Glencoe Awards Frank Lloyd Wright House and Other Landmarks of Historical Significance

A house by America's architect, mansions and two garden innovations were several structures in Glencoe that received awards.

When we think of award ceremonies, who comes to mind?

Does a Nobel Prize winner for literature, victorious athlete kissing the medal around his neck or an iconic actress accepting the award for best performance sound about right?

Though less glorifying than the idyllic scenarios of those three figures, the award ceremony Wednesday night at —when the village's historic preservation commission presented more than a dozen certificates to homeowners and representatives of institutions that have fostered the village's culturally significant structures—was no less prestigious.

For the commission, reasons for presenting each award were five-fold: to create, add, restore, renovate and preserve “those historic structures...valued by the village and its residents,” said commission chair Tom Scheckelhoff.

Glencoe, which includes approximately 3,000 homes, has roughly 3 percent of them listed as landmarks.

"Interestingly enough,” noted commissioner Peter Van Vechten, “about the same percentage were torn down in [the last five years].”

More in architecture:

Van Vechten, who's also an associate director for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP—the architects behind Willis Tower, in Chicago, and 7 World Trade Center, in New York City, N.Y., which was destroyed during the terrorist attacks—stressed the importance of public education in preventing such monumental losses further down the road.

"This is sort of the sad part of the story," Van Vechten stressed. "I urge everyone to go by the properties and take a look at some of the new homes [that have replaced demolished ones]. Some are outstanding and some are not."

"This is why we're here," he added, "why we donate our time."

Preserving a Modern Masterpiece

One of the more, if not most, innovative buildings honored that evening was Frank Lloyd Wright's Glasner House, 850 Sheridan Rd., built in 1905. It is a leading example of prairie style architecture, in which nature and man-made structures coexist, and the form of a structure is united with its function.

Jack Reed, the current owner of the home, said he loves the wonderment it instills in its visitors, especially local school children.

"I think the Glasner House has world significance," Reed opined. "I've tried to do what I did...with other arts, especially performing arts, because they do a lot for me, and I want to share the fun."

Though the house has come close to demolition three times in the last eight years, Reed recalled, its now a perfect specimen of museum-quality restoration.

“This is truly a gift to architecture in the community,” Van Vechten said, noting its “magical” qualities. “The winner this year went beyond any reasonable definition of restoration.”

The List Goes On

The Chicago Botanic Garden also accepted an award that night for architectural excellence in its public building the Plant Conservation Science Center, completed in 2009, which “provides laboratories and teaching facilities...critical to fulfilling the Garden’s efforts to save our planet by saving our plants,” according to the garden's website.

Other notable winners include the North Shore United Methodist Church, 213 Hazel Ave., which was designated as a landmark; the home at 451 Jackson Ave., owned by William and Gretchen Miller, which was awarded for an historically accurate addition; and the home at 626 Drexel Ave., which was renovated by architect Nigel Stroud.


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