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 –
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.