Looks like the Pew House is for sale...

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Looks like the Pew House is for sale...

Post by gregrnel »

too bad I don't have an extra $1.5 mil laying around........

Frank Lloyd Wright's Pew House on Architecture for Sale
Last edited by gregrnel on Tue Aug 22, 2006 10:26 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Post by SDR »

"Updated and refurbished for modern living but not changed from the original. . ."

A neat trick ! This is the house with the gorgeous lapped-board ceiling coffer and the wonderful

asymmentrical fireplace lintel-stone. Also a long-standing example of natural untreated Cypress siding,

looking presumably as Wright intended: like God's own country outbuilding. . .


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Post by SDR »

It's always interesting to see how Wright presented his work in published form. "The Natural House" (1954) includes a chapter

illustrated with eight images of the Pew house; here they are in order, with Wright's captions:




Pew House, living room. ". . .probably the only house in Madison, Wisconsin, that recognizes beautiful Lake Mendota,

my boyhood lake. . .a house actually built by the Taliesin Fellowship."


The Pew House is a two-story wood and stone house built of lapped cypress boards, inside and out.


Living room, looking out over Lake Mendota.


Space flows uninterrupted below this two-story house lifted by stone columns at one end of hilly site.


Workspace merges into dining area.


Living room fireplace, dining table arrangement beyond.

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Post by Mobius »

Looks damned nice to me, at least in its form, and exterior. The inside just looks awful though, at least to my 21st century eyes.

They must have looked great back in the day though.

I've never been a real fan of Frank's interiors though: too busy, too "woody", too "old" and too poorly appointed with electrical outlets. I must admit that not even Jacobs #1 inspires me interior-wise, that's why my version of it is to be done in plaster board. That and the impossible cost...

1.5 mill seems very steep for such a small home, built in 1940. Not such good value I think, compared to other designs of Franks which have come up for sale in the last couple of years. The view must be stunning to command such a price.
How many escape pods are there? "NONE, SIR!" You counted them? "TWICE, SIR!"

*Plotting to take over the world since 1965

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Post by pharding »

SDR: Thank you for posting photos of this wonderful FLW house on a spectacular site. It is another example of FLW getting great results with a moderate budget. Posting photographs and drawings makes this board come alive. I commend you and I wish that more posters would fllow suit.
Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

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Post by SDR »

Thank you; it certainly seems worth the effort to me, and a natural use of this medium.

Mobius: pearls before swine ? To each his own, i guess; that's what makes the world go 'round, they say. . .

One more; a detail of one of Yukio Futagawa's color shots of the house, published in 1991:


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Post by PNB »

A beautiful house in one of the best cities in the U.S. Although If I had that kind of money I would buy Goetsch Winkler instead in a heart beat!

Ed Jarolin
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Post by Ed Jarolin »

The color photos in FLW:The Houses show the interior to much better

advantage. It's quite apparent that the second (present) owners did a

good deal of refurbishing both inside and out. Now if only I had a spare

$ 1.5 mil.

As to the notion of plasterboard in lieu of the wood interior walls

and ceilings, Mobius, I believe you will regret this substitution. It will

negate much of the spatial flow between interior and exterior. On the

minor point of electrical outlets, I don't think we should take Wright to

task for not anticipating our present day power wants.

Of course, it's your (Australian) dollar and it's your call. In my opinion

the cozy, woodiness of these houses is one of their major strengths.

Have you actually experienced any of the Usonians in person? Don't

put too much faith in pictures. No matter how well done they just can't

convey the wonderful feeling you get in these houses.

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Post by flwright »

I've always admired this design on many levels, but I'm always left staring at one quirk: the carport. Functionally, it just doesn't seem to work. First of all, the car doesn't fully fit under it, and secondly, how in the heck do you maneuver the car under there the way Wright is showing it? The narrowness of the driveway shown on the plan and the location of the adjacent garden wall would make parking pretty tough without doing a seventeen-point turn. Even the few photos I've seen of the site seem to suggest that it would be near impossible to get anything but the nose of a car under it.

This carport just seems so unusual compared to most of Wright's other, more generous, carports in terms of function. Aesthetically, however, the design is excellent and seems to read better as a sheltered entry than a carport. Does anybody else feel this way or has anyone been to the site to confirm or deny this functional akwardness?

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Post by RJH »

I truly like the Pew design and think it is a very beautiful house. However, I read somewhere that the house was not built as Wright designed it. I don

Ed Jarolin
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Post by Ed Jarolin »

There are a couple of interesting diagrams in the book 'Wrightscapes'

showing the difficulties of parking under this carport. The authors

conclude that the arrangement shown on the plan is impossible. I

would say very difficult, but not impossible.

If one pulls a three point turn and approaches backwards, it should be

possible to parallel park in the configuration shown. Why one would

want to go through the trouble in another issue. As one of the diagrams

shows, the carport adequately accommodates 2 cars in a front first,

angled arrangement. In this way virtually all of both cars is under cover.

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Looks like the Pew house is for sale. . .

Post by wjsaia »

To RGH: What

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Post by SDR »

Wonderful. . .

[What a nice surprise, to know that Wes Peters would find himself able, in 1940, to personally finance construction of Pew ! (The usual question: what IS $7850.00 in today's dollars. . .?)]

Here is the Taliesin presentation perspective of the house, as found in the 1988 Pomegranate calendar -- here, built of brick. I've been intrigued by the erasures at the top of the house; two boards in height and a larger eyebrow pergola [?] over the bath and stairhall windows, apparently drawn in pencil, were removed at some point. Repairs to color pencil (see trees above house) suggest that the change(s) were made after the drawing was finished (?).


John C. Pew House, Shorewood Hills, Madison, Wisconsin. 1940.

Perspective 22" x 36".

Pencil and colored pencils on tracing paper mounted to board.

Signed in red square at center right: F.Ll.W., May. 1940.



There's also a possible added open upswing window at the left; this is reminiscent of the crudely penciled open clerestory windows in the iconic sepia-colored rendering of Jacobs I (here, conveniently enlarged on the cover of John Sergeant's book "Usonian Houses" [1976, Watson-Guptill]):


Herbert Jacobs House, Madison, Wisconsn. 1937.

Perspective, 22" x 33 1/4".

Pencil, sepia pencil, brown ink on tracing-paper mounted to board.

Signed in red square at bottom right: F.Ll.W. 1938. [detail]

(Two drawings on one sheet).

[captions courtesy of the exhibition booklet "Frank Lloyd Wright: three quarters of a century of drawings"

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

There was nothing unusual about FLW editing a drawing. Often he would scribble notes or scrawl thumbnail sketches on finished perspectives that Jack Howe had labored on. One way to identify FLW's involvement with a project is to look for his easily identifiable foliage or erasures and redrawings such as the above. If there are none, chances are he had little or nothing to do with its design.

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Wright-designed Pew House for sale

Post by therman7g »

It's rare, all right. For only the second time in 66 years, a famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Madison home is being offered for sale.

The Pew House, built by Wesley Peters on Lake Mendota Drive in 1940, is often referred to as Wright's finest Usonian design. The current owners, John and Cindy Edwards, have - somewhat reluctantly - listed the home on the Architecture for Sale Web site as well as the Wright Conservancy site. The asking price is $1.5 million.

The couple bought the home in 1983 from the original owners, John and Ruth Pew, and have lived in it since 1989. The Edwardses have for many years split time between Madison and Arizona, and with John, a radiologist at the University of Wisconsin Hospital, nearing retirement, they will be relocating to the Tucson area full-time.

The Capitol Times:

http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.p ... 42&ntpid=3

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