Emil Bach House operates year-round as a vacation rental and event space, in addition to hosting tours with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust from May through October. These activities provide needed revenue for the maintenance and continued preservation of this special landmark home. Starting in mid-March Emil Bach House, along with other Frank Lloyd Wright homes that are open to the public, closed its doors during the nation-wide response to COVID.
Many of the managers of these homes were scheduled to attend an important annual meeting of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy in March in Racine, Wisconsin. As stewards of the homes and the vision of Frank Lloyd Wright throughout the country, we all look forward to this meeting to share resources and ideas to keep his legacy alive. The meeting was one of the first casualties of the pandemic and was therefore canceled.
Almost immediately, some of the managers came up with a creative idea – weekly video tours of the homes to be swapped with each other and posted on our social media to engage our fans and to offer a chance to see inside and learn a little bit about what makes these homes special. The videos were intended to be a brief, narrated glimpse inside and outside of the houses, and the plan was to use our cell phones or video cameras so that we could be on-site alone in the interests of social distancing.
The program has been more successful than we could have hoped. Fans of Emil Bach House have been treated to a tour of Unity Temple in Oak Park and Taliesin East, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home in Wisconsin, just to name a few. Producing the tours has given us an opportunity to be creative in a new way, and we have truly enjoyed the virtual tours as well since we have not seen all of these homes in person (yet).
Participating has also opened up a world of virtual tours for us. Turns out, Chicago is rich in virtual tour offerings in architecture and more!
Below we have highlighted some Chicago virtual tours for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home:
Chicago Architecture Center
The Chicago Architecture Center has an abundance of tours available and more are added every week! Click this link to view currently scheduled ZOOM events. A favorite of ours is the story of the Farnsworth House, an iconic International Style home designed by famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
Check out Chicago DeTours for virtual tours of the city, including a virtual boat tour of iconic Chicago architecture. They have live tours on the weekdays and weekends which makes the experience even more authentic.
Chicago 00 Project
Interested in Chicago history? The Chicago 00 Project is an award-winning partnership between the Chicago History Museum and filmmaker Geoffrey Alan Rhodes to produce and publish a series of site-specific, interactive, immersive multimedia experiences designed to showcase the Museum’s film, photo, and sound archive and share Chicago’s stories in new and unique ways. Click here for free access to these short films.
A final suggestion that is not related to Chicago, but was found while searching for other Frank Lloyd Wright experiences, is a virtual tour of the Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon. This tour was just relaxing to watch as well as inspiring for us as we have been working on the landscaping around the Japanese tea house at Emil Bach House. Enjoy!
Have you experienced any of the above virtual tours or other Chicago virtual tours that caught your attention? Let us know in the comments below!