The Bachman-Wilson House at Crystal Bridges: A slideshow | Rock Candy

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Bachman-Wilson House at Crystal Bridges: A slideshow

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art offered a preview yesterday to the Bachman-Wilson House, a Usonian-style house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and moved to the museum's grounds in Bentonville. The house will be open to the public Nov. 11, the museum's fourth birthday.

Press release details on the house are on the jump.

Bentonville, Ark. —Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art previews the newly reconstructed Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House on the museum grounds. Adjacent to the museum’s south entrance, the house will open to the public on November 11, 2015. Reservations are required and tickets will be available on November 2, at no cost. Preview tickets are now available to Crystal Bridges’ members. For more info, visit HERE.

Designed in 1954 for Gloria and Abraham Wilson, the house was originally built along the Millstone River in New Jersey. The house was subsequently purchased by architect/designer team Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino in 1988. Threatened by repeated flooding from the river, the Tarantinos determined that relocating the house was the best option for its preservation. After a multi-year search for a suitable location, Crystal Bridges acquired the house in 2013.

Crystal Bridges Executive Director Rod Bigelow said, “This was an opportunity to preserve an important example of American architecture and enhance our mission to connect visitors to art and nature. The house also deepens the rich architectural story in our region.”

Frank Lloyd Wright’s protégé was Arkansas native Fay Jones, who inspired Moshe Safdie’s design of Crystal Bridges. All three architects were awarded the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal—considered to be the profession’s highest honor. Both Wright and Jones challenged traditional ideas of building by connecting their structures to the typography of their environment, and these structures influenced Safdie to integrate Crystal Bridges into its natural surroundings.

Bigelow adds, “This is not the end of the narrative. We hope that by providing viewing and educational opportunities to thousands of visitors every year, the house will inspire future generations of architecture students.”

The house was disassembled piece by piece and transported 1,200 miles, arriving to the museum in the spring of 2014 where site work was already underway. Reconstruction began in the fall of 2014, led by Scott Eccleston, Crystal Bridges’ Director of Operations, Ron Shelby, architect with Hight Jackson Associates, and Bill Faber with Bill Faber Construction.

Usonian Architecture
The word Usonian was derived from an abbreviation of “United States of North America.” Wright embraced this term as the name for a distinctly American and democratic style of architecture. He developed this style during the Great Depression and built approximately 120 Usonian homes.

“The goal for reconstruction was to create an authentic experience by integrating the house into the natural landscape so it feels like it has always been here. For visitors, whether they are Frank Lloyd Wright experts or architectural novices, we want them to be transported by the architecture,” said Crystal Bridges Chief Engagement Officer Niki Stewart. “We put great effort into upholding Frank Lloyd Wright’s design principles — he believed in connecting physically and spiritually to the natural world through the use of horizontal lines that ground the structure into the landscape and dissolve the barrier between the interior and exterior.”

“I’d like to have a free architecture. I’d like to have architecture that belonged where you see it standing, and was a grace to the landscape instead of a disgrace.” - Frank Lloyd Wright

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