Photograph by David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.
Legendary architect and interior designer, Frank Lloyd Wright, forever revolutionized American architecture. During the length of his seven-decade career, “America’s best-known architect of the 20th century” (as he came to be known as) designed more than 1,000 structures — of that number, 532 were built, and 400 or so still exist. Eight of Wright’s works were just added to the Unesco World Heritage list yesterday, including the Guggenheim Museum and Fallingwater, and today we are celebrating the works you can see in New York and surrounding areas.
Today, his lasting work is scattered in 22 states around the country, and several can be found in New York. Here, we take a look at 10 such places featured in Wright Sites: A Guide to Frank Lloyd Wright Public Places, the only comprehensive guide to all Wright-designed structures that are opened to the public in the United States and Japan. The book celebrated the 150th anniversary of Wright’s birth, which falls on June 8th, and we have an additional surprise location to see remnants of a Frank Lloyd Wright house in New York.
For more information about the book, click here: Wright Sites: A Guide to Frank Lloyd Wright Public Places.
1. The Crimson Beech House on Staten Island
When the Great Depression ended, Frank Lloyd Wright realized people needed less expensive, fiscally practical homes. With this in mind, he worked with builder Marshall Erdman to create these homes for the middle class. These houses, known as the Marshall Erdman Prefab Houses, had two main designs. Prefab #1 was a single-story, L-shaped house while Prefab #2 was two-story with a two-story living room. Thus, from 1956 to 1961, the pair built nine homes in the style of Prefab #1 and two Prefab #2 houses.
They put two of these houses in New York, with one of them in Staten Island (and the other in Rockland County). Though the Prefab #1-styled home resides at 48 Manor Court in the neighborhood of Lighthouse Hill, Wright built it all the way in Madison, Wisconsin and shipped it to a couple in Queens-William and Catherine Cass. The construction cost $20,000 while assembly was another $35,000.
Due to the very old copper beech tree on the plot of land the Cass couple acquired for their house, they logically named their new home “Crimson Beech.” However, a hurricane destroyed the tree ten years later and a new beech tree was planted.
Read more about the Crimson Beech house here.