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House Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Will Move to Crystal Bridges

3 min read

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville said Wednesday that it has acquired a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house, known as the Bachman Wilson House, in Somerset County, N.J. The museum plans to move the house to the museum grounds in Bentonville.

The house is now in Borough of Millstone in Somerset County, N.J. It was built in 1954 along the Millstone River, which over the past decades has begun to threaten the home.

Site preparation will begin this spring. The museum hopes to complete the project by “early 2015.”

Crystal Bridges said The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy of Chicago and the Borough of Millstone Historic District Commission in Millstone, N.J.. both support the plan. The museum did not disclose financial details of the deal. In February, the house was on the market for $1.5 million.

“Due to repeated flooding, the house has sustained significant damage and relocation has been recommended as a means of best preserving the structure,” the museum said in a news release. “The owners conducted a multi-year search for a purchaser that could provide an appropriate setting and context for the historic building. Crystal Bridges has now acquired the home, which will be disassembled and moved to Bentonville. There, it will be reassembled on Crystal Bridges’ 120-acre grounds.”

Once on the grounds, the house will be available for study, limited programming and tours. Crystal Bridges said the house will enchance its educational and public program offerings.

“We’re honored to be able to preserve and share this significant example of American architecture, as Frank Lloyd Wright’s work embodies our own mission of celebrating art and nature,” Crystal Bridges Executive Director Rod Bigelow said. “The Usonian concept was intended to provide access to architectural quality for all families, which melds well with our philosophy of welcoming all to view American masterworks in our natural setting.”

Crystal Bridges says that J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell has “donated its services” to bring the house to Bentonville.

“We are honored to be a part of such a monumental effort to save one of America’s truly iconic structures,” John Roberts, President and CEO of J.B. Hunt, said in a news release. “We are pleased the house will settle within our area’s natural beauty and provide such valuable educational opportunities.”

Abraham Wilson and his wife Gloria Bachman commissioned Wright to design their home in 1954. The museum said the home is reflective of Wright’s Usonian period, “a work of art in simplicity and form, representing organic design principles.”

The home’s recent owners, the architect/designer team of Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino, purchased the house in 1988. They restored the house, an effort that received multiple awards, including the 2008 Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Wright Spirit Award.

But flooding from the nearby river has continually threatened the home, leading the Tarantinos to put the house on the market in 2012. The sale was conditional upon moving the house to a suitable natural site.

“It became clear that there could be no better opportunity for the preservation of this important work of Frank Lloyd Wright than to secure its future stewardship in perpetuity at a public institution with a mission of celebrating American art and architecture, on a site offering the proper setting, and with the capability of providing for its future maintenance and preservation, all of which Crystal Bridges offers,” Lawrence Tarantino said in a news release.

The sale of the house includes all the fixtures and furniture designed for it. The museum said it will use a specialized contractor to dismantle the house. Once at the museum, it will be reconstructed to Wright’s original specifications. The house will be sit a short distance from the museum along its 3.5 miles of trails.

Arkansas Business will update this story. Below is a video about the house.

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