Mid-Century Modern, Frank Lloyd Wright's Legacy
Frank Lloyd Wright is one of those names you hear about growing up. You might not know why he's famous unless you grew up in New York City (my home town) and visited the Guggenheim Museum which he designed. Last night I had the opportunity to visit the house he designed for his son David, and loved the simplicity and richness of this mid-century modern house.
The house was designed in 1950 and sits on 10 acres in the middle of Phoenix, at the base of Camelback Mountain. In 1950 the house was surrounded by citrus groves but Phoenix has grown a lot since them, as air conditioning becoming affordable. According to the DavidWrightHouse.org website, “The design elevated the home in the form of a spiral rising from the desert floor, converting the treetops into the lawn and revealing 360° views of the mountains forming the valley.” The title on the plans was interestingly, How to Live in the Southwest.
Mid-Century Modern, Son David Wright's House
What intrigued me the most as I toured the house, was how rich and complete the space felt in color and texture. Most of the furnishings were simple wood designs, built-ins and there were few decorator features on the walls or ceilings, Maybe the rug on the floor carried the day, reinforcing the curves in the house design, with lots of bold color.
The house clearly showed Frank Lloyd Wright's focus on using readily available materials, and he used them sparingly. The house is crafted from wood and concrete, not your typical building materials today but consistent with what was available in the desert in the 1950s. Wright's genius was the endless assortment of shapes, materials and structural ornament he used to create powerful visual statements, and harmony between the structure and the environment.
So let the tour begin and if you want to visit, information about arranging a tour of this amazing mid-century modern house can be found at DavidWrightHouse.org. We'll start outdoors, and share some of the spectacular views of the circular walkway to the top of the house, where there was plenty of room for entertaining small groups.
Plenty of 360 degree views as we walked up the circular path, wide enough for several people to walk together.
Fun views to enjoy the design of the house while walking, and without distracting you from the surrounding views which were amazing. And once on top, we could see everyone below, as well as the amazing views in all directions.
But wait, it must be time to head inside for a lot more surprises that you're not expecting in a mid-century modern home, that feels alive and vibrant today.
Here are a few books about Frank Lloyd Wright and the buildings he designed