He has written articles and made numerous presentations on Wright’s philosophy regarding small houses, sympathetic siting of houses and environmentally responsible design. All of these issues are especially timely, given today’s residential design practice.

Over the past 10 years Reiss worked at Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1941 Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, as resident architect. He was responsible for preservation, research and documentation services for the 1.200-square-foot house. The Pope-Leighey house is considered one of Wright’s earliest and most influential small home designs.

During this time Reiss met and became close friends with Loren Pope, the original owner of the Pope-Leighey house. This provided Reiss with an unusually personal perspective on the challenges of building and living in a Wright house. After Pope’s death in 2008, Reiss started research for a book on the Pope-Leighey House. The recently completed book, published by the University of Virginia Press, is scheduled for release this month.

Reiss provides consulting services to the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR). He is a member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and is a member of the Historic Resources Committee of the American Institute of Architects. He works from his Irvington studio.

Admission is free. Attendees are invited to remain for a complimentary buffet luncheon. Reservations are required; call 438-4000 on or after May 19.


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