Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Gordon House – Frank Lloyd Wright


Designed in 1956 for a site in Wilsonville, Oregon, the 2,100-square-foot Gordon House – one of Wright’s Usonian Automatic Homes – the original owners lived in it for the rest of their lives. Rescued from demolition in 2001 after both owners had passed away, it was moved to the Oregon Gardens in Silverton, Oregon, and re-opened in 2007.

Says Douglas Steiner’s comprehensive Wright Library site, from whence these pics come:

Gordon_House_2002    “There are many classic Wright details. The basic materials are concrete blocks, local cedar and a red concrete floor with radiant heat, designed on a seven foot grid. There are three sets of double wood framed glass doors on the East and West side of the Living Room. They open outward and are one and a half stories tall.
    “Two cantilevered balconies on the second floor with walls that step inward as they rise. Cantilevered and trellised roof overhangs. Rows of vertical block piers. GordonModelThere are windows with perforated cut-wood light screens. The hidden entrance. Flush vertical joints and raked horizontal joints. The vertical cedar siding is the exact height of the concrete block and lines up with the joints. Like many of Wright’s homes, he designed the built-in seating, many of the fixtures and some of the furniture.”



  1. The man was a genius.

    FallingWaters is one of the coolest houses I've ever seen.

    Also the fact that they have a Piccaso and a couple of Riverias casually hanging inside made it ultra cool.

  2. FLW was certainly a genius! Best of all, his work is beautiful AND interesting, not a trade off between the two.

    But... any thoughts as to why the master bedroom is so isolated by the front entrance, and ditto the office is entered through the kitchen? The latter is great if you get peckish while working I guess, but otherwise? Seems to be purely to get nice sunny outlook for both bedrom and office... *demonstrates ignorance*

  3. @Anonymous:

    Yes, he was a genius. :-)

    "... any thoughts as to why the master bedroom is so isolated by the front entrance, and ditto the office is entered through the kitchen?"

    Yes, I do.

    The location of both is unusual in Wright's Usonian Homes, but intentionally so.

    This house is designed intentionally as a "two-zoned" house, creating a "parent's realm" downstairs and another realm -- either for children or for guests, upstairs.

    And the "office" and the kitchen were created in a different cultural context to today. The office wasn't created either as a "den" for the man of the house to withdraw to, nor for the family to hang out playing computer games: it was created for the "home-maker" -- whatever sex she might be -- to take a break while working in her kitchen; a place to which she could repair to scientifically plan her meal preparation and house maintenance.

    So in that context the location made perfect sense -- and did to the clients, who lived there for a lifetime.

  4. Thanks PC - very interesting to hear about the reasoning behind the plans. Pity FLW isn't able to submit something for Auckland's Queens Wharf redesign - would be very interesting to see how he handled that ;)


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