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At What Price Preservation

At What Price Preservation

This month we celebrated the first step in protecting the David and Gladys Wright House. I thought that I’d share my comments made to the Historic Preservation Committee on September 17th, 2012:

By now there should be no question as to the Significance of the David and Gladys Wright home.

Widely considered to be one of Frank Lloyd Wrights most important works; it’s often compared in significance to the Guggenheim Museum in New York. To date, over 16,000 have signed in petition to save it.

Just last week we marked the passing of Arizonan and Architectural Photographer Pedro Guerrero. In celebrating this Arizonan’s photographic achievements, of all his work, the New York Times chose a photo of The David and Gladys Wright home to represent this man’s high art. From the the countless images of art and architecture, the David and Gladys Wright home stood out to the editors.

This home, one of just a handful of Wright designed structures in Arizona, is a key piece of the Architectural Heritage of our Valley, it is a Cultural Treasure.

And I’d like to put that into another perspective…

Our firm specializes in what we call Architecturally Uniques Homes and routinely interact with other Architecture Specialists Nationally. We know and share information across the country with these brokers and we feel it’s important for us to tour great architecture to deepen and expand our knowledge base. We’ve been across the region to view architecture and design.

So we know that even in Los Angeles, a City not particularly known for preservation (or at least one that has come to realize, often too late, the significance of what’s been lost), Wright homes have sold, and are cherished (as homes mind you, not museums), for many millions of dollars. Some are in locations and with conditions that pale in comparison to the David Wright home.

The last Wright home I toured in Los Angeles was so damaged that I had to wear a hard hat and sign a release just to enter. Steel I-beams kept large portions of the walls secure and standing, and many of the blocks are so etched from acid rain that they crumble to the touch.

Yet, THAT home was safe from demolition, secure in the value that it was a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

In contrast, I have recently seen and spent hours at the David Wright home and can share that it is in excellent original condition and requires only modest restoration. I have shown it to many prospective buyers, from all parts of the US in order to try and preserve it. The home has quantifiable value.

In spite of a steep price tag, there is real interest in the home on it’s entire site. There remains the possibility of a future sale that will move this home forward into complete protection. Recently an offer WAS made; there’s every chance we could be back in front of the City soon with a new owner seeking landmark status with consent. Let’s all hope that this can be made possible.

Often it is necessary to prove some level of financial viability in order to secure preservation. No one asks this of other works of art, but consider then this house as a “habitable sculpture”. It is then a functional design, easily quantified. Saving it should be beyond reproach.

In all the World, there remains only one home designed by Mr Wright for his Son.

Only one, there is no other.

And it is located here, in Phoenix, Arizona.

We’ve heard that In over forty years there has not been a single demolition of a Frank Lloyd Wright structure in the World.

We cannot let Phoenix be remembered as the City that let this home be demolished.

We WILL be celebrated as the Community that saved it.