Saturday, September 30, 2006

Frank Lloyd Wrong

The story of a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that benefited from the architect’s neglect:

His inability to visit the site was a blessing in disguise for the Hagans. He was notoriously uncompromising about aesthetics and often sacrificed solid construction to get the look he wanted. Fallingwater has needed millions of dollars in restoration work, and the Guggenheim is currently undergoing large-scale renovation. Since the Hagans first moved in, 50 years ago, Kentuck Knob has needed only superficial work. Herman Keys, a local contractor, oversaw the construction and made sure the building could withstand the region’s hard winters. He added more heating pipes and varnished the cypress. (Wright had originally stipulated that the wood remain untreated, which could have led to warping and cracking.) The original heating system, involving a maze of pipes installed under the floor to avoid unsightly radiators, is still in use. Two local masons, Jess Wilson and Jess Wilson, Jr., cut the home’s sandstone blocks from nearby boulders, hand-incising each one.

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