Frank Lloyd Wright’s Millard House or “La Miniatura”
His Annie Pfeiffer Chapel at Florida Southern College—part of a composition of twelve buildings at the South Florida campus designed as a “harmonious whole expressing the spirit of the college free from grandomania:--
has had is having a makeover with the help of 3d-printed textile blocks replacing weathered and aged blocks.
The cost to recast Wright’s blocks by hand proved prohibitively expensive in the past…until the arrival of the affordable 3D printer.
Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Florida Division of Historical Resources and the emergence of affordable 3D printing technology, the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel was recently restored in exacting architectural detail.
Architect Jeff Baker of Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects oversaw the 12-month grant project, turning to the aid of 3D printers to replicate and replace what was once a tedious manual process. 3D printing significantly reduced both cost and effort to complete the architectural restoration, allowing Baker’s team to integrate 2,000 distinctive coloured glass tiles into Wright’s original design textile blocks, recreating the jewelled box effect envisioned by the architect.
“The success found on this project is a milestone not only in the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on the FSC campus but also for similar textile block projects designed by Wright and other architects throughout the nation,” enthused Baker.
This opens up possibilities not just for restoration, but for new textile block buildings as well.
And not just new and inexpensive textile buildings – new and economical methods of applied ornament as well. Just imagine what Wright’s master Louis Sullivan could have done with a few industrial 3d printers instead of being restricted to hand-crafted forms for cast iron, plaster and terracotta!
Coping of Louis Sullivan’s Wainwright Building