Once the rain stopped, we went downtown Madison to explore Monona Terrace, the lakeside conference center envisioned by Frank Lloyd Wright, and finally built 38 years after his death, 59 years after the first design. I have been interested in FLW’s work since attending an architecture seminar series 52 years ago by an Iowa firm schooled in his principles, so it is always exciting to have an opportunity to tour one of his designs, or, rather, to be able to take the time to do so: we have passed by several over the years, including this one, without stopping.
We had lunch at the rooftop cafe overlooking Lake Monona and the bike path we rode two years ago. The structure hangs 27.5 meters out over the lakeshore, to tie together the capitol complex and the lake.
Monona, the smaller lake to the south of the city, had a few paddle boards, kayaks, and one “pontoon porch” as the rain clouds moved off to the southeast and the temperature climbed.
The design incorporates sweeping curves, with this vaulted gallery leading from the entrance to the lake view. The exterior follows Wright’s final 1959 design, but the interior was redesigned in the Wright style to create a modern conference and community center space.
Across the isthmus, the University of Wisconsin, Madison sits on the shore of Lake Mendota. We spent part of the afternoon at the Rathskeller watching sailboats, paddleboards, kayaks, and sailboards come and go from the University docks.
Of course, the primary reason for visiting is family. Matt guided us downtown and then met us at the end of our tour of the Terrace.
To our surprise, we discovered Patricia working as a receptionist at the Terrace. We had been texting back and forth with her all morning to arrange to meet the next day, but got a bonus visit by chance.
Darice met us at the lakeshore after work, then we went to dinner. A busy day compared to yesterday’s rainy rest day.