Architecture and Design

New Buyer Wants Frank Lloyd Wright's David and Gladys Wright House to Be Open to the Public

Good news, Frank Lloyd Wright fans and historic preservation junkies. While the latest buyers of the David and Gladys Wright House wishes to remain anonymous, they've hired local attorney Grady Gammage, Jr., who announced this morning that new plans for the house would include public access.

See also: - Frank Lloyd Wright House in Phoenix Sold Again to New Anonymous Buyer - Buyer for the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Phoenix Drops Bid - Frank Lloyd Wright House in Phoenix Sold to Anonymous Buyer

According to Gammage, the new owners have long-standing ties to Phoenix and are currently meeting with members of the Arcadia neighborhood to talk about their plans, which include restoring the home and furnishings, adjusting the landscaping to reflect Wright's original plans, and opening the space for small tours.

"We have discussed with the City of Phoenix using the Shemer Arts Center as staging for visitation. Visitors would park at that location and be taken to the home by mini bus. We will take all possible steps to limit traffic on residential streets in the area," announced Gammage this morning. "We will need to add a visitor accommodation facility on site with handicap restrooms and conveniences for visitors, as well as space to accommodate an introductory lecture or video. While there are not yet plans for such a facility, we expect that it would be below grade so as to minimize any visual impact."

The house at 5212 East Exeter was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1950s for his son David. In the past decade, it has changed hands a few times and faced threats of demolition last year. Historic preservation activists joined forces and, with the help of the city, encouraged the owners who wished to raze the house to put it back on the market. The house was resold to the current owners in December.

The sale price was undisclosed, but the home was initially listed by real estate agent Robert Joffe for $2.38 million.

The home's opening date is unknown, as the owners will need to restore the home and apply for a special permit to open the house to the public. According to Gammage, an amendment to the zoning ordinance allowing designated landmark structures to be open to the public will be in the works later this year. Once the permit is approved, Gammage writes that the house will be donated to a non-profit, landmark status will be approved, and a permanent preservation easement will be dedicated to the property.

"In many ways it is the link between two of his best known buildings, Fallingwater and The Guggenheim," writes Gammage. "It deserves worldwide recognition, and can serve to ignite interest in architecture for generations to come."

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton