Will This Home Be Saved?

-A group of Phoenix conservationists are in a battle to save the David and Gladys Wright House from the wrecking ball. The home originally designed and built, between 1950-1952, by Frank Lloyd Wright for his son David was purchased in June, 2012 by developer 8081 Meridian for $1.8 million.

The development company now plans to raze the home and build two new houses on the property according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home

Because of its unique circular spiral design several architectural historians and critics consider the home to be one of the architects 20 most significant buildings.

David and Gladys Lloyd Home

“It is the only residence by the world-famous architect that is based on the circular spiral plan of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, whose construction followed it by six years. When the house was first published in 1953, it was stated that no other Wright house since Fallingwater was as praiseworthy and remarkable. Since then its reputation has only increased and several architectural historians and architecture critics consider it to be among the 20 most significant Wright buildings. The spatial design, the processional movement through the patio and along the spiral ramp, the custom-designed concrete-block detailing, and the total interior design all give this house a spectacular expression especially appropriate to the desert environment.”  Press Release Issued by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy 11 July 2012

The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy is petitioning the City of Phoenix to grant historic preservation and landmark status to the property and failing that a “preservation minded” buyer or a lot split that would allow the new homes to share the property.

If the home is demolished it will be the first intact FLW building to be destroyed in 40 years.

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/cne8vlc

This story, like most, has two sides, two points of view. I understand both, the desire to preserve something unique vs. the rights of a property owner. As a home owner I often bristle at the ability of local government to tell me what I can and cannot do with my property. Sometimes it seems like zoning ordinances and variances are less about good public policy and more about profit or politics.

As a Realtor I also understand that all houses are not created equal, if they were I’d be out of a job. And some buildings are so unique that they deserve special consideration and when we don’t give them that consideration, when we hastily destroy them in the name of progress we often regret those decisions.

It’s true that cities, like people, sometimes learn the hard way and for many years Phoenix seemed hell bent on destroying its architectural heritage. There are too many examples to cite in this post but the destruction of the spectacular Fox Theatre in downtown Phoenix, now a parking lot, is a perfect example.

The current owners of the property have a right to try and maximize the return on their investment but they also couldn’t be surprised by the controversy they created when they announced plans to destroy this historically significant unique piece of architecture.

Will this home be saved?  I don’t know, but I sincerely hope that both sides work together to find a mutually agreeable solution, this home deserves everyone’s best effort.

Whether you’re interested in a historical home or a brand new home helping you find your perfect home is why I became a Realtor. Call or email me to get started.