A "Disowned" Wright house in the Philly 'Burbs?

To control SPAM, you must now be a registered user to post to this Message Board.

EFFECTIVE 14 Nov. 2012 PRIVATE MESSAGING HAS BEEN RE-ENABLED. IF YOU RECEIVE A SUSPICIOUS DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS AND PLEASE REPORT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.

This is the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy's Message Board. Wright enthusiasts can post questions and comments, and other people visiting the site can respond.

You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, *-oriented or any other material that may violate any applicable laws. Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned (and your service provider being informed). The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. You agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this forum have the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time they see fit.
Post Reply
DRN
Posts: 3985
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

A "Disowned" Wright house in the Philly 'Burbs?

Post by DRN »

I'll post this question to see if anyone else remembers or knows of a house I vaguely remember from a newspaper article which I wish I had saved.



I saw an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday magazine in the late '70's or very early '80's that described a house designed by Wright post-WWII, in the suburbs west of Philadelphia (on or near the Main Line I think) that was "disowned" by Wright or Taliesin because the house, as built, differed significantly from Wright's design. The article I read focused on a new owner's renovation of the house, probably distancing it further from Wright's intention.



I am familiar with Suntop in Ardmore, Spencer in Wilmington, DE, Sweeton in Cherry Hill, NJ, as well as a house by Alden Dow in Chadds Ford, and a house by John Howe near Exton; none of these are the house in the Inquirer article. The only other residential Wright connection with the Delaware Valley after WWII that I know of would be the house Wright designed in West Goshen. Per my Monograph's, I know two versions were designed: a hemicycle and a lower cost straightened version (inline).

Per an article in the Quarterly, the unbuilt West Goshen hemicycle was built for the Sims in Hawaii about 10 years ago by TAA . The house I remember in the article was not curved.

Was the rectangular version built in altered form in or near West Goshen and disowned by Wright or Taliesin?

Does any of this ring a bell to anyone?

Could there be other houses listed in the Monographs as unbuilt that have been built in altered form?

Reidy
Posts: 1597
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:30 pm
Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

I'm skeptical.



Do you have a client name and a date for the design in question? Sixty Years of Living Architecture, perhaps among other sources, has a list of projects as well as completed buildings. If you can supply this I can look it up.



Stories like this one pop up from time to time, usually told by real estate agents, and a lot of them make it to Wright Chat. One of my favorites was that he designed a house in New Jersey and disowned it when he learned that the clients were Moff, so they built it without him. Another held that Fallingwater was a ripoff of a hotel in the vicinity.



I've never heard of Wright disowning a building, no matter how much clients altered it. If this had ever happened it would have happened with Ennis or the church in St. Louis. The burden is on those who make these claims, to come up with drawings, letters, contracts, etc. to document Wright's connection to the project.



Peter

DRN
Posts: 3985
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

Precisely why I wish I had clipped the article before my parents used the sunday magazine to kindle a fire in the fireplace.

I was in junior high at the time, and not as critical of what I read as I am now. If I had the article, I could have a chance of looking up the owner or comparing the photos to the Monograph renderings to see if there was a resemblance to a known Wright design.

Reidy, you may be right..the Philadelphia Inquirer may have printed an untruth put forth by the owners. I was hoping someone out there may have remembered the same article or known about the house and could have shed some light.

People claiming houses to be Wright's are common but sometimes have a thread of relation: The house in Chadds Ford by Alden Dow has long been rumored in the ChaddsFord area to be by Wright. I had teachers at my high school swearing it was by Wright. I got the opportunity to visit it later when it was for sale and I was in college. It was Wrightian, but it seemed a bit inarticulate, the detailing seemed flat, unresolved, and in places, down right builderly. Still later, I did some research on the original owner and found Alden Dow to be the designer, confirmed when I read the Dow Monograph (the house was built without Dow's supervision).

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10303
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Post by Roderick Grant »

I have met many people who cannot be dissuaded from believing that Frank Lloyd Wright designed the House on the Rock.

Reidy
Posts: 1597
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:30 pm
Location: Fremont CA

Post by Reidy »

Here in LA it's usually Lloyd Wright or John Lautner. Some places it's whatever is the weirdest, ugliest piece of modern architecture within a day's drive.



Peter

hypnoraygun
Posts: 561
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:28 pm
Location: Missouri

Post by hypnoraygun »

Is there a way to contact the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday magazine, a university, library, etc that would have the archives of these magazines? So it would be possible to research this?

jim
Posts: 237
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by jim »

I clearly remember a house on the Main Line (perhaps in Chestnut Hill) that was advertised either in the New York Times or Preservation magazine in the late '70s or early '80s that stated it was by Wright but the photograph belied such a claim. I wrote for the real estate brochure, which arrived with a letter stating they were "reexamining" the Wright provenance.



From the photos it appeared to be hexagonal-plan pods, with a flat roof, and aluminum curtain walls. Clearly Wright had nothing to do with this one except in some realtor's fantasy.
Jim

DRN
Posts: 3985
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

Jim-

I remember the listing of the house with the hexagon pods... I saw it in one of the national luxury real estate mags..Unique Homes I think, around that period. I recognized it immediately as not Wright..not because I was all that perceptive in junior high, but because I had seen the house in a period Arch mag.

The hex pod house on the Main Line was published in Progressive Architecture's houses issue in '64 or '65, it was designed by GBQC or Mitchell Giurgola ..I believe Venturi's mother's house was in either the '64 or '65 issue as well.



Hypnoraygun-Thanks for the tip. I guess some research still has to be done the old fashioned way..in the library.
Last edited by DRN on Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jim
Posts: 237
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by jim »

DRN - Thanks for the reply. You are undoubtedly right that it was in one of the national luxury real estate magazines. We definitely saw the same ad!
Jim

Post Reply