Time and Place

Time: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin, 5481 County Rd C, Spring Green, WI 53588

Please register for the workshop by emailing Matt Jarosz at mjarosz@uwm.edu


Sponsored by the Historic Preservation Institute at SARUP

WOOD AND FRESCOES – The Historic Preservation challenges of preserving, restoring, and repairing wood and frescoes

Workshop Summary:

This all-day workshop at Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate in Spring Green Wisconsin, will exam several creative ways to deal with historic wood structures and frescoes. The intent is to dispel the many myths associated with the obsolescence of wood and frescoes, either as buildings or as decorative details. As the world of ecological concern and environmental stewardship expands, saving and reusing wood is becoming a new and important challenge, particularly in northern climates where the brutality of constant freeze thaw cycles quickly deteriorates wood and wall surfaces. The architectural beauty of these buildings and decorative wall features are impactful in the most profound way. Today, we are challenged with matters of retention, restoration, repair and reuse. This all-day workshop will include information and hands-on experiences with wood and frescoes.


7:00 Opening of lecture hall: Sign in, networking, coats, seating, breakfast, refreshments

8:00 Presentation #1: Wood – As Material – the Basics – Species, characteristics, historic uses
Mark Buechel – Historical Architect / Cultural Resources, National Park Service, Omaha, NE

9:00 Presentation #2: Wood – As Structure – FLW Unitarian Church and Taliesin Visitors Center
Sarah Frecska – Principle, Pierce Engineers, Milwaukee, WI

10:00 Presentation #3: Wood – As Architecture – Preserving the best – Windows, doors, porches
Lauren Finn – CEO, Thoughtful Craftsman Company, Milwaukee, WI

12:00 Lunch and Presentation – The Ascent in Milwaukee – The world’s tallest wood building
Jason Korb – Designer – Korb Architects, Milwaukee, WI
1:00 Site and Building Tours – Taliesin School Building and Restored Theatre – Wood and Frescoes
Ryan Hewson – Director of Preservation, Taliesin

2:00 Presentation #4: Frescoes – Paint & Stained Glass – Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Building
Eileen Grogan – Conrad Schmitt Studios Inc, New Berlin, WI

3:00 Presentation #5: Frescoes – Paint & Plaster Finishes: Investigation/Preservation – Case Studies
Anthony Kartsonas – Co-Owner, Architectural Conservator, Historic Surfaces LLC, Detroit

4:00 Presentation #6: Frescoes – Architectural Art – An International Perspective
Nikolas Vakalis – Art Restoration and Conservation International Field School, Rome, Italy

6:00 Dinner – Smoked Brisket cookout – Food and music provided – Sponsor: Bond Façade Services
Robert Forrer – Owner, Bond Façade Services – Milwaukee, WI

Workshop Presenters:

Presentation 1: Wood – As Material: Mark Buechel, Historical Architect / Cultural Resources, National Park Service, Omaha, NE will begin the workshops with a broad overview of wood. He will present the basic biological characteristics of wood, its early use beginning in the pre-history era, and its evolution over time. The presentation will be focused on methods of proper repair, restoration, and reuse. National Park Service standards will also be overlayed in the workshop discussion with a general explanation of the future role of proper wood use and ecologically sensitive stewardship.

Presentation 2: Wood – As Structure: Sarah Frecska, Principle of Pierce Engineers, Milwaukee, WI, will present case study information about the structural realities of saving original wood and inserting new wood or steel components. Two case study projects will be presented in depth – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unitarian Universalist Church, Madison and Taliesin’s Visitor’s Center restoration and repair work. The presentation will cover the role and function of the structural engineer in in-situ investigation, proper and accurate material documentation, and ultimately interventions that will offer an economical and sustainable future for these and other wood buildings.

Presentation 3: Wood – As Beauty: Lauren Finn, CEO, Thoughtful Craftsman Company, Milwaukee, WI. Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Wood is universally beautiful to man. It is the most humanly intimate of all materials”. This presentation will pay homage to FLW with the restoration and preservation of wood on historic homes. With a focus on wood carpentry, examination will include a wide array of historical preservation services in the pursuit of restoring an ever-diminishing stock of pre-WWII residential homes and commercial buildings in Wisconsin and Illinois. Focus will be on restoring and tuning old wood windows. There will be hands-on demonstrations. Participants will see the different parts of a window, how to perform the work, and new products of restoration.

Lunch Presentation: The World’s Tallest Wood Building: Jason Korb, Korb Architects, Milwaukee, WI. Lunch will include an in-depth presentation of Milwaukee’s Ascent highrise residential building – the tallest wood building in the world.

Lunch Tours: Restoration of Hillside School and Theatre: Ryan Hewson, Director of Preservation, Taliesin. After the lunch, tours of the facility will be offered which will explain the history of the buildings, completed repair work, and a future vision of the place.

Presentation 4: Frescoes – Paint and Stained Glass: Eileen Grogan Director of Historic Preservation, Conrad Schmitt Studios LLC, New Berlin WI. For more than a century, internationally recognized Conrad Schmitt Studios has created timeless interiors and fine works of art for buildings of architectural, historic, and religious significance. For over a century, they have advanced a tradition of excellence in artistry and craftsmanship in art restoration. Their artists and craftspeople create new designs and conserve historic artwork in the form of decorative painting restoration, stained glass restoration, architectural art glass, ornamental plaster, scagliola, mural painting restoration, mosaics, and statue restoration.

Presentation 5: Frescoes – Plaster and Finishes: Anthony Kartsonis, Architectural Conservator, Historic Surfaces LLC, Detroit. The success of a restoration project is measured by the level of information available. Obtaining enough accurate information paves the way for creating informed decisions. Within the field of restoring and conserving historic interior finishes, archival research and examinations provide this necessary information. This presentation will look at the different types of research and examinations that are utilized and how they are used to inform the process. This will be illustrated through local case studies

Presentation 6: Frescoes – Architectural Art: Nikolas Vakalis, Art Restoration and Conservation International Field School, Rome, Italy, Complete of the day-long workshop will be a European perspective on the matter of art restoration and preservation. The talk will be – Architecture, Art, and Cultural Heritage During Peace and War: Engaging Communities, Bridging Divides & Overcoming Challenges to Preserve a Common Legacy. Nikolas has spent his long career working on restoration and recreation of some of the most important architectural art pieces and artifacts in the world. His international reputation is of the highest level, and the case study projects that he will present include work on nearly every continent and original work by some of the most famous artists, sculptors, architects, and craftsmen in the world. With an aesthetic viewpoint, technical information about proper restoration techniques will be shown.

Questions, comments?

All events are free and open to the public.
Additional information about the lectures and exhibitions can be found by contacting the main reception at (414) 229-4014, and by emailing any inquiries to HPI Matthew Jarosz.