circular frank lloyd wright house in peril

August 9, 2012 — 8 Comments

Developers are threatening a historic round house in Arcadia, Arizona, designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  Built for Wright’s son David in 1950-1952, the house is made of curved concrete blocks, and is accessed via a spiral ramp reminiscent of NYC’s Guggenheim Museum -

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8081 Meridian, a development company that builds “Highly Livable Luxury Homes,” bought the property in early 2012 for $1.8 million. The company has filed plans with the city to divide the 2-acre property, a possible first step toward demolition.  In an interview with the Arizona Republic, managing partner John Hoffman reportedly said that “it’s not a given that the house can be preserved.”

After negotiations with the city and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, Hoffman said in mid-July that his company has put its plans on hold for 60 days while seeking a compromise solution to save the house. The waiting period ends on August 21.

The house is a historic gem.  It reflects ideas about structure that Wright worked out in the Guggenheim museum, built a few years later.

“I was astounded” by the house, said Wright scholar Neil Levine, a Harvard art historian, who visited once. “Unlike 80 percent of the houses Wright designed after World War II, this one is thought through. It’s really innovative and original.”

Levine ranks the Arizona structure among Wright’s 20 best houses.

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8 responses to circular frank lloyd wright house in peril

  1. 
    Scott ffolliott August 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Ah, the wonders of the free enterprise system. The destruction of art, community and people to make more profit, more, more, more.

  2. 

    Scott you say it so well. Developers will do anything for profit no matter how much they destroy in order to fulfill their cravings. I have known developers over the years, and there is nothing that will stand in their way.

  3. 
    Peter Scoppettone August 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Why wasn’t this house placed on an historic register?

  4. 

    You know we’ve entered a new age of barbarism when not even our most treasured historical legacy (i.e. artworks) can be safeguarded from the capitalist steamroller.

  5. 

    “Barbarism” is correct. Come on America. Wright is admired around the world. I’ve only seen pictures and read articles, but I love his work. Please don’t let this icon disappear!

  6. 

    Thank you for picking this up! Our firm is committed to helping save this home, please spread the word… we need a new owner soon! Far too many houses of architectural significance are lost in Arizona, this is one we MUST save! Here’s some links to more info:

    http://azarchitecture.com/property_detail.cfm?auto_id=824

    http://savethewrighthouse.org/

    http://www.savewright.org/

    Scott at azarchitecture.com

  7. 

    In so many ways, this story sums up the cultureless dumb business guy mentality. In an interview, the developer said he hadn’t heard of Frank Lloyd Wright until last year. You have to have a pretty incredible lack of intellectual curiosity to be involved in the world of building houses in Phoenix, Arizona and never have heard of Frank Lloyd Wright. Taliesin West is a well known destination in Phoenix, and Wright is probably the most famous architect in American history. This guy probably looked at this house and thought, “omigod, it doesn’t even have granite countertops in the kitchen! What a dump!”

  8. 
    Livon Diramerian December 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    some people worship money, they do not appreciate good things.

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