Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chicago :: Osaka Garden (1893)

6401 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago 
Landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmstead 
Fair architect, Daniel Burnam

Osaka Garden is located on Wooded Island and the 
Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary, in 
Jackson Park part of the Hyde Park neighborhood. 

One thing people forget is the history of this little garden.

It was built in 1893 for the Chicago World's Fair Columbian Exposition by the people of Japan. 
Called Ho-o-den, Phoenix Temple, to honor the  fortitude of the people of Chicago after The Great Chicago Fire of 1871

Ho-o-den, Phoenix Temple, was the representative pavilion and garden celebrating Japanese culture. 
This was located on the southwest corner of the Island, with a living village of Japanese workmen.

What we now know as the back of the Museum of Science and Industry was actually the Palace of Fine Arts 
and the entrance to the Chicago World's Fair Columbian Exposition. 
There is a pool in front of the Fair entrance. 
People would ferry across in a boat and be let off to enter the Fair.

Keep in mind, Lake Shore Drive did not exist back then and it was quiet, restful, and serene.

Landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, initially conceived the landscape plan for the island as a 
rustic resting spot from the bustle of the Fair.


The landscape is beautifully planned. There is a small pavilion, with a few benches. 
During the summer months you can sit on the rocks next to a waterfall.

During the Fair, the pavilion was widely popular and helped introduce Americans to Japanese culture, religion, arts, and architecture. 

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of several architects influenced by the Pavilion, but the impact on him was arguably transformational and influenced his decorative arts also. Today, the local Frank Lloyd Wright Association  and other  architectural organizations co-sponsor the annual Osaka Garden Festival and give occasional tours of the garden.

After the Fair, much of the Ho-o-den remained. Today, one special lantern is probably the only original furnishing that remains.

The vertical lines imply activity while swaying in the breeze.

The smooth river washed stones reveal seasoned age.

Beautiful, it is tucked away in the lagoons. Quiet, clean and restful. There's a little waterfall, a meditation room, trees, herons, and all the zen you need in a millennium life.

Gibosi, the hosta, are mounds of color and texture. The distinctive whorled foliage provide a focal point. Most of the species of modern hosta plants were introduced from Japan to Europe by Philipp Franz von Siebold in the mid--19th century.

Hostas mark the edge of the steps through a shady walkway.

Wooded Island is a natural Oak savanna sandbar. Oak savannas, because of their mixture of grasslands and oak forest, typically are inhabited by more plant species than grasslands and temperate forests combined. The bur oak, Quercus macrocarpa, is the dominant species in northern oak savannas.

As soon  as you step on the loose, red gravel path that loops around the Garden you will feel like you stepped into a little slice of peaceful heaven. There are koi, Japanese trees, a well, placed rock waterfall and perfectly spaced rocks to sit or walk on for further exploration and reflection.


Set your mind  to 1893 and just imagine the people walking around taking a break from the Fair, think about what they were wearing, talking about dreaming of. The Fair was an enormously large structure with just one section built as a permanent structure, which is now the Museum of Science and Industry in the background, which you can see if you are standing in the garden looking across the lagoon.         

Robin in Clover Osaka Garden, Chicago

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Frank Lloyd Wright House, Studio and Garden (1889) :: Oak Park, Illinois

Art Deco 
Stained Glass
Influenced by
Froebel Gifts 
"Using Nature as our basis for design, a building or design must grow, as Nature grows, from the inside out. Most architects design their buildings as a shell and force their way inside. Nature grows from the idea, a seed, and reaches out to its surroundings. A building thus, is akin to an organism and mirrors the beauty and complexity of Nature.” 
                                                                           Eric Corey Freed

Frank Lloyd Wright House, Studio and Garden
951 Chicago Avenue
Oak Park, Illinois

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), architect
Prairie Style, Arts and Crafts Movement
The Frank Lloyd Wright Home, Studio and Garden served as Wright's primary residence and studio from 1889 to 1909. Wright used his home as an architectural laboratory, experimenting with space, form, light, materials, furnishings and decorative arts. Frank Lloyd Wright referring to the lot purchased from John Blair (1820-1906), nursery man and landscape designer, said,
                       "I remember well that I came to Oak Park to live for no other reason than 
                                                                                 ... the remarkable character of the foliage on the old Blair lot."

 West facing, Forest Avenue Entrance
Frank Lloyd Wright Studio and Home built 1889, Oak Park, Illinois

Reflecting The Arts and Crafts Movement, Horizontal lines and Horizontal Bands of Windows 
Frank Lloyd Wright Studio and Home, Oak Park, Illinois

Chicago Avenue
Exterior fence encloses the yard 
replicating the horizontal lines of the studio
Kentucky Coffeetrees grace the boulevard
Frank Lloyd Wright House and Studio
Oak Park, Illinois
Kentucky Coffeetree 
(Gymnocladus dioica)  
Seed Pod
In the land of Lincoln, the Kentucky coffeetree graces the boulevard outside the Frank Lloyd Wright Studio in Oak Park. The lumber from the coffeetree is cherished by cabinetmakers and might explain the choice of this rare tree. From what I have read, Wright's favorite tree was another gymosperm, the ginkgo.

Oak Park Studio Vase Planters along wall
 North facing, Chicago Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois

Geometric architectural Sprite Sculpture
Originally designed for Hyde Park's Midway Gardens Wall  1913-1929,

located at 60th and Cottage Grove, Chicago, Illinois
The original sprites were move to Biltmore Resort in Arizona
 Designed by 

Frank Lloyd Wright, architect 
 and Alfonso Inanelli, sculptor

Prominent Landscape designers of the "Prairie Style" era are Jens Jensen, O. C. Simonds, Walter Burley Griffin,and Warren H. Manning.