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!)Tags: Arizona Proposition 207, City of Phoenix Planning Commission, David Wright House, historic building under threat, historic preservation