The work of Ryan Hewson ’03 is part of an exhibit currently on display at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Hewson recently graduated from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, and a model and photos of a shelter he designed and built while there are included in an exhibit titled, “Learning By Doing” at the Guggenheim’s Sackler Center for Arts Education.
A recent article in the Daily Messenger notes, “Hewson said he spent nearly two years on his shelter project, which involved seeking and obtaining permission to rezone a portion of Taliesin property in Wisconsin, where the structure sits.” It was a “learning experience,” according to the article, and the work with the codes and rezoning will come in handy in his career.
There are a number of sheds and shelters throughout the campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, according to the article, and students spend time living in, studying and designing and building them.
“I like ramshackle sheds,” Hewson is quoted. “One of the things I like about these buildings, is they age gracefully. And fall apart beautifully.”
Hewson earned a B.A., cum laude, in architectural studies from Hobart College. He minored in art history and participated in the semester in Denmark program.
The full article about the work displayed in the Guggenheim follows.
Canandaigua grad’s work lands in Guggenheim
Julie Sherwood •staff writer • May 18, 2009
Canandaigua, N.Y. –
An exhibit that opened Friday at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, one of the nation’s most renowned architectural landmarks, includes the work of Ryan Hewson, a 1999 Canandaigua Academy graduate.
Hewson, a recent graduate of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, designed and built a shelter being featured at the museum as part of the Guggenheim’s 50th anniversary.
Hewson is just beginning his career as an architect, starting work on designing an amphitheater in Wisconsin and other projects. But his meticulously designed, 100-square-foot shelter of red oak and white pine, which incorporates steel, concrete and plastic, caught the eye of those at the Guggenheim nonetheless. While the actual structure will continue life anchored at a juncture between forest and field in Spring Green, Wis., a model of it – as well as photos and slides of Hewson designing and building it – will be displayed at the museum through Aug. 23.
The shelter is part of an exhibit, Learning By Doing, at the Guggenheim’s Sackler Center for Arts Education. Hewson’s shelter is one in a selection of models, drawings and photographs of shelters designed, built and lived in over the past seven decades by students of Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Arizona and Wisconsin.
His inspiration came from Taliesin West, said Hewson, 28. Taliesin West is the main campus of the school, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Frank Lloyd Wright designed Taliesin West and began its construction in 1937. After the master architect died in 1959, his apprentices continued work on it. Structures on the 500 acres of preserved desert land include studios, theaters and study rooms, as well as living spaces and garden courts opening onto the desert.
“I wanted to expand my reach,” said Hewson, who got his undergraduate degree at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. While a student in the Frank Lloyd Wright school’s three-year graduate program, he lived in various structures at both Taliesin West and the school’s summer campus in Spring Green, Wis. The structures “were all different explorations” in living simply, and in some cases, elegantly, he said. They ranged from a canvas tent on a concrete base to an elaborate, flat-roofed glass house.
Hewson said he spent nearly two years on his shelter project, which involved seeking and obtaining permission to rezone a portion of Taliesin property in Wisconsin, where the structure sits.
“It was a learning experience,” he said. The knowledge he gained during the rezoning process should serve him well in his career, he said. It made his shelter “a real-world experience,” said Hewson.
The materials for the project came from a variety sources. They included dried red oak harvested from a local farm, a donated 1930s kitchen shed of white pine Hewson tore down with the help of friends, and roofing from a specialty supply company.
The idea was to make the finished product evoke a “coconut,” he said, with a rough exterior and silky-smooth interior.
“I like ramshackle sheds,” added Hewson. “One of the things I like about these buildings,” he said, referring to the structures designed, built and used by the students at Taliesin, “is they age gracefully. And fall apart beautifully.”
Hewson said he plans to continue living in Spring Green, at least for a while. He would like to tweak his shelter, too, making improvements here and there. He and other students will spend time living in it, he said, in the tradition of Taliesin. It will likely evolve over the coming years, said Hewson, based on changes made to it by different tenants. That is how it works, said Hewson.
“That is how these shelters get their mettle tested,” he said.
Hewson’s parents are David and Gail Hewson of South Bristol.
“We are really proud of him,” said David. “This is quite an honor.”
About Ryan Hewson’s shelter
About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
About Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture