A developer in Phoenix is threatening to knock down a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright by Thursday; and they might succeed unless preservationists can secure the building as a legal landmark, or find a wealthy individual to buy it. By today.
Wright designed the 2,500-square-foot concrete home for his son David and his wife, Gladys in 1952, reports the New York Times. The structure echoes the spiral design of the Guggenheim Museum, which he had already drawn plans for, but which was not built until 1959. Raised on columns to overlook citrus orchards, the house “twists around a central courtyard, a Pompeian oasis to which he gave a plunge pool and shade garden, but also faces onto the surrounding desert, with sweeping views of the mountain,” writes Michael Kimmelman of the Times.
So how did such an important building wind up in the hands of someone willing to demolish it?
David died in 1997 at 102; Gladys in 2008, at 104, leaving the house, no longer in mint condition, to granddaughters who sold it to a buyer promising to fix it up and live in it. But the buyer did neither, and the place, on its 2.2-acre lot, went back on the market. This June a developer called 8081 Meridian bought it.
The Times also mentioned that the threat of demolition may be an attempt to drive up the price from $1.8 million, which the developer bought it for, to $2.2 million. Seems like there should be some wealthy Frank Lloyd Wright fan out there willing to spend a couple million to preserve a priceless work of art! Seriously, rich people: don’t disappoint history. Make this happen.