Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1939, 1948

Posted by George Pudlo on January 4, 2012 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Exterior of the Rosenbaum House

Exterior of the Rosenbaum House, Street View

Interior of the Rosenbaum House

Rosenbaum House

601 Riverview Drive

Florence, AL 35630

The Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum House was one of the first Usonian Houses to be executed after Frank Lloyd Wright's 1936 prototype, the Herbert Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin. The Rosenbaum House is the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed structure in Alabama. The Rosenbaums were thrilled to have Wright as their architect, and very pleased with the outcome of their Usonian House. The house was designed in 1939, and the Rosenbaums moved in near the end of 1940. It originally contained 1,540 square feet, but by the arrival of the Rosenbaums fourth son in 1948, they commissioned Wright to add an addition. This 1,084 square foot project added a larger working space, guest bedroom, and dormitory for the Rosenbaums, and almost doubled the size of their home. 

Wright handled the interior design of the Rosenbaum House, as was typical of the architect. The floor is made of a deep, red concrete with built in heating pipes to warm the house. The walls are faced with exposed red brick complementing the floor, and built in wooden shelves with a board and batten pattern. The furnishings emphasize the modernity of the house and add a splashes of bright colors. The living room features geometric arm chairs and armless chairs, with turquoise cushions. The chairs in the dining area complement those in the living room, but on a smaller scale with a lemon hue. Ribbons of floor to ceiling glass French doors open the interior views and provide a maximum of natural light in the Rosenbaum House. Clerestory windows accentuate the interior lighting and add to the unique spatial dimension of the home. Wright dropped the ceilings and added wooden panels with carved openings for artificial light from above, a feature he first employed in his Oak Park Home + Studio

The house stayed in the Rosenbaum family until 1999, when Mildred Rosenbaum moved into a nursing home. She had given thousands of personal tours of the house to curious visitors. The aging Rosenbaum House sustained damage from water and termites, and when the City of Florence acquired the Rosenbaum House in 1999, they had to pour more than $600,000 into the property for restoration. This was assisted by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West, which offered use of the original plans by Frank Lloyd Wright. Dozens of volunteers were involved with the restoration, and money was raised from a one cent sales tax. The Rosenbaum House is now a house museum open to the public as a testament to Frank Lloyd Wright's genius.

Special thanks to Wright in Alabama, operators of the museum, for providing the photographs of the Rosenbaum House.


Interior of the Rosenbaum House

Conrad and Evelyn Gordon House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1957-63

Posted by George Pudlo on January 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Special thanks to Efrain M. Diaz-Horna for the photographs and Molly Murphy, Director of the Gordon House

Conrad and Evelyn Gordon House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1957               

879 W Main Street

Silverton, Oregon 97381

Frank Lloyd Wright's Gordon House is the only Wright designed structure in the State of Oregon,  and subsequently the only now-public Wright site. The Gordon House has an interesting story to it:

Conrad and Evelyn Gordon first met with Wright in 1956 at Taliesin West, where they discussed plans to build the Gordon's a home in Oregon. It was to be one of the last Usonian Houses built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Mrs. Gordon, then in her forties, requested a place where a loom could be placed, as she was a weaver. She had always wanted a Frank Lloyd Wright House since the two were married. Mr. Gordon owned a dairy business and was nearing retirement. He was also a member of San Francisco's Bohemian Club, an exclusive club with an appreciation of the arts. The Gordon House was largely modeled after the "Dream House" Frank Lloyd Wright designed for Life Magazine in 1938, which was also recycled into the plan for the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Schwartz House. Mr. Gordon decided to wait until after his retirement in 1963 to have Wright's creation constructed posthumously, four years after Frank Lloyd Wright's death in 1959.

The Gordon House is T-shaped in its two story plan. The primary building material is concrete, though western red cedar wood is used in large quantities for the roof and second story detailing. The house was originally designed and built alongside a river in Wilsonville, Oregon, near Portland. It has three bedrooms. The master bedroom is on the ground floor, adjacent to the dining ares and the tall ceilinged Great Room. The other two bedrooms are on the upper story, both with independent, cantilevered balconies. The Gordon's lived in their Frank Lloyd Wright designed home until both of their deaths; Mr. Gordon in 1979 and Mrs. Gordon in 1997. 

After the death of his parents, the Gordon's son sold the house, and by 2001 new owners planned to demolish it.  The Frank LLoyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC) stepped in to prevent demolition. The new owners decided to donate the house. The Oregon Garden Foundation, a not for profit agency in Silverton, Oregon, was selected as the recipient of the Gordon House, which now operates the Gordon House as a museum. In collaboration with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the newly established Gordon House Conservancy was able to move the house nearly 25 miles from its Wilsonville site to Silverton. The interior of the house, including furnishings and wood paneling, was meticulously dismantled before the removal of the roof, and the slicing of the upper story from the lower story for transport. The red concrete floor, many of the concrete wall blocks, and the bathroom tiles could not be saved, but were replicated in the new construction.

Amazingly, with assistance from the FLWBC, the Gordon House Conservancy was able to position the Gordon House in the exact solar orientation as the original location. As new concrete blocks were installed in the walls, the roof hovered in place above, and was subsequently lowered upon completion. The height of the walls are within one sixteenth of an inch of the original construction. A new concrete floor was installed above the foundation, and fitted with upgraded radiant heating pipes, as designed by Wright. This method of heating was common in Wright's Usonian Houses, as he found it to be a  perfectly logical solution to the cold, concrete floors of Usonian House since heat rises. The Gordon House now stands available to the public as a house museum; a nearly perfect reality of Wright's vision. Tours are available year round, and the Gordon House is also available to rent for various social functions. 

John Christian House - SAMARA -Frank Lloyd Wright, 1954

Posted by George Pudlo on January 2, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

John Christian House, aka Samara, Frank Lloyd Wright 1954

1301 Woodland Avenue

West Lafayette, Indiana 47906

This stunning Usonian House is still owned by it's original occupants, John and Catherine Christian. Frank Lloyd Wright's Christian House is also known by the name Samara - for the Samara trees that grow on the property, which delighted Wright. The Christians and Wright became acquainted in 1950, and would maintain contact until Frank Lloyd Wright's death in 1959. 

The planning of Samara took longer than usual for Wright's Usonian domestic work, as each detail of the house was carefully considered to meet the needs of John and Catherine Christian. The clients were both employed at Purdue University, and would often have university related social functions at their home. The Christians desired a house that would be ideal for entertaining guests and teaching graduate students, and Wright subsequently produced an organic house with organic character that fulfilled those social requests. 

There were of course disagreements between Wright and his clients. Mrs. Christian insisted on having brighter colors in the house that Wright originally proposed. Olgivanna Wright finally convinced Wright to adjust the color palette by offering her assistance to Mrs. Christian with hue.The Wrights met with the Christians on a number of occasions both in Indiana and at Taliesin before the final working drawings were finished in 1955. Samara was completed and occupied by 1956, although furniture and other custom made goods were manufactured over a longer period of time. 

There are fifteen unified, though distinct areas designated for an enhanced living experience in the Samara House. Dramatic living and dining sections are located off of the terrace and lanai. The work, laundry, and utility rooms are concealed behind the central fireplace in the hearth of the home. Master bedroom, guest bedroom, and nursery are positioned on the opposite side of the central fireplace, away from the entertainment and social areas, but near the entrance and carport of the home. The final color scheme for the Christian's Samara home would be bright, lime green and orange textiles with accenting hues of magenta and lemon yellow.  The colors are exemplified by the vast amount of natural light entering the house via floor to ceiling French doors. The doors feature large, uninterrupted panes of glass that wrap around the southeast facing corner of the house for maximum light exposure. Geometrically stylized wood panels manifest as clerestory light screens crowning the French doors. Cantilevered roofs and trellis' dramatize the profile of the Samara House. 


The Christians have meticulously preserved their home as it reflects the exact specifications designated by Wright. The 2,200 square foot Usonian Samara House occupies an acre, harmonizing with the nature and irregular topography of the land. 

Louis B Frederick House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1954

Posted by George Pudlo on December 25, 2011 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Louis Frederick House

28 w 248 County Line Rd,

Barrington Hills, IL 60010

The Louis B Frederick House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1954. The Frederick House is in a very private location in Barrington Hills, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Barrington Hills is named for the hills that grace the magnificent landscape, atop of  one such hill sits the Frederick House. A long and steep driveway winds up and around to find the house, built into the edge of the hilltop. An incoming car would park in a large driveway just beneath the top of the hill. A large brick pier creates the edge of car port that shelters the visitor. Behind the carport, the house is incredibly horizontal in nature. Low pitched roofs appear to hover over the clerestory windows that act as light screens. Wooden shingles on the roof visually push the building into the earth and further connect the house to site. Privacy walls protect a courtyard. The outer slope of the pitched roof runs parallel with the slant of the hill. The illusion lies in not knowing where the house begins and the hill ends, they seem to blend into one being. 

Special thanks to Hugo Davila for providing the photography.

Al Borah House, Marshall Erdman Prefab #1, Frank Lloyd Wright 1957

Posted by George Pudlo on December 25, 2011 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)


Al Borah House

265 Donlea Road

Barrington Hills, IL 60010

Frank Lloyd Wright always had a fascination with developing beautiful, low cost mass housing. His first venture with this concept was in conjunction with the Richards Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Wright's office produced nearly one thousand projects. These houses are referred to as the American System Built Homes. The cost of construction was reduced by cutting the lumber at the factory before delivery, though they are not considered to be prefabricated homes because they were not preassembled, only precut, before delivery to any given site.

In the 1950's, Frank Lloyd Wright's last decade of work, he collaborated with Marshall Erdman, a contractor who built Wright's 1947 Unitarian Meeting House in Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin. Wright discovered that Erdman was offering prefabricated houses, and Wright suggested he could design better prefabricated homes for cheaper. By 1956, Wright had developed three Usonian like prefab models for Erdman. Prefab #1 resulted in nine completed homes. Prefab #2  resulted in two completed houses. No Prefab #3 models were ever built. 

The Al Borah House in Barrington Hills, Illinois, completed in 1957, is one of the nine Erman Prefab #1 models that were built. The house is named not for the original occupant, but rather for the builder of the home, Al Borah. It was originally used as an exhibition house. The first occupant of the home after the exhibition was named Frederick Post.

The current owners have lived in the Al Borah House since the late 1960's. One of the owner's daughters who grew up in the house was kind enough to provide some information and a view of the home's interior for this article. She commented that the house is very special. 

The Al Borah House is L-shaped in floor plan. The smaller section of the L is an enclosed garage with a sheltered walkway leading to the interior of the house. One enters through the kitchen from the sheltered walkway, and is lead to a massive, central block of brick containing the fireplace, and living area. The longer section of the L- shaped floor plan contains the four bedrooms of the house. This is a rare example of a Wright home containing a basement, as the Al Borah House is built gently into a rolling hill that overlooks a pond. 

Interior view of hallway with built in cabinets. Bedrooms are on opposite side of windowed facade.

Special thanks to Hugo Davila for providing the exterior photographs.

Lloyd Lewis House, Frank Lloyd Wright

Posted by George Pudlo on November 24, 2011 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Lloyd Lewis House

153 Little St Mary's Road, Libertyville, Illinois 60048

The Lloyd Lewis House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1940. The house is located in a very private subdivision and is not visible from the street. The occupants of the Lloyd Lewis House must drive down a one lane, dirt road several hundred yards to approach the house. Built with a combination of brick and wood, the Lloyd Lewis House is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's earlier Usonian designs. It is located very near the Des Plaines river and was thus built above grade level.  Lloyd Lewis was editor for the Chicago Daily News, which shut down in 1978, and a published author and playwright. He was a friend of Frank Lloyd Wright's, and Wright mentioned him in an interview conducted in the 1950's.

Nathan Rubin House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1951

Posted by George Pudlo on November 24, 2011 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Nathan Rubin House

518 44th Street, Canton, Ohio 44709

The Nathan Rubin House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1951 in Canton, Ohio. The house is constructed with a combination of brick and wood. It is obscured from view by the foliage in the front of the house, but is viewable slightly on either end of the semi circular driveway. Note the wooden, cantilevered carport built into the house. 

John J Dobkins House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1954

Posted by George Pudlo on November 23, 2011 at 12:30 PM Comments comments (0)

John J Dobkins House

5120 Plain Center Avenue, Canton, Ohio 44714

Tucked in the heart of America, in Canton, Ohio, is the John Dobkins House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1954. Typical of most of Wright's residential work, and of his Usonian houses in his later period of design, are the long, horizontal lines, and low profile. The house is comprised of bright red brick and utilizes asymmetrical roof lines. 

The John Dobkins House takes advantage of its site and is set back rather far from the street, especially compared to some of the neighboring houses, some of which are on at the front of the property line. Wright would commonly set the house back on the lot to push it further into nature and to deter curiosity seekers. 

Joseph Mollica House, Erdman Prefab #1, Frank Lloyd Wright 1958

Posted by George Pudlo on May 5, 2011 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Joseph Mollica House
1001 West Jonathan Lane
Bayside, Wisconsin 53217

Located just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Joseph Mollica House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1958, just one year before his death. The Joseph Mollica House is a Usonian House, and was quite difficult to photograph because of the abundance of landscaping around it. The house is L-shape in plan with a board and batten pattern in the wood of the longer part of the L, with the smaller part of the L -the garage- comprised of irregularly cut stone. The house has a very low hipped roof with a screen of windows extending the entire length of the longer portion of the L-shaped floor plan. The Joseph Mollica House is one of the nine Erdman Prefab #1 homes built. 

Albert Adelman House, Frank Lloyd Wright 1948

Posted by George Pudlo on May 5, 2011 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Albert Adelman House
7111 North Barnett
Fox Point, Wisconsin 53217

Photographs do not do justice for the Albert Adelman House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This structure is located just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is discreetly hidden in the back of a very large front yard. The Albert Adelman House is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian style houses, built toward the end of his life. It has a very low profile, only one story tall, but is incredibly long. A view of the front of the house does not give the onlooker a glimpse of house far back the house stretches. The entrance is in the middle of the house, flanked by two long halls of concrete blocks. A low hipped roof and overhanging roof eaves push the building down into the earth. Narrow screens of windows along the entire side facades of the Albert Adelman House allow an abundant amount of light into the structure.

Frank Lloyd Wright later designed a house for Albert Adelman's father in 1951, the Benjamin Adelman House, in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Kentuck Knob, Frank Lloyd Wright

Posted by George Pudlo on February 21, 2011 at 11:52 AM Comments comments (0)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater is perhaps his most well known residential design -the epitome of organic architecture and indescribable in any other way than being extremely connected to nature. So if you ever have the privilege of visiting Fallingwater, be sure to visit the other beautiful southern Pennsylvanian gem -Kentuck Knob. Located seven miles south of Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob is also sure to enhance your senses and your connectedness to nature. 

Unlike many of his residential works, Kentuck Knob was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on a sprawling complex. You cannot see the house as you drive down the road, it is deep in the mountainous woods. As you pull into the complex, you are greeted with a beautiful sculptural garden with works by such artists as Andy Goldsworthy, Claes Oldenburg, Sir Anthony Caro and Ray Smith. The sculpture garden is quite interesting with an unusual display of modern sculpture. Among the work is a piece of the Berlin Wall, a red telephone booth from London, concrete mushrooms, and a giant apple core. The collection in and of itself is diverse and does not seem to have an underlying theme, just sort of a slew of random objects dispersed in the lawn surrounded by soaring trees. There is a certain shock factor involved in witnessing these objects in the middle of the woods. I think I would enjoy these sculptural objects very much if they were in a different setting, and not because they are in the woods, but because they are on a Frank Lloyd Wright site. FLW was one to use sculpture in his design, but I have a feeling he would express a certain disdain for them being on display and diverting attention from the real prize, the Kentuck Knob House that Frank Lloyd Wright designed. After all, Wright would have much preferred that the Guggenheim Museum in New York City remain empty of art, for the building itself was the art. I say this with facetiousness, but there is indeed more than an ounce of truth in this. 

After strolling through the sculpture garden and museum gift shop, a long and narrow path leads you up a winding hill. What is beyond the curve in the road? Nothing you could expect until you pass it. The first glimpse you have of the Kentuck Knob House is a long, irregularly cut sandstone brick wall that either ascends from the hill or descends into it (is the glass half empty or half full?). What is that? -you wonder. I wasn't sure myself when I first saw it, but there was a certain awe about the way it seemed like it had always been there. It looked immensely involved with the surrounding nature and I could not imagine it anywhere else than where it sat -a testimony to Frank Lloyd Wright's status of a purely regional architect. 

Upon further inspection of the house, when standing close to the wall, you look up and there is beautiful woodwork overhanging from the top of the wall that comes to a sharp point in harmony with the wall. There are hexagons punched out of the woodwork that display beautiful craftsmanship. Walk back to the narrow path and continue your way up the hill and you come to realize that the sandstone wall is the back of the home. It lends Kentuck Knob a fortress like nature appearance. When viewing the house from the top of the hill, you see that it has a rigid horseshoe shape that semi encloses the driveway. It opens the house to the surrounding nature, and simultaneously encloses the occupants in intimacy and privacy. 

The Kentuck Knob House has a base made of the same irregularly cut sandstone blocks as the rear wall. Above the base is more carved woodwork, whose openings allow light into the structure. The copper roof has aged beautifully to a sea green color, and multiple sandstone block chimneys arise from the copper. Kentuck Knob is Usonian Home, a term that Frank Lloyd Wright used to describe the new type of American, organic architecture he was designing - Usonian stemming from the United States of America. These Usonian Homes were the advanced products of Wright's earlier Prairie Style homes. Still long, flat, and horizontal, the Usonian home was Frank Lloyd Wright's solution for low cost, beautiful homes and influenced that mass of ranch style homes created in the middle of the 20th century. Though, it should be noted, that Kentuck Knob was not really a low cost home -it was the concepts of solar heating, natural cooling, and radiant floor heating that were considered low cost for upkeep and is rightfully demonstrated in many of Frank Lloyd Wright's less elaborate Usonian Homes. Frank Lloyd Wright once said of his Taliesin home in Spring Green, Wisconsin that you cannot build a house on top of a hill, if you do, then you lose the hill. Thus, you build the home into the hill. Taliesin is Welsh for "shining brow", as the house acts as the brow of the hill. It is connected within it rather than being built on top of it. The same applies for Kentuck Knob.

Kentuck Knob was commissioned by Bernardine and I.N. Hagan, creators of Hagan Ice Cream, after experiencing the home of their good friends the Kaufmann's -Fallingwater. They purchased the plot of land in 1953 and phoned Frank Lloyd Wright to see if he would design a home for them. By this end point in his career, Frank Lloyd Wright was so confident in himself that he told them he could easily shake a design out of his sleeve. He didn't even see the site in person until the house was under construction. The Hagan's lived at Kentuck Knob until 1986, when I.N. was too frail to handle the mountainous terrain, at which point it was sold to Lord and Lady Palumbo of England. They still own the home, and it remains open for tours.

Isadore Zimmerman House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1952

Posted by George Pudlo on January 17, 2011 at 12:49 AM Comments comments (0)

Frank Lloyd Wright was well into his 80's when he designed this home for Isadore Zimmerman. The Zimmerman's contacted Wright after reading extensively on his work, including the Princeton Lectures. John Geiger was the on site supervisor for the construction of this unique Usonian home in Manchester, New Hampshire. Its primary construction materials were red-glazed brick, Georgia cypress trim, and flat terra-cotta tiles for the roof, though the tiles were later replaced by asphalt shingles. The public view of the house disguises this large, 1,458 square foot home, with the landscape beautifully rendered by Wright as well. On the interior of the home, uncarpeted concrete covered the floor, as typical in the Usonian homes, however with the Zimmerman's home, Wright added a layer of colorundum -a balanced formulation of nonslip aggregate that is water repellent and neither rust nor stains. Colorundum is just next to the diamond in terms of hardness. The exterior of the Zimmerman House visible to the public features a unique ribbon of concrete block windows as well as Wright's famous glass corners.

When the Zimmerman's passed away in the 1980's, the Courier Gallery of Art took possession of the building and it is now a museum open to the public for tours.


Special thanks to Matana Soreff for contributing the photographs.

Isadore Zimmerman House, 1952

223 Heather Street

Manchester, New Hampshire 03104


Wright Newsletter


Share on Facebook