Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Architecture Wednesday: Fir Tree House: The Lost Wright House


It's not so much lost, as it has been rediscovered, and is the only 100% authentic Wright house in New Mexico.

Fir Tree House is located north of Pecos, alongside the Pecos River, and is designed to be reminiscent of a 'teepee'. Wright built it for a family who wanted a vacation home with four bedrooms, three baths, and a separate servant's room and bath, and a service wing for the laundry, a water-pumping facility, and a stable; it was built for $10,000.

The design employs cedar shingle siding--unusual for Wright--and rough concrete-masonry of the kind seen later at Taliesin West in the Arizona desert.  The home’s hexagonal geometry resembles an unbuilt Wright design of the 1920’s for a resort in Lake Tahoe.  Fir Tree House was completed in 1948 and then expanded with various additions including a carport; the recent addition of a swimming pool is not of Wright’s design.

The plan of the house takes the form of a large parallelogram, with the courtyard entrance passing under the roof, which connects the servant’s room on one side to the laundry on the other. The living room is topped by a teepee-shaped roof covered with cedar shingles. Its large glass window walls meet at a 120-degree angle, and doors open onto a terrace bounded by low stone walls. There is a covered path which edges to a courtyard and the front door, which is angled between the living room and a hallway to the bedroom wing. The living room also features an over sized fireplace and chimney. The hallway leading to the bedroom wing branches to the left as you enter the house. Wright used rough-sawn pine, stained the color of cedar for the interiors. 

The outstanding feature of the lodge is the living room, where the ceiling rises to a 28-foot height. At the perimeter, the roof drops to an 11-foot height, underscored by a flared rim that runs around the exterior of the entire lodge. A continuous band of narrow clerestory windows marks the point where the high roof joins the lower one and dematerializes this juncture with light. Inside, the rough-sawn rafters of the lower roof extend through the open space under the high ceiling, creating a spectacular kaleidoscope of geometric forms overhead. This innovative system of construction for the living-room ceiling remains unique in Wright’s residential work — he never used it again.

As, always, I am a huge fan of Wright’s homes, and this one, which I had never seen before, doesn’t disappoint. Check out Triangle Modernist Houses [HERE] for looks at all FLW homes built from 1889 through 1964; there are even FLW homes built after Wright died, by other builders using Wright’s original designs.



10 comments:

R.J. said...

I like it, especially the little triangle skylights.

Corina said...

Here, in the depths of Hell, AKA Rockford, IL, is the only handicap-accessible house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed. A Mr. Laurent was injured in WWII, and contracted with FLW to design a house so that he could use his wheelchair with ease. IT is going to be a museum. The Laurent House.

Bob said...

@Corina

Thanks for the info. I am a rabid Wrightophile and will look for that home.

Sean R said...

Ooh Baby! I loves me some Frank Lloyd Wright! One of these days I want to see his Fallingwater house.

Bob, do you subscribe to Architectural Digest by any chance?

Bob said...

@Sean
I don't, though i will pick up an issue if there's a paraticular feature I want to see.

Sean R said...

BTW, I just read one of your older posts from December 2008, "Always Leave 'Em Smiling."

That one made me a little teary-eyed.
Is that fiction, or is it autobiographical?

Just curious.

Bob said...

@Sean
Fiction, with a touch of me.
Mostly, mostly fiction, though.

Jason Shaw said...

It looks amazing.....

Greg said...

Such a beautiful design! I love Frank Lloyd Wright architecture....

Corina said...

@Bob, you might already know about this house. This is a bout 2-3 hours NW of Hell err I mean Rockford.

http://www.taliesinpreservation.org/