Thursday, February 01, 2007

FOR SALE: Brandes House - Frank Lloyd Wright


Frank Lloyd Wright's Brandes House, built in 1952 as one of over 140 houses Wright designed and called Usonian Houses (of which almost a third were built) -- houses for people of modest means who wanted a beautiful yet affordable house.

It is now on sale for a modest US$2 million, and as with most Wright houses, this one is sold by the original family only reluctantly, and after many years of joyful occupation.

The Usonians introduced to modern architecture many ideas and features still too often misunderstood and overlooked, but the best of most modern houses owe a great debt to Usonians, where many features now taken for granted first made their widespread appearance: features such as underfloor heating, mitred glass corner windows, large banks of south-facing windows -- with the houses facing the sun and views rather than the street -- the use of passive solar and modular design principles, extensive use of cantilevers, ceiling decks and built-in furniture, oxide coloured concrete floors and the intelligent use honest, natural materials .

And most of the best of the winning spatial features promoted in Susan Susanka's best-selling book 'The Not So Big House,' were first applied by Wright in his Usonians.

You can find articles on the Brandes house here, and a page of photographs here. This website on Wright's first Usonian House, the Jacobs House of 1936 (built for $5500, including architect's fee), offers a good idea of the principles on which all Usonians were based. The Jacobs House was named by the American Institute of Architects as one of the Twentieth Century's most important and influential houses.

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