To commemorate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 147th birthday, we are happy to highlight two forthcoming volumes: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House by Steven M. Reiss and Frank Lloyd Wright: Preservation, Design, and Adding to Iconic Buildings edited by Richard Longstreth.
The first volume, which recounts the history of one of Wright’s early Usonian houses, is at heart a tale of four people: Loren and Charlotte Pope, who approached Wright about designing a home for their family, and Marjorie and Robert Leighey, who purchased the house from the Popes and deeded the property to the National Trust to save it from demolition.
Loren Pope described the house with these words in his article “The Love Affair of a Man and His House,” published by House Beautiful in August 1948: “Ours is a big small house for a small family. It is L-shaped, one-story on two levels because the lot slopes, with living room eleven-and-a-half feet high, and a red-colored concrete floor. For light, ventilation, and decoration this house has a patterned ribbon of clerestory windows between the top of the wall and the ceiling. The only support for the roof where they ran was a strut the size of your wrist placed every four feet, the width of a window unit. You can sit by the fireplace at night and see the stars. It has rows of plate glass doors from floor to ceiling where an ordinary house has a single window. Where these doors meet a corner, there is no corner post, the room just opens into the outdoors.