Christmas has come early for the international community of architects and preservationists, as an anonymous benefactor has saved the endangered David and Gladys Wright House in Phoenix, Arizona. Culminating a six month saga, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy is proud to announce that it has facilitated the purchase of the historic property through an LLC owned by an anonymous benefactor. The transaction closed today, December 20, and is no longer a demolition threat.
The Wright home will now be transferred to the hands of an Arizona not-for-profit organization responsible for the restoration, maintenance and operation of the structure. The change in ownership guarantees the house will survive and be preserved. Landmark status is expected to follow shortly.
More information on the David Wright House after the break…
Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who represents the Arcadia district in Arizona, has said he will ask for a delay of today’s Council vote, which could potentially give Landmark status to the David Wright House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1950s for his son David.
According to USA Today, DiCiccio will ask for a delay until January. City staff will also ask for a delay until Dec. 19, since they claim that the public was insufficiently notified of the meeting. The delay, which DiCiccio wants in order to start fundraising efforts, would be in the house’s best-interest: in Arizona, Landmark Designation only safeguards from demolition for three years, and the developers have expressed their intention to “to knock [the house] down” once that time has passed.
More information on the David Wright House, after the break…
Just when we thought the saga was over, a whole new chapter has begun.
The David Wright House, an unusual home in Arizona that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son, has been in danger since July, when the developer-owners announced their plans to tear it down and split the lot in two. After considerable hubbub caused by preservationists, and an online petition that received thousands of votes, enough pressure was put on the Pheonix City Council to delay demolition until they could vote on whether or not to confer Landmark Designation on the house (this would delay demolition for another three years, but not safeguard the house from demolition).
However, the point became moot when a preservation-minded buyer swooped in to save the day. Now, just two weeks later, the buyer has backed out.
Find out more on the fate of the David Wright House, after the break…
According to Real Estate Agent Robert Joffe, who represented the sellers (the developers who wished to split the Frank Lloyd Wright house down the middle), the new owner intends to preserve and restore the home. It sold for its asking price of $2.38 million dollars.
The Pheonix City Council was slated to vote on the house’s landmark designation tomorrow; however, the vote will probably be delayed in light of the sale. As Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio shared with The Pheonix Business Journal, “The next steps are for me and the Mayor to sit down and get some direction from the purchaser in regards to a long-term vision for the property.”
Which is no bad thing – in Pheonix, landmark designation only saves a building for three years. Assuming that the buyer is indeed preservation-minded, the house will be saved for generations to come: the best outcome we could have hoped for for this unusual Wright gem.
On November 5, the Design School at Arizona State University will be hosting a panel discussion centered around the David Wright House and the question of architectural preservation in the city of Phoenix. Speakers will include Burton Barr Central Library architect Will Bruder, The Design School’s director, and more. The conversation will touch on efforts have been underway over the last three months in Arizona to preserve the David Wright House, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “ most innovative, unusual and personal works of architecture,” from demolition by developers.
On October 9th, the Arizona Planning Commission met to discuss the proposed landmark designation for the house, an event which attracted over 100 people. According to The New York Times, only 3 people voted against the designation, including the house’s current owners, the developers of 8081 Meridian, John Hoffman and Steve Sells.
When the pair bought the house back in June for only $1.8 million (from the pair the Wright’s granddaughters had sold the house to for $2.8 million), they thought it was “too good to be true.” The property alone could make up to $1.4 million; the pair hoped that by splitting the lot they could make even more.
Unfortunately however, Mr. Sells had no idea of the house’s architectural significance. As he told The New York Times, he didn’t know the difference “between Frank Lloyd Wright and the Wright brothers. ”
More on the Developers’ side of this demolition tale, after the break…
Last we updated you on the David Wright House, the Arizona home Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son, things were looking up – the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC) had gotten the unanimous decision of the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission to recommend Landmark Preservation to the City Council.
Unfortunately, the developer, John Hoffmann of 8081 Meridian, says that really doesn’t matter to him.
According to yesterday’s New York Times article by Michael Kimmelman, Pheonix city policy requires owner consent before designating any building for historic preservation. Since “8081 Meridian never gave its consent, and has no intention of doing so, Mr. Hoffman says he rejects the landmark process outright.”
Hoffman’s demolition permit has been voided by city officials, but he maintains that the permit is legal – it just expires today.
More on the precarious fate of the David Wright House, after the break…
As we’ve reported over the last two months, efforts have been underway in Arizona to preserve the David Wright House, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “ most innovative, unusual and personal works of architecture,” from demolition by developers. No intact Wright building has ever been intentionally demolished, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC) has been hard at work to make sure this one isn’t the first.
Well, good news! Last month,the FLWBC posted an online petition to the City of Phoenix to bestow historic preservation/landmark designation upon the house. After gaining over 16,000 votes (many from you ArchDaily readers), the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to recommend Landmark designation for the building last week.
But it’s not over yet! The recommendation still has to go to the City Council in November – if it is approved, an automatic three-year delay on any demolition will be granted to the house.
So what can you do in the meantime? The FLWBC has a new goal of 25,000 signatures (as of now, they’re only 8,000 votes away), so sign the online petition and spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, etc. now!
For more information or to get involved, check out the SAVE WRIGHT page.
While any Frank Lloyd Wright deserves to be preserved in our opinion, this quirky house, which Neil Levine, architectural historian and Harvard professor, went so far as to describe as “one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most innovative, unusual and personal works of architecture” offers us an important glimpse into Wright’s development. Because of its circular spiral plan (completed six years before the Guggenheim), concrete-block detailing, and interior design, the house was (and still is) considered to be one of Wright’s most “remarkable and praiseworthy” efforts since Fallingwater.
Although the situation is dire, work done by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy has awarded a temporary demo delay while the City of Phoenix decides whether to bestow historic preservation and landmark designation upon the house. This is where you come in. An online petition to the City of Phoenix has been set-up; as of right now, they’re 360 signatures short of their 1,000 person goal.
For almost 40 years no intact Wright building has been intentionally demolished. Let’s make sure we don’t start with this one. Sign the online petition (and then share it on Facebook, twitter, etc.), now!
For more information or to get involved, check out the SAVE WRIGHT page. For more images (including sketches) of the David Wright House, check out the gallery after the break…
The house, located in Arcadia, Arizona, was purchased earlier this year by developers who plan to demolish the site – unless a buyer steps forth within the next 30 days.
The circular house is rather unique for Wright as an architect, and holds special significance for the Wright family. As Frank’s great-granddaughter, Anne Wright Levi, who often visited the house growing up, shared with 3TV: “This house is a piece of history, it represents a piece of Arizona that Frank Lloyd Wright loved so much. [...] This house was the community before the community was here, and it should be saved.”
So, how much will this piece of history cost you? Well, the developers bought the property for $1.8 million, so you can expect to dish out at least the same. But what’s a couple million when it comes to preserving a piece of architectural history?
Story via Yahoo News