Thursday, 21 April 2005

No Frank Lloyd Wright for SOLO

As the 2005 SOLO conference kicks off this weekend in LA, news comes in that the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in LA is " is temporarily closed because of rain-related damages." Today's news report on the Ennis-Brown house here.

The most filmed of Wright's houses - it appeared in movies such as 'Brazil' and 'Blade Runner' - there are still hopes of it rising once again to its former glory, as has the house named the 'building of the century': Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, just re-opened on the East Coast.

A bit far for SOLOists to travel though, I think.


  1. While visiting his Pope-Leighey House in VA a few years back, the tour guide said the owners called FLW during the first big rainstorm to complain about the water dripping onto their dining table - and were told by the great man to put a bucket under the leak! Evidently, watertightness wasn't high on his list of concerns...and maybe explains his later move to AZ?

  2. Never believe a tour guide. The story was actually recounted by Herbert Johnson about his office in the Johnson Wax Building. And as Johnson subsequently went on to helm the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, to order his own house from Wright (called Wingspread) and I guess you'd hav to say that he was happy with how Frank set his priorities.

    And no, his summering over in Arizona was nothing to with Johnson's bucket, but was partly due to health, partly due to his joy at discovering the deset late in life when out there working on the Biltmore Hotel project, and partly because he and his wife Olgivanna were beginning to tire of the negativity of Wisconsin folk towards them.

    What was your favourite part of the Pope-Leighy House. Was this before or after it was moved?

  3. The sensation of space one gets when walking into the house. The way he made a small house seem so grand is impressive. I saw it four years ago - after the big move to its preservation location, and the subsequent one of a few yards to stabilise the foundation.

  4. " The sensation of space one gets when walking into the house. The way he made a small house seem so grand is impressive."

    It is, insn't it? At that he was truly a master. The low ceiling decks, the openings into larger spaces and the outdoors, the way that you can't quite see where spaces end ...

    Did the move of the house and the subsequent siting and making good - landscaping and the like - seem to be well done?

    I love his work, and I just can't help wanting to know everything about your visit and your impressions. :-)

  5. It's on the Woodlawn Estate not far from Washington's Mt Vernon. When driving into the estate all you see is the old Mansion house - the FLW is tucked away down a small driveway and is hidden by the surrounding trees. For a 'cheap' house it has touches that are only found in 'expensive' ones today. The coloured concrete floor is a couple feet thick and has in-built heating (way before its time). The untreated cladding is made from cypress - it was readily available in those days from drained swamps in Florida - and remains in great shape. The mortar work is pretty unusual too - the vertical joints are in unscribed red mortar to contrast them with the square scribed grey of the horizontal. I could go on, but check out the following site I just came across:
    I've seen a few FLW's - but this guy makes me look lame!


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