History in the ‘Hood
What a thrill to learn the saga of this Frank Lloyd Wright designed home is heading for a happy ending.
A year ago, we lived a mile from the home that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son and daughter-in-law, David and Gladys Wright. The house was built in 1950 and had fallen into disrepair as the Wrights aged and became unable to care for it. When the heirs put it on the market in 2009, the buyer was a developer who decided the land was more valuable than the home. His plan was to raze the Wright home and replace it with two homes, commonly referred to by those of us who lived in the neighborhood as “McMansions”.
Public outrage caused the city to stop the demolition and file for historical designation for the home. But that soon became a political hot potato and the city eventually bowed out. Fortunately (for those of us who appreciate history) the home was saved by a preservationist in 2012 but when we left Phoenix in 2016, it remained a source of contention in the neighborhood. People fought the new owner’s plan to convert the home to an educational center and event space, fearing it would bring congestion to what is a secluded area right in the middle of the 5th largest city in the US.
Since we moved, we have often speculated on the fate of the house wondering which side prevailed, those who valued the historical significance of it or those for whom the intended commercial use was a quality of life issue.
Thanks to a recent article on HOUZZ, I learned the home’s story is one chapter closer to a happy ending. On what would have been FLW’s 150th birthday, the owner donated the home to Taliesin West, Wright’s Arizona based school of architecture. The home, which was a prototype for the Guggenheim Museum, will be used as an educational facility for students as the restoration continues. If indeed the neighborhood association approves and the donation proceeds as planned, this story will serve as a perfect example of “selective salvage”.
For more detail and some fabulous photos, here is a link to the Houzz idea book.