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Museum Acquires Frank Lloyd Wright House

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

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The Currier Museum of Art announced earlier this month that it has acquired a second Usonian-style Frank Lloyd Wright house to its permanent collection.

The decision makes the Currier Museum the only institution in the world to own two of the architect’s buildings.

The Toufic H. Kalil House

Built in 1955 for Dr. Toufic and Mildred Kalil, the Kalil House is one of seven Usonian Automatic homes and 60 Usonian-style buildings built by Wright. The home sits on 117 Heather Street in Manchester, New Hampshire, and encompasses 1,406 square feet.

According to The Associated Press, the home was built for the couple after being inspired by a similar home just down the street, the Zimmerman House. The Zimmerman was the first Wright-designed home to be left to the Currier in 1988, in addition to an operating endowment for the building’s maintenance from the deceased owner.

Currier Museum’s Director, Alan Chong stated in a press release: “Although they are about the same size and on the same street, the Zimmerman and Kalil houses are very different in character… Frank Lloyd Wright intended his Usonian designs to be affordable to the broader American public, but each is a distinctive work of art.”

The Kalil home is complete with two-bedrooms, two bathrooms and, according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, much of the architect’s original furniture, textiles and kitchen appliances. The home also features an abundance of natural light through its 350 fixed and operable glass windows, mahogany clad interiors, local materials, flat roofs and radiant floor heating.

The single-story, L-shaped dwelling was designed, like other Usonians, with the idea that home buyers could construct their own homes out of a kit. The architect’s patented technique involves interlocking individually-cast concrete blocks that are reinforced with rods placed into the walls and roof.

The Architect’s Newspaper reports that over time, the structure’s features and unfinished, 264-square-foot guest home have been maintained. In September, the property was put on the market for $850,000. However, an anonymous donor gave the museum $970,000 to acquire the property and make it accessible to the public.

“This generous donation is a tribute to the philanthropy in our state, and serves as an example for others,” said Steve Duprey, President of the museum’s Board of Trustees, in a press release.

The Kalil house is slated for preservation and plans to be open for guided tours by April 2020.

Other Frank Lloyd Wright News

Earlier this year, workers concluded the reconstruction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s RW Lindholm House in Acme, Pennsylvania—about 1,000 miles from where it was originally built. The 1950s Usonian-style home was moved from its original Cloquet, Minnesota, home in 2016.

Crews spent the two years and reportedly about 9,000 hours on the home’s reconstruction after no suitable buyers were found for the house and it was donated to the Usonian Preservation.

A month later, several works from Frank Lloyd Wright were recognized and added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The buildings include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in New York City; the Hollyhock House, in Los Angeles; the Unity Temple, in suburban Chicago; the Frederick C. Robie House, in Chicago; Taliesin, in Spring Green Wisconsin; the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House, in Madison, Wisconsin; Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, Arizona; and Fallingwater, in Mill Run, Pennsylvania.

The collection of Wright buildings is the 24th U.S. site on the list.

In September, a Cincinnati-based, Wright-designed home caught fire, resulting in roughly $100,000 in damages—a sixth of the home's total value. The Boulter House is one of three in the area designed by the architect.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Color + Design; Design; Designers; Frank Lloyd Wright; Good Technical Practice; Historic Preservation; Museums; NA; North America; PaintSquare App - Commercial; Residential

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