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Revealed: plans to build Frank Lloyd Wright house near Bristol


Stephen Brooks Architects has revealed plans to build an unrealised Frank Lloyd Wright house in rural Tyntesfield Springs, Wraxall, near Bristol.

According to the Bath-based architect and planning consultants WYG, the scheme ‘will be both the first house in the UK to be constructed to a design by Wright and the last house designed by [him] anywhere in the world.’

The proposal, which has been submitted to North Somerset Council under the so-called Country House clause of the NPPF (clause 55), is based on a design drawn up in 1947 for Dr and Mrs Arthur O’Keefe of Santa Barbara, California.

The design team with their clients, Dr and Mrs Pratt, have spent eight years negotiating with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to get the archived blueprints released and for permission to build the super-green, waterside house thousands of miles from its intended location.

Explaining the design process, practice founder Stephen Brooks said: ‘The design was selected by our client who had visited many houses in the US and particularly wanted to build to a Frank Lloyd Wright design. The design was selected to compliment the site, but the site was chosen because of it’s special qualities, and with a possible choice of Frank Lloyd Wright designs in mind.

He added: ‘Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs used either brick or stone depending on the location, but both used to emphasise horizontality. We examined both options, with supporting samples from Ibstock who also supplied the County Wicklow house for Marc Coleman [completed 2007].

‘Our client preferred to use local stone, and we have worked with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation architects to develop the external wall design to meet UK Building Regulations and preserve the design authenticity. Our design has also includes the square windows within cast stone surrounds, storey height glazed screens, integration of the steel frame, and roof design combining SIPS panels with steel structure and copper finish to maintain the design intent.’

Commenting on the design, Ben Holbrook, an architectural assistant at local practice Stride Treglown Tektus, said:’It’s quite an exciting opportunity, although it calls into question the very nature of ‘site specific’ architecture; ironic considering Wright was probably one of the few notable architects of his time to take seriously the notion of place. However the proposed site near Wraxall is supposedly very similar in nature to the original site for which the house was designed.

Original designs by Frank Lloyd Wright, drawn up in 1947 for Dr and Mrs Arthur O’Keeffe

Source: Copyright the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Original designs by Frank Lloyd Wright, drawn up in 1947 for Dr and Mrs Arthur O’Keeffe

He added: ‘In this instance, where the original architect is of such renown, perhaps the building transcends the usual role of architecture in the public’s consciousness to become more akin to a traditional ‘work of art’ in itself.’

However the planning application (click here to see the application in full) has attracted some opposition. One online objector branded it an unwelcome ‘museum piece’, adding: ‘A design from the 1940s is not what a contemporary and innovative eco-friendly architect would propose.’







Readers' comments (2)

  • lacking in imagination , it is 2013 now !

    john meagher

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  • Delightful project! Who cares when it was designed if it is good design. Wright's works are timeless because they are based in the fundamental truths of human experience.

    His plans reward in depth study. I have copies of several of his home designs on my website Historic Home Plans .

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