Help Protect the David Wright House, Designed by Dad Frank Lloyd Wright

Posted on: August 22nd, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 8 Comments

Written by Laura Wainman, Editorial Intern

In the architecture world, no name carries more weight than Frank Lloyd Wright. But, as an ongoing dispute in Phoenix Arizona shows, the name alone does not protect iconic buildings from demolition threats. A 1952 Arcadia home built for Wright’s son, David Wright, is in danger of being torn down by current owners, the 8081 Meridian Corporation.

The David and Gladys Wright House is the only Wright residence based on the same spiral concept as the Guggenheim Museum, and boasts a unique coiled, concrete façade. The property was purchased in June 2012 by 8081 from J T Morning Glory Enterprises, who had placed the house on the market in 2011 after it sat unoccupied for two years.

Currently, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy is working to avoid losing the home by searching for a new buyer who would purchase the property intact from the developers. They are also exploring the possibility of multiple buyers purchasing the house to gain immediate control over the property, and then transitioning to a sole owner for long-term preservation.

“We think that such a buyer would value the house as is, and restore it and perhaps the original citrus orchard that surrounded the house,” says Janet Halstead, executive director of the Conservancy.

Since they heard about the demolition possibility, the Conservancy has been working to get approval for historic preservation/landmark designation from the city of Phoenix, buying more time to save the home. No demolition permit can be granted while historic preservation designation is being considered, and if it is approved, an automatic one-year delay will be applied to any demolition permit request; landmark status ups it to three years.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy urges supporters to send letters pushing for these designations to the mayor, individual councilmen, the Historic Preservation Commission of Phoenix or the Phoenix Planning Commission. For more information, or to sign a petition to help save the David and Gladys Wright House, visit SaveWright.org.

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8 Responses

  1. Bette Cohen

    August 23, 2012

    Please save this house

  2. Preservation in Blogland « Bricks + Mortar

    August 24, 2012

    […] A Frank Lloyd Wright house in Arizona is in danger of demolition.  Designed for Wright’s son, David, the house features a unique concrete facade and shares the same spiral concept as the Guggenheim. The National Trust for Historic Preservation spotlighted the house and efforts to save it on their blog, Preservation Nation. […]

  3. Nathan kinkel

    August 24, 2012

    Save the house, i used to mow their lawn

  4. William Coulthard

    August 26, 2012

    We ‘ve just finished a Browning Parker in Coral Gables,he was one of FLW’s prodigies.
    They’re all great homes and need serious protection from finacial and cultural vandals. WHy do these people even try these tricks when they know everyone won’t stand for it? or do they do it on purpose just to leverage a grander profit? How can we limit the mark up ? The house looks in great condition too.

  5. Fran LeBeau

    August 31, 2012

    Please do not destroy this iconic building. It’s important to preserve these buildings that are designed or influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. We do not want to lose this important part of our history.

  6. Alice

    August 31, 2012

    Yes,please keep this landmark in Arizona! It is a part of the history of Frank Lloyd Wright!

  7. Roger Brevoort

    September 3, 2012

    I live in the Arcadia neighborhood where the house is located. The fight still rages, but the preservation side seems to be gaining some ground. There is at least dialogue with the owner/developer, the very supportive Mayor’s office, and there is now a sign regarding the hearing for city Landmark desigation standing at the property. If anyone from the Phoenix/Scottsdale area reads this, please sign the online petition, (on ModernPhoenix.net) which now has over 12,000 signatures from around the country.

  8. Shizuo Hori: Tokyo, Japan

    September 8, 2012

    This revolutionarily designed house has to be preserved for the sake of genius man’s envision. This unique architecture had not built just for the sake of seeking fame or flushy public attention. Mr. Wright was sincerely seeking ideal house as enhancing spiritualy uplifting life as the Usonian Ideal. This house is condensed his search for the house to be econimically built, beatiful space and, enticing daily life since Prairie houses. House should not be the cage or the box. Here, you would see spacial quality that you won’t gain emotional affection from boxed ROOM. This house would encourage and stimulate young generations to explore furthermore possibilities for new dimensions.
    Let us open our stiffened visions and save this brilliant jewel for your pride.

    S. Hori, Tokyo, Japan 9/8/12