Interior of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Brandes Residence (1952) fully furnished with Wright-designed custom-to-project redwood furniture in Sammamish, Washington. Famed modern architect Frank Lloyd Wright devised his “Usonian” home style to aim for middle-class affordability. The house is a modest 1,950 square feet, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a separate shop/office. It sits on a 3.2-acre wooded lot.
Known for its verdant landscape rich with mountains, lakes, rivers, and Puget Sound, the Pacific Northwest has long been a preferred home for people who have an affinity for nature and has attracted artists and architects who endeavor to express a special reverence for the natural world. Frank Lloyd Wright’s fondness for the region began early in the 20th century as he traveled to Seattle in route to Japan. Although he had previously designed buildings for the area, the first executed Northwest commission was the Chauncey Griggs House (1946) in Tacoma, Washington. Two more buildings in Washington State -the Brandes House (1952) in Sammamish and the Tracy House (1955) in Normandy Park- followed within a decade.
Exterior of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Brandes Residence (1952) in Sammamish, Washington. Wright’s Usonian house includes such features as low roof, carport, an open floor plan, masonry walls and clerestory windows. The Brandes home, built in 1952, also features redwood trim and Wright’s original furniture. It’s one of the three Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the Puget Sound area.
Interior of the Schuchart House (2009) by George Suyama in Broadmoo, Seattle.There is a lot to admire in this design, most specifically in the integration of the interior and exterior spaces, the placement of the house in the landscape, and the selection and detailing of materials. Each interior space relates directly to a dedicated private exterior space, while the house and gardens benefit from and add to the wider landscape beyond the site.
Interior of the Schuchart House (2009) by George Suyama & Schuchart|Dow in Broadmoo, Seattle. This project is about space that is created between a site’s topography and its architectural forms. The result is a house that is seamless in its connection to the landscape. Near perfection in precise detailing: a rigorous, economical, and coherent design statement.
April 4-6, 2014, the Wright Conservancy will host the “Out and About Wright: Enhancing Wright’s Legacy In The Pacific Northwest” event that will include tours of the Wright-designed Brandes and Tracy Houses as well as several private homes by contemporary architect George Suyama. Prior to the architectural tour Grant Hildebrand, professor emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle and author of The Wright Space, will expand on themes from his recent book, Suyama: A Complex Serenity, as he discusses the philosophical connections between Wright and Suyama.
The elegant Seattle home (blueprint & interior) of the influential art collector Barney A. Ebsworth, owner of one of the most important private collections of modern American art. The house was designed specifically for the collection by Olson Kundig Architects, which includes important paintings and sculptures by Hopper, deKooning, Pollock, O’Keefe, Johns, Hockney and Calder among many others.
The Conservancy will also host an evening reception at the extraordinary lakefront house of Barney Ebsworth. The home, designed by Jim Olson of Olson Kundig, houses Ebsworth’s world-class collection of 20th century American art and is comprised of three individual pavilions linked by glass-enclosed walkways. Described as both a place superbly suited to display works of art as well as being a work of art in its own right, touring the house is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a complete and harmonious integration of art, architecture and nature.
For more information see the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
The Books & About
In this book The Wright Space: Pattern & Meaning In Frank Lloyd Wright’s Houses thirty-three of Wright’s domestic buildings, including all of the major houses on which his significance depends, are analyzed in detail in terms of their spatial characteristics. Fireplaces, seating, ceiling form, glazing, terraces, and roof overhangs are seen to follow a repetitive organization or pattern characterized by complementary juxtapositions of what the English geographer Jay Appleton calls “prospect” (a condition in which one can see over a considerable distance) and “refuge” (a place where one can hide).
According to Appleton’s theory of landscape aesthetics, this juxtaposition offers the ability to see without being seen (or to hunt successfully without being, in turn, successfully hunted) and thus, eons ago, had survival value. But such a condition must have been sought, originally, because it was intrinsically pleasurable to our species. Hildebrand finds a striking correlation in Wright’s houses. Wright’s pattern of prospect and refuge, to which are added similarly derived qualities of complexity and order, is shown to be unique in domestic architecture to the degree to which it provides these preferred characteristics, suggesting why -in spite of serious drawbacks- his houses were built and valued by so many clients.
George Suyama began his architectural practice in Seattle in 1971; his early career is marked by a number of distinguished designs in the contemporaneous wood idiom of the region. Over time, however, Suyama developed an architecture characterized by a search for minimalist simplicity, a paradoxical architecture of intense, even exciting, tranquility.
In 2002, he and partners Ric Peterson and Jay Deguchi established Suyama Peterson Deguchi. Their firm has built a distinguished reputation by means of designs influenced by the immediate region and by Suyama’s ancestral Japan, which are intimately related to site and executed with an astonishing finesse of detail. Above all, their architecture reflects Suyama’s quest to eliminate what he calls “visual noise,” a quest that has yielded not visual silence but a kind of visual music. Architectural elements are distilled to a purity analogous to that of a musical tone, and relationships between those elements are as pure and artistically rich as the mathematics of music.
In Suyama: A Complex Serenity, Grant Hildebrand introduces the man and his work, discussing relevant aspects of Suyama’s life, the influences that have shaped his beliefs, and, in layman’s terminology, twenty of his built and unbuilt projects that illuminate the development of his remarkable art and craft. Included also are appendices that illustrate Suyama’s deep and long-standing involvement with the arts and product design.
Grant Hildebrand is a University of Washington professor emeritus of architecture and art history and author of seven books on architecture, including The Wright Space: Pattern and Meaning in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Houses and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Palmer House. He is a recipient of the Washington Governor’s Writers Award for work of literary merit and lasting value.