In the latest phase of the kitchen restoration at the Elizabeth Murphy House, our goal was to rid the room of inappropriate materials and tie together the old and recent cabinets. But we found some lost details worth restoration.
Thanks to host Heather Sabin of Monona Terrace's Wright Design Series and Brian Hannan of event-sponsor Wright in Wisconsin, we are able to bring you this recorded presentation and tour of the Elizabeth Murphy House - Frank Lloyd Wright's Forgotten House.
Why do the vintage ASBH drawings exist at all? Frank Lloyd Wright didn't plan to re-use or show them. Was his decision to store almost 1000 images based on nostalgia or pride, or something more practical?
This weekend, we are giving thanks for the friendships and the stories that continue to form about and around this historic, influential tiny home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
In a way, our quest to preserve this tiny home is like time travel. We want to understand what Frank Lloyd Wright intended at the time he intended it.
Though Wright designed over a hundred modest American System-Built Homes he quickly cancelled the program with only twenty or so built and filed away the drawings forever when he realized that his art would not be preserved if its occupants didn't themselves participate in the preservation.
If you had created something, a piece of art, for example, that was subsequently altered by others in ways that you disapproved, would you want that object preserved?
Through features like the Place of Greeting, we can see that Wright assumed that working-class people - the people with modest means who would live in and visit his ASBH designs - were inherently kind, trusting and trustworthy.
We bought Frank Lloyd Wright's Elizabeth Murphy House with a plan to restore and care for her, but quickly discovered a curious and unexpected form of stewardship. Like nuns in a 19th century orphanage, we find ourselves caring for the forsaken.
Antonin Raymond and Rudolph Schindler escaped Frank Lloyd Wright's wrath when the American System-Built Program was summarily cancelled and covered up in 1917. Russell Barr Williamson did not.