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John Christian House - SAMARA -Frank Lloyd Wright, 1954

Posted by George Pudlo on January 2, 2012 at 9:40 PM

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. 


Categories: Usonian

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