Worthington News

Rush Creek Village exhibit to shine spotlight on architect Wright

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Rush Creek Village, an eclectic collection of 47 homes inspired by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and tucked into the suburb of Worthington, will be spotlighted in an exhibit at the McConnell Arts Center from Aug. 21 to Oct. 26.

The centerpiece of the exhibit will be the re-creation of a circular guest house from the Pepinsky House in Rush Creek.

Ohio State University architecture professor Jeff Haase is constructing the guest house, which will occupy the main exhibit hall at the MAC.

The exhibit, Neighborhood in Harmony with Nature, Rush Creek Village, will comprise old and new photographs -- color and black-and-white -- from the village and furniture from the homes.

Haase is taking 3,750 photographs of the interior and exterior of Harold Pepinsky's 1958 guest house and creating photographic stickers that he is applying to the structure to re-create an exact replica.

"It was natural that we find a way to highlight this incredible architectural gem in our community," said Jon Cook, MAC executive director. "There is great history at Rush Creek Village, which was placed on the National (Register of Historic Places) in 2002. It's this hidden neighborhood where Frank Lloyd Wright's influence is everywhere."

Construction on Rush Creek Village began in 1955 under the direction of architect Theodore Van Fossen. It was the largest known development of mid-century homes by a single architect in the United States.

Rush Creek was the brainchild of Richard and Martha Wakefield, who were interested in building a community based on Wright's organic planning principles.

The Wakefield home was the first created by Van Fossen. Over the next 25 years, Van Fossen built 46 more homes, each unique in style and function and situated among wooded ravines and meadows.

Many of the homes consist of exposed cement block and poured concrete floors and built-ins. The typical home is about 1,000 square feet.

One of the unusual aspects of the exhibit will be Haase's photographs of the guest house, which he is doing with an iPhone. After taking the photos, Haasse will adhere them to the reproduction of the guest house.

"Think of it as 'Instagramming' a house," Haasse said. "My goal is to move iPhone photography from the instant recording of a place and experience to actually creating a place of experience."

The exhibit was the idea of Worthington architect and college professor Marcia Conrad and California architect Darren Kelly.

Its roots extend to the 1980s, when Conrad's children were attending Colonial Hills Elementary School, near Rush Creek Village.

"When I walked the kids to school, we would pass through Rush Creek Village, and I was always interested in the architecture," Conrad said. "I started working on a book about Rush Creek. Darren was a colleague of mine at the time, and I recruited him to help me finish the project."

Conrad is an adjunct professor at Columbus State Community College and has taught two classes on Rush Creek -- one on the history and a second laboratory class in which students studied an actual home's existing conditions and materials and conducted an energy audit.

After finishing its run at the McConnell Arts Center, the exhibit will be dismantled and taken on the road to the Onondaga Community College Gallery in Syracuse, N.Y.

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