When any piece by America’s most famous architect of the Modern era appears on the market, the first question is whether it is slated for demolition (as many have been, and some of which are now gone for good). Another, less-common concern: is it the real deal?
But first, what is for sale, exactly? A multi-acre island less than fifty miles from Manhattan, with a guest cottage compromise built by Frank Lloyd Wright when the budget ran out for the full project. But it also has the full originally-planned house that for many decades never was.
The Frank Lloyd Wright foundation has gone so far as to sue the seller in this case for fleshing out the half-completed site, based on original plans but also adding more modern amenities. Meanwhile, the site offering it up for nearly 20 million dollars describes it as follows:
“Imagine your own 11-acre island, complete with a spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house as its crowning jewel. Just 47 miles from New York City, this pristine retreat boasts 200-year-old beech trees, a 5000-square foot main residence and cottage for weekend guests.”
The real question is: what is original? Is it plans and intent, or the physical structure itself? And if we do say this is unoriginal, what of the structures that have required major repairs and retrofits, because Wright was known for pushing the limits of materials in his buildings?