The Wright Stuff

Okay, sorry.  Probably everyone has used that blog title when referring to a Frank Lloyd Wright house.


Last Tuesday in the midst of project deadlines and proposal writing, a few of my colleague and I had a chance to visit the David and Gladys Wright House.  Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a retirement home for his son and daughter-in-law David and Gladys and built by David himself as acting G.C., the house and land is so amazing.

The house and guest house sit on 6 acres that is in the middle of a bustling area of town called Arcadia.  It’s a bit like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia – to visit the house now, you drive down Camelback, a busy street, turn into the Camelback Church of Christ parking lot and open a door in the wall onto this oasis of peacefulness.


There is a long and complicated back story as to how the house came to be open to the public and not demolished.  Tonight there is a vote at the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission to see what its future might hold.  Above is an image of a 3D scan the current owner has done to see about the state of the structure.  You can see all the little blue dots are the scan points and the round light circles are were the tripods were during the scan.  Modern technology is pretty cool.  You can also see the pool in the courtyard that is currently filled in making its ghostly appearance.


This house is like a ship – all the storage is built in and everything is elegant and functional.


Detailing – look at that hearth grate – there are two identical – one in the main living space and this one in the master bedroom.


And above, the view from the master bedroom – you can see the front door tucked in above the bougainvillea and beyond a perfectly framed shot of the head of the camel for which Camelback Mountain is named.  Not too shabby.


The guest house is strikingly modern for a house built and designed in the early 50s. I love the current landscaping although all the lawn is a bit lush for this neck of the woods – our new house has only desert landscape “xeriscape” which is a lot easier to maintain – but look at all the blue stone and carefully placed agaves around the guest house – love it.


Here’s a panoramic of a bunch of architects and designers taking an architecture nerd break on the roof of the house.  What a view.  What a breath of fresh air on a hectic Tuesday.

You all have to visit the David and Gladys Wright house on your next trip to Phoenix and see it for yourself.  Photos don’t do it justice.  And if the vote tonight and zoning things and whatever else go well, there will also be an underground education center, café and gift shop at the site as well.  I hope that’s soon!  Cheers – CT

PS – Good news – the David and Gladys Wright house was recommended as a historic landmark!  See more here.  Congrats to all who have fought so hard for this house.

PPS – This is humorous to me: FLW’s subtitle for this house was “How to Live in the Southwest” … you know, in an architectural gem in the sky with a view of a magnificent mountain and ten acres of citrus groves.  Sounds great!

4 responses to “The Wright Stuff

  1. I’m so glad to hear that this house was saved!

    • Me too Dana – there are still some more meetings and approvals for the house but I think this one was the big milestone. On our work tour we were able to meet with the owner of the house and he has extensive and 100% historically accurate renovations planned to get everything back into great condition so not only is the house saved for now but it will also be around for many more generations! Cheers – CT

  2. Glad to hear that the house was saved. Will your firm have anything to do with the renovations?

    • The firm I work for won’t be a part of the renovations – that’s for a very specialized skill set! We have our own specialty which is educational design so it all works out. Thanks for commenting MOM! I think that was maybe your first actual comment! Cheers – CT

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