Frank Lloyd Wright in 1926.

Frank Lloyd Wright in 1926.

Credit: Wikimedia


Unlike White, Franky Lloyd Wright eluded his would-be murderer. From The Weekly Home News on Aug. 20, 1914: “Mr. Wright was in Chicago, where business had called him several days before and he escaped the murder’s hatchet.”

Three years after beginning work on Taliesin, his studio and new house built near Spring Green, Wis., Wright returned home to find it burned to the ground—and his mistress, along with six others, dead.

Taliesin, outside of Spring Green, Wis., in Jan. 2008.

Taliesin, outside of Spring Green, Wis., in Jan. 2008.

Credit: Wikimedia

 

For reasons that still aren’t clear, Julian Carlton, a domestic servant, set fire to the house and then struck those who tried to escape with a hatchet. Two people made it out to tell the tale.
The bungalow, the paper reported, was “a retreat for a man and woman of unconventional ideas.” Wright, who even referred to himself as “the greatest architect in the world,” spent much of his life running from scandals. He, too, was known as a man-about-town.

Wright had three wives in the course of his life—Catherine, Maude, and Olga—and he rebuilt a ravaged Taliesin at least as many times.

Before installing $5 million dollars worth of steel braces, an engineer determined that the Hancock Tower could fall over on its narrow edge. "It would be as if a book standing upright on a table were to fall on its spine," Robert Campbell wrote in 'The Boston Globe.'

Before installing $5 million dollars worth of steel braces, an engineer determined that the Hancock Tower could fall over on its narrow edge. "It would be as if a book standing upright on a table were to fall on its spine," Robert Campbell wrote in 'The Boston Globe.'

Credit: Wikimedia

The saga of Boston’s John Hancock Tower started well before the windows began falling out.

The Plywood Palace—so dubbed for all its boarded-up windows—is now one of the city’s most beloved buildings. But it didn’t start out as a love story.

As ARCHITECT’s Eric Wills put it in a Q&A with the tower’s architect, Henry Cobb of the firm Pei Cobb Freed: “For starters, local residents and architects fiercely opposed the idea of situating a 62-story skyscraper directly adjacent to H.H. Richardson’s 1877 Trinity Church, a National Historic Landmark.” Opponents of the tower thought it would overwhelm the church. “Relegating that treasured icon to the shadow of a modern office building,” Wills wrote.

That was only the beginning of the scandal—then the glass began to shatter.

Five-hundred-pound panes started crashing to the sidewalk, causing quite a stir. It seems no pedestrians were seriously injured by the falling glass, as the sidewalk around the building was roped off almost immediately once the windows started failing. After replacing the panes, a few more failed. But that’s normal, Campbell says.

But that wasn’t even the building’s biggest issue: A Swiss engineer named Bruno Thurlimann told the owners of the Hancock that “their building was in danger of falling down,” Richard Campbell wrote in The Boston Globe in March 1995. Falling windows, while bad for business (not to mention passerby), can be fixed.

At least 65 windows eventually fell, according to Campbell, but the building never did. After several years of repairs, renovations, and evaluations, the building is now one of the safest skyscrapers in the world, Campbell says. “It possesses the strength of a survivor.”