We are one of the few places on earth from which Frank Lloyd Wright chose to work. It is a huge point of pride for our region that one of the most famous architects that ever lived designed so many significant buildings here. In 1950-52, he designed and built a house for his son David on 5212 E. Exeter Rd. It is a remarkable house, not only compared to most houses of the era, but even compared to other Wright buildings.

Neil Levine, an imminent Wright scholar says about the house:

The Gladys and David Wright House is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most innovative, unusual, and personal works of architecture. Built in 1950-52, it is the only residence by the world-famous architect that is based on the circular spiral plan of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, whose construction followed it by six years. When the house was first published, in 1953, it was stated that “no other Wright house since Fallingwater” was as praiseworthy and remarkable. Since then its reputation has only increased and several architectural historians and architecture critics consider it to be among the 20 most significant Wright buildings. The spatial design, the processional movement through the patio and along the encircling ramp, the custom-designed concrete-block detailing, and the total interior design are cited as giving  this house a spectacular expression entirely appropriate to the desert environment. Wright’s original drawing for the house described it as a response to “How to Live in the Southwest.”

A new owner has acquired the David Wright House and word on the street is that he might tear it down and build two new McMansions on the site.

Needless to say, we can’t let this critical cultural landmark fall victim to a tragic lack of knowledge and understanding. Unfortunately, our hands are largely tied because of Proposition 207, but many in the community are taking a stand against this threat and there is hope of saving this extremely important building from destruction.

This Tuesday the 12th, everyone, from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Society of Architectural Historians, Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Arizona Preservation Foundation, American Institute of Architects (Phoenix Chapter), Arcadia Camelback Mountain Neighborhood Association, and others will ask the City of Phoenix Planning Commission to enact a historic preservation overlay and Landmark Designation on the property ASAP to protect it from being demolished.

This particular building is important not only to Phoenix, but to the nation and the world as a significant Frank Lloyd Wright work. It is up to us to save it and say NO to this threat of the destruction of an irreplaceable asset to the community. Add your voice to those who want to protect this important historic building and attend the Planning Commission Meeting on Tuesday at 4:30 at Phoenix City Hall on the first floor. If you cannot attend Tuesday’s meeting, please contact Larry Tom, City of Phoenix Planning Department, via email or phone 602-534-2578.

Photo Credit: All photos from uglyhouses.com (who, by the way, agrees that this is anything but an ugly house!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Be Sociable, Share!
Tags: , , , ,

15 Responses

  1. Allen says:

    It was my understanding that the purchaser of this property from the Wright descendants agreed that the house would be preserved. What happened???

  2. Will Novak says:

    I won’t be able to attend, but I emailed. Thanks for providing the email address.

    If the owner is intent on not living in this home, why not do something better with it? I hope maybe the owner decides to turn it into a Museum/Public space of some kind. From the Google Maps sat view it looks like there’s more than enough room for a small parking lot that could be shielded from the view of the house with landscaping. Adding better landscaping, maybe a sculpture garden, a place to eat, it could be a really nice amenity for the City.

  3. Colleen Pierce says:

    It seems crazy that such a thing could be allowed to happen. Apparently to some people money is the only thing that matters. How sad! I hope people are successful in saving this beautiful piece of history.

  4. There is also another Frank LLoyd Wright house also being demolished and destroyed 3607 E Campbell Ave. Phoenix. They are putting in a parking garage. The block has already begun vacating. This is such a shame.

    Best wishes on your fight.

    Patricia Jensen

  5. Catherine McCabe says:

    we ain’t gut much cultcha, but we gut frank lloyd wright.

    either make it happen now or the legistlatcha will bury it for you.

  6. Thanks for your post. I e-mailed. It would be a travesty to our history, community identity, and respect for brilliance to allow this design icon to be demolished no matter what the intended replacement — but especially to trade it for one or two icons of conspicuous consumption.

  7. Kelsee says:

    Huu?! How is this house on “uglyhousephotos.com” ? People are insane!

  8. Josh says:


    • LAUTNER LOVER says:

      To you Simon, and all other Architecturally ignorant people who have the sensitivity of broken concrete about Art and Architecture I strongly urge you to step outside your small world and check out your surroundings. There is a lot more to life than what appears to be your small minded view. All major cities have endless blocks of the same old thing. FLW has never produced an eyesore, never. He was the Greatest of Architects, period. Interestingly enough, his buildings will be preserved, and still be around for countless generations of people to enjoy long after you and I are fertilizer. At least you will finally do something positive for the world we inhabit.

  9. Simon says:

    Tear it down! It’s an eyesore. We need to get these beautiful new homes erected so we can increase the value of our surrounding homes! It’s 2012, not 1959! Do you want to live in 1959? Do you want a museum next door? Come on, he wasn’t even that great of an architect, and I heard he was a jerk to boot. Stop worshipping the egotistical SOB and move on with your lives.

    • Kevin says:

      What do you know about these “beautiful new homes”?

      Furthermore, what do you know that qualifies you to speak to the quality and historical importance of this particular FLW structure, and the architect in general?

      You do not have a grasp of the importance of preserving our historically significant built environment.

      Plenty of people who live in cities across the world do indeed enjoy the civic amenity of living near a museum, by the way.

      Your questions posted are foolish and demonstrate your knowledge on the subject.

  10. Karon Altman says:

    I can’t understand why anyone would purchase this to tear it down! It’s a fabulous structure! The curves make the interior so inviting. I think it’s the sexiest home I’ve ever seen!

  11. Taz Loomans says:

    All, great news! Thanks to the efforts of Mayor Stanton along with a whole lot of other influential figures, it looks like the new owner of this home will work to save and preserve the house! Here’s the Republic article with more information: http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/20120615frank-lloyd-wright-home-buyers-will-work-preserve.html

Post a Comment