Preserving Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hemicycle Spring House

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The Spring House, also known as the Clifton and George Lewis II House, is the only private house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that was ever built in Florida. The design embodies the final and shortest stylistic phase in Wright’s career – the hemicycle style. The plan is characterized by concentric and intersecting circles, while the elevations are consistent with Wright’s other designs in how they accentuate the horizontal.

After the death of her husband in 1996, Clifton Lewis formed the Spring House Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the historic property and turning it into a public legacy. In order to restore and complete the house (some elements were never built, including a semi-circular pool on one of the terraces), the organization needs to raise $256,250, which will then be matched by the Division of Historical Resources to pay the $512,500 purchase price. To meet the Division of Historical Resources’ October 15th deadline, they have launched an IndieGoGo campaign with a target of $100,000. For more on the historical landmark and the organization’s fundraising efforts, keep reading after the break.

© Alan Spector via preservespringhouse.org

In 1950, George and Clifton Lewis asked Wright to design their family’s home, letting him know they had ”a lot of children and not much money.” When Wright agreed to the commission, the Lewis family purchased a five acre plot on the outskirts of Tallahassee with a natural spring that flowed all the way to Lake Jackson, giving rise to the name Spring House.

The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, just 25 years after it was built. After George Lewis’ death in 1996, Clifton Lewis lived in the home until 2011, when she moved out to make way for the Spring House Institute. This past year, the Spring House was added to the 2014 List of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Places.

© Stuart Rochford via preservespringhouse.org

If the Spring House Institute raises enough money to acquire and repair the house, they plan on hosting “classes, musical events, poetry readings, community meetings, seminars and other activities associated with the arts, the environment, world peace, and social justice.” You can contribute to their cause on their IndieGoGo page.

Cite: Whelan, Jennifer. "Preserving Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hemicycle Spring House" 27 Aug 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 01 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=541735>
  • David J Gill

    If the owner set up and willed the house to the Spring House Institute, in part top preserve the house, why does the house need to be purchased for $500K?

    This part of the story is missing.

    • Frost Burke, Spring House Institute board member

      Clifton Lewis willed the house to just one of her children, Byrd Lewis Mashburn, so she would hold the property for the exclusive sale to Spring House Institute so that the house would be restored and preserved for use by the public as a historical, cultural and educational center for promotion of the arts, sciences, environmental issues, social justice and community development.