Hello Friends and Family,

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David Wright House, Part 4

There is a second structure on this property — a guest house. Our guide told us that it was built some distance from the residence (quite a bit distant from the residence, I would say) because David Wright wanted his privacy. No way to know if that was really true or just docent humor. This photo was taken from the roof of the residence and shows the setting, including Camelback Mountain in the background. It is a pretty dramatic setting, don't you think?

I was impressed by the landscaping surrounding the guest house — very pleasing.

It also features a huge window providing lots of light inside. Unfortunately, it faces south and must have stressed the air conditioning during the brutal Phoenix summer (yes, it had and still has A/C).

Here is a close-up of another building defect although this one was definitely not Wright's fault. The original plans called for copper roofs for both the main house and the guest house — with the green oxidized patina of real copper. This also was in keeping with the amount of copper mined and refined in Arizona (once nicknamed "The Copper State"). Unfortunately, the two structures were build during the Korean War and copper was in short supply. Thus they were forced to substitute steel painted to resemble oxidized copper. I understand that the restoration plans call for real copper.

Inside, we see a modest but comfortable living room/kitchen/dining room combination.

Note to the left is a combination sink, stove, refrigerator, storage unit such as you might expect in a vacation cabin. Simple and practical.

You might also notice the fireplace — my guess is that perhaps this is the simplest fireplace that Wright ever designed.

To the right side of the fireplace is a decorative piece that was previously part of the Wright-designed Second Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan near the Imperial Palace. The hotel was built around 1920 but suffered damage in the Great Tokyo Earthquake of 1923 and during World War II. Time took its toll and the hotel was demolished in 1967. This piece was salvaged from the demotion.

This placard sits in the fireplace shown in the previous photo. The smaller print reads as follows.

"In 1950, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a home for his son David and daughter-in-law Gladys on 10 acres in the middle of citrus groves at the base of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. The design elevated the home in the form of a spiral rising from the desert floor, converting the treetops into the lawn and revealing 360° views of the mountains forming the valley. Mr. Wright titled the place "How to Live in the Southwest." Completed in 1952, the David Wright House is one of three spiral designs realized by Mr. Wright and the precursor to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The house is regarded as Mr. Wright's last residential masterpiece."

The text under the aerial photo reads as follows.

"Aerial view looking southeast shortly after completion ca. 1954. The David Wright House rises up to look over the groves as "David's Lawn". Photo by Pedro Guerrero (FLW's referred photographer, and a native son of Eloy, AZ)."

The south-facing window provides a truly dramatic framing of the David Wright House. Love it!

This was actually where the tour started. We could see the group in front of us already at the main entrance to the house. A few minutes later, they entered the house and we were escorted to the base for the beginning of the main house tour.

The guest house — in a tighter view as seen from the roof of the main house.

A couple months after I toured the David Wright House, I received the following Christmas card. Hopefully, you'll recall that last week, I wrote "And here is the rug — obviously a custom Frank Lloyd Wright design. Please remember this design — it will reappear next week." The card design is basically the same as the rug.

Although I sincerely appreciated the card, I could not initially understand why I would have received it. Then I recalled that I signed the guest book during the tour. What a nice touch. This one's a keeper.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com