Real Estate: House Hounds

Frank Lloyd Wright fans come to town.
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Westcott House photo by Brad Feinknopf

Attention architecture nuts: the Annual Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC) Conference, titled Modifying Wright’s Buildings and Their Sites: Additions, Subtractions, Adjacencies, lands at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza on September 22. This will be the first time Cincinnati hosts the 21-year-old nonprofit, which aims to “facilitate the preservation and maintenance of the remaining structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.” Three Usonian houses within the I-275 beltway likely helped our cause: The Tonkens House in Amberley Village, the Boulter House in Clifton (home to this year’s co-chair, Janet Groeber), and the Boswell House in Indian Hill.

The weekend’s highlight will undoubtedly be the off-site tours. All three Usonian homes will open for conference participants, as will a myriad of other modern gems, including Richard Neutra’s Schneider house in Amberley Village, Ray Roush’s and (later) Jose Garcia’s Dwivedi-Schiff house in Hyde Park, and the Lowrie house in Clifton (home to former DAAP Dean Jay Chatterjee, this was the city’s first modern house). Springfield’s Wescott House (pictured above) is also on the itinerary.

“If you’re a Wright enthusiast, there probably couldn’t be too many homes open to the public,” says Groeber. Yet some purists would rather see most of the homes used as, well, homes. The Conservancy has no official stance on this, but it’s well known that owners often lack the funds to maintain a Wright home properly. “These homes should be lived in,” says Groeber. “But they need lots of maintenance and attention and sometimes they require the craftsmanship of experts. They’re not easy to work on.”  Take heed Usonian fans.

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